Many farmers in Victoria have a big challenge to retain regular employees in running their farms. The tractors do not get ready, and there are issues with harvesting and picking but the machinery and other equipment is ready for use.
The alternative is to pay better wages to the workers than other places. Some workers are not interested to work in the farms but prefer to work in low-skilled jobs for comparatively less money in the city. The farm work is not easy. Employees quit work leading to an increase in expenses and a waste of time.
Also, the training of new persons takes much time and money and the untrained, commit a few mistakes adding to the cost. Australian farmers grapple with difficulties in hiring as well as retaining farm workers and have raised a demand for a separate Agriculture visa. The Federal Government is not agreeable to this idea, but there are some measures, like permitting farmers for sponsoring overseas workers.
The government has announced labor agreements about the horticulture industry allowing the farmers to employ skilled as well as low-skilled immigrant workers in case the local workers are not ready to do them. This will commence on Jan 1st, 2020 and offers concessions to the workers in the English language norms. There will also be a minimum salary for the sponsoring employer to pay to the Farmers.
Alan Tudge the Minister for Immigration of Australia stated that the first priority always is getting the Australian workers, but the system plays a major role to address skills gaps in the regional and local economies. Horticultural employers can apply to the Home Affairs Department for sponsoring migrant workers to reach Australia to work in any 31 approved occupations based on the new arrangement.
McKenzie, the Agriculture Minister said that the arrangement aims to address the need for workers in rural and also in the regional Australia. Recognizing that horticulture to be the developed industry is important and it also requires skilled manpower to grow. There will be concessions by the government in the English language that means the requirement is low for the workers. Furthermore, with the salary concessions, hiring is easier for employers. The presence of a path to permanent residency is a motivating factor for the 31 occupations. The foreign workers can serve till 50 years and have to score 5 Bands on IELTS.
The occupations approved are truck drivers, drivers for forklift, machinery supervisors, mechanics, fitters, and welders, persons to handle nursery, mechanical engineers, and agriculture technicians.