The Australian government has made it easier for foreign workers to enter the country to meet the labor shortage in the agriculture and hospitality industries.
“The Morrison Government today announced the first phase of reforms to Australia’s labor mobility programs – the Pacific Labor Plan (PLS) and the Seasonal Worker Program (SWP) – that will ease access to programs, protect worker welfare, and Better meet. Regional Australia’s workforce is needed,” read a joint statement on 14 September by Foreign Minister Maris Payne, Minister of Employment Stuart Robert and Minister of International Development and Pacific Jade Cesselja.
“The focus of today’s improvements is a single streamlined application process for both PLS and SWP that offers greater flexibility and less red tape.”
Since the PLS and SWP were relaunched in September 2020, more than 10,600 Pacific and Timorese workers have arrived in Australia, who have been “the lifeblood of many regional businesses” by helping with meat processing and harvesting.
“The changes announced today will support the Australian Government’s commitment to bring an additional 12,500 workers to Australia by March next year, with 27,000 workers already in the pool ready for work.”
A new website called “The Pacific Australia Labor Mobility (PALM)” was set up for employers to join the two programs through a single application.
Some of the new policies include allowing PLS workers to recruit more locations in regional Australia, enabling hotels and resorts to employ SWP workers in peak season in rural and regional Australia, allowing PLS workers, Who has spent 3 years in Australia. Additional 12 months, removal of upper age limit of 45 years for PLS workers etc. More measures are expected to be announced later this year.
It is estimated that Australian farmers will achieve a record $73 billion (US$53.5 billion) this harvest season due to increased prices and higher production volumes. Although about 30,000 foreign workers cleared to enter Australia ahead of the harvest season, including 7000 fully vaccinated, are facing closure due to the state’s COVID-19 restrictions and hotel quarantine caps .
In New South Wales, farmers are recruiting retired military officers, Qantas pilots and college students to meet a labor shortage for the coming second-largest wheat harvest in a decade.
“It’s desperate,” NSW Farmers Association president James Jackson told the Sydney Morning Herald. “People will have elementary school kids driving tractors with chaser bins and stuff.” “We have an 80-year-old driving the truck.”
Industry groups such as AgForce, AusVeg, and the National Farmers Federation are urging state governments to introduce more flexible quarantine measures for foreign workers, including on homes and farms. He warned that the casual labor shortage during peak season could reach 11,000 workers by early next year if international borders are still closed.
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times