02 October 2007

Agricultural skills shortages - govt looks at Australian visas

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The Australian government is to set up a working group to look into the skill shortages in the country's agricultural industry, pointing to a possible expansion of the temporary Australian visa scheme for people with agricultural skills.

Immigration minister Kevin Andrews said the group will assess the use of the skilled temporary 457 Australian visa. "In response to representations from the sector, an Agricultural Production Working Group will assess the needs and circumstances in which the use of the skilled temporary 457 visa provisions may or may not be appropriate," he explained.

"The working group will consider the skilled labour needs across the agricultural sector, from shearing, to farm management, animal training, machinery operators, and nursery workers," said minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Peter McGauran.

The group, which will include representatives from employers, employees and the farm health and safety group, will report back early next year.

Australia needs skilled agricultural workers: Anyone applying for an Australian visa should begin by completing the Australian Visa Bureau's online Australian visa application to see if they meet the Australian visa requirements.

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