07 July 2008

Government dismisses farming industry's claims

A government official has dismissed claims that changes to the Australian working holiday visa will harm the farming industry. Senator Chris Evans, the Immigration and Citizenship Minister, said increasing the Australian working holiday visa system to include the construction industry will not take workers away from the fruit picking sector, reports the Age.

The National Farmers Federation has claimed the new system could rob workers, as the fruit picking season relies on backpackers, according to the newspaper. The farming industry has benefited since 2006, when people on an Australian working holiday visa were able to apply for a second visa for a further 12 months if they were working for a primary producer in the country's regional areas.

The Department for Immigration and Citizenship has since extended this to include the construction industry. He said in a statement this week: "The increasing numbers of working holiday makers will continue to meet the needs of other industries that employ the backpackers and will not be disadvantaged by the extension of the concession to the construction industry."

Australia needs skilled 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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