19 August 2008

Pacific workers to get 2,500 Australian visas to work in the country

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A new scheme has been announced which will allow 2,500 Australian visas to be issued to Pacific Islanders in the next three years. The workers from nearby countries will be employed to harvest fruit and vegetables in Australia, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

The new programme has been described as a way to avoid the "chronic labour shortage in some parts of Australia" by Tony Burke, the Federal Agriculture Minister. He told the newspaper it will save the agriculture industry up to AUD$700 million (£327 million) in rotting fruit each year.

Mr Burke said: "For too long Australian farmers have become sick to death of watching their own fruit rotting on the vine because they couldn't get a worker there to pick the fruit." The Australian visa holders will come from Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Vanuatu and Kiribati to work for up to 12 months. It was recently revealed that more categories are needed for skilled Australian visas, in order to meet shortages in the job market, reports ABC.net.au.

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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