Australian farmers are desperately searching out for workers, pushing food prices ever higher in the stores. Still, a plan to give visas to laborers from ASEAN nations appears to have ground to a halt. The ASEAN program was created by an amendment to Australia’s Migration Regulations 1994, which required any agreement to be regulated by Australia’s Foreign Affairs Department. Although the legislation has been enacted, not one bilateral agreement has been reached.
The Australian Farmers Federation says 60 percent of horticulture farms face serious difficulties in maintaining their business at current labor levels. Many ASEAN governments are reluctant to send workers because of Covid travel restrictions and domestic labor shortages.