The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has stated it welcomes the governmental review of the migration system, which represents a critical juncture that must be capitalized on to produce real and constructive changes. NFF Chief Executive Officer Tony Mahar said the industry had long called for a purpose-built migration system designed to meet its labor and skills demands, rather than the current mixture of haphazard solutions.
A key theme of the review has been a move away from temporary to permanent migration. Mahar notes the NFF has strongly supported helping those who have made significant contributions to the industry, through the WHM or PALM programs, with pathways to permanent residency.
However, while pathways to permanent residency are encouraged, it shouldn’t be assumed that migrants want to stay permanently, and temporary schemes do benefit both employees and employers in many circumstances.
Farmers continue to call for faster processing times of visa applications, which often leave them in limbo awaiting decisions on indefinite timelines. There must also be assurances that the Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) levy forked out upfront by employers is in fact being utilised to benefit the agricultural workforce.