Harvest Labour Changes 

10 January 2019


The following information was sourced from the Harvest Trail e-news Summer 2018/19. 

Working Holiday Visa Changes 

Given the importance of backpackers for picking and packing fruit crops, the Commonwealth Government has recently announced some changes that will make it easier to find backpackers who want to work on farms and enable them to work and stay longer in Australia. The main changes include:

  • From the 5th of November 2018, expanding the regional areas where 462 visa holders (China, Indonesia, USA, Chile, Argentina) can work to get a 2nd-year visa extension – currently, they can only get an extension by working in northern Australia.
  • From the 5th of November 2018, 417 and 462 visa holders can work with one employer for 12 months, an increase from the current 6 months.
  • After the 1st of July 2019, 417 and 462 visa holders will have the option of getting a third-year visa if they do six months of specified work in a rural area.
  • Progressively increasing the country caps for some 462 visa holders.
  • Increase the age of 417 visa holders from Canada and Ireland to 35.
  • The key focus is on providing immediate access to workers in key rural areas. Employers will be able to retain trained and experienced employees for up to 12 months, rather than the previous six months. 

Seasonal Worker Programme Changes  

As well as changes to make it more attractive for working holidaymakers to stay for longer on farms, the Commonwealth Government also introduced changes to make the Seasonal Worker Programme even more attractive to growers.

  • From the 5th of November 2018, seasonal workers from all countries will be able to work for a period of up to nine months in Australia (up from the existing six months), but must spend three months out of every twelve in their home country.
  • Growers will only have to contribute $300 toward the airfare cost for each worker instead of the current $500.
  • Labour market testing must run for a minimum of two weeks and the results will be valid for six months from the date the advertisement was removed rather than 3 months as it is now.

For further information or to source harvest workers, contact the Harvest Trail on 1800 062 332