Backpacker scheme will impact on Pacific workers

Pacific seasonal workers (DFAT/Flickr/CC BY 2.0)

Changes to backpacker visa and Seasonal Worker Program

On 5 November, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced changes to Australia’s backpacker visa scheme to encourage more backpackers to work on farms, and for longer stints. Devpolicy research and commentary had cautioned against these changes due to their potential impact on Pacific development via the Seasonal Worker Program, and the centre’s commentary was in the media extensively in the lead-up to and after the announcement.

Agriculture visa

Prior to the changes to the backpacker visa scheme, the National Party and National Farmers’ Federation were campaigning for a new agricultural visa for temporary migrants to Australia. In early September 2018, it looked like this may have become a reality, despite significant impacts for Pacific island workers. However, a decision on a new agricultural visa has now been delayed.

Devpolicy’s analysis has been cited across the media during this debate.

Rolling coverage

On the Devpolicy Blog, we have been providing updates on the developments on these visa changes and proposals. Read the rolling blog here.

Updated:  23 August 2019/Responsible Officer:  Crawford Engagement/Page Contact:  Devpolicy Admin