Fruit Growers Tasmania welcomes the federal government’s recently announced measures to provide incentives for fully vaccinated Student and Working Holiday Makers to come to Australia to help address current workforce shortages caused by COVID‑19.
Fruit Growers Tasmania CEO Peter Cornish said, “We fully support the measures announced last week. Working Holiday Makers have traditionally played a very important and valued role in the Tasmanian fruit industry seasonal workforce. Prior to the pandemic over 40 per cent of the 8,000 seasonal harvest jobs in the State were expected to be filled by Working Holiday Makers.
“Not only did they play a key role in the harvest but many also became firm advocates for Tasmania and Tasmanian produce when they returned to their home countries, all over the world.”
There are 23,500 Working Holiday Maker visa holders currently offshore awaiting to finalise their intentions to travel to Australia, more than the 19,300 Working Holiday Makers that were in Australia at the end of 2021. Prior to the pandemic over 140,000 Working Holiday Makers were in Australia.
Mr Cornish added, “The Tasmanian fruit industry has also been heartened by the renewed interest from locals to participate in the fruit harvest during the pandemic, helping to fill some of the shortfall. With the fruit harvest now in full swing there are many great opportunities to pick fruit and make good money in what is shaping up as a bumper season.”
It is hoped the provision of refunds of visa application charges and priority visa processing, together with a Tourism Australia advertising campaign, will generate fresh interest in Australia and an increase in new visa applications.
The removal of the limit on Student visa holders’ working hours has also been extended across all sectors of the economy until at least April 2022 and there will be no limit on the length of time Working Holiday Makers can work for the same employer, until the end of