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Visa rules relaxed to boost job shortage on farms

Samantha Menzies
Senior editor – Finance
Foreign visa rules eased. Source: Getty Images

Visa rules in Australia are being eased to help boost the jobs shortage on Australian farms.

Migrant workers can now get a four-year working visa provided they stay in regional areas and work in agriculture.

The boost will send support to farmers who are desperately needing help.

But is this just a stop gap until more young Australians are willing to move out to the bush to work?

And is it just a band aid approach?

Some argue that given rural Australia has a high rate of unemployment, especially when it comes to younger Australians, we should focus on getting them work ‘in their own backyard’ before getting employment benefits.

The worst place to be looking for a job

Young Australians in regional and rural areas “bear the heaviest burden” when it comes to unemployment, with some regions facing youth unemployment rates of more than 25 per cent.

More than one in 10 (11.2 per cent) of Australians in the workforce aged between 15 and 24 are unemployed, more than twice the country’s overall unemployment rate (5 per cent) and nearly triple the rate for those 25 and over.

This means more than 250,000 young people looking for work are unemployed, the Brotherhood of St Lawrence revealed in its latest report.

And it’s worst for Australians in regional areas.

“Young people come out of education and training with high hopes and aspirations for independence. It’s devastating that despite 28 years of continuous economic growth, too many young Australians are locked out of the prosperity dividend,” the Brotherhood’s executive director, Conny Lenneberg said.

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