High demand for seasonal workers in the Territory

The reliance on international labour has now hit the agricultural industry more than ever.

With a sustainable supply of seasonal workers an ongoing obstacle for the sector, the impact of COVID-19 and the travel restrictions have made it a challenge for Territory growers to find skilled workers.

The decline in international workers and the small effort of Australians to fill these agricultural roles, farmers have had to decrease or stop planting crops due to a shortage of harvesters.

As farmers welcome a new agricultural visa, targeting workers from South-East Asian nations to address the increasing workforce shortages. Another working holiday maker (WHM) visa has been introduced to assist visa holders with a second or third-year visa extension without completing farm work.

Comments concerning the WHM from Paul Burke, the CEO of NT Farmers Association, "[Immigration Minister Alex] Hawke's decision is a massive blow to an industry which is already struggling to attract a strong workforce due to international border closures and a nationwide worker shortage."

The agricultural industry anticipates the supply of crops will soon have a negative impact on the availability of local fresh produce and are in hopes that the new Australian Government driven initiatives can fill the workforce shortage demand.

Three services that are available nationally to help connect international and local workers with employers to meet business demand are the:

The services have now been in full effect for several years and if we have learnt anything from 2020 onwards, it is that there needs to be a stronger focus on assisting employers in meeting their workforce needs with local and international job seekers.

For those in the Territory who have been affected by COVID-19 or are seeking information on finding work, workers or looking to upskill or reskill, please go to the Northern Territory Government or The Job Shop website for more details.