COVID-19 seasonal worker visa update
Fruit Growers Tasmania | Friday, 17 April 2020, 9.00pm
Employers should be aware of the following changes affecting working holiday and seasonal worker program employees, which have been introduced to help growers manage labour needs during the ongoing COVID-19 situation.
From 4 April 2020, working holiday makers working in agriculture and seasonal workers operating in Australia through the Seasonal Worker Program or Pacific Labour Schemes can apply to be transferred to a 408 visa subclass (Australian Government Endorsed Events).
Working Holiday Makers (WHMs) working in agriculture or food processing who transition to the 408 visa subclass will be exempt from the six month work limitation with the one employer and eligible for a further visa to keep working in these critical sectors if their current visa is due to expire in the next six months.
Seasonal Worker Program and Pacific Labour Scheme workers will have the same restrictions on the 408 subclass visa as their previous 403 subclass visa. Workers currently in Australia under these programs will also be exempt from the requirement to work for a single employer and will be able to move between approved employers. Approved employers under these programs will need to continue engaging with the Department of Education, Skills and Employment on labour market testing to ensure recruitment of Australians first.
Persons applying for this specialised 408 visa subclass are required to apply for this visa during the last 28 days of their visa.