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PM's new backpacker changes an immediate relief 'but not a long-term solution'

Changes to Australia's seasonal worker program and backpacker visas have been welcomed by Australia's agricultural industry as something that will provide immediate relief, but the industry will not give up the fight for a dedicated agriculture visa.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the visa changes today, effective immediately, at a strawberry farm in southern Queensland as part of a four-day tour of the state.

The changes are designed to keep workers on farms for longer.

They are in response to widespread calls for a solution to the shortage of farm labour, and after grower groups criticised the Prime Minister's earlier proposal to engage unemployed Australians to fill the gap.

Under the relaxed rules, Pacific Islanders taking up seasonal work will be able to stay three months longer, and the age limit for working holiday visas for some countries will be lifted to 35.

Backpackers will no longer need to leave jobs every six months, and will be able to triple the length of their stay if they do extra agricultural work.

 

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(ABC NEWS: 12/11/18)