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Australia lures Asians to farm labour with new agriculture visa and path to permanent residency

Three years ago, Audi Melsom quit his job as a designer at MetroTV, one of Indonesia’s largest television broadcasters, and headed to the Northern Territory in Australia, aiming to work odd jobs and explore the country.

Like most Indonesians on Australia’s Working Holiday Maker visa – a scheme that annually allows up to 5,000 Indonesians below the age of 30 to spend up to three years in Australia working and vacationing – Audi worked as a farm labourer.

Audi has picked mangoes, watermelons and pumpkins in the Northern Territory, raspberries and tomatoes in Queensland, and grapes and figs in Victoria, earning anywhere from A$20 (US$14.5) to A$35 per hour. In some cases, he was a “piece-rate” worker, paid for the amount of produce he picked, rather than a fixed hourly rate.

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State Farmers’ Organisation Sarawak | PPNS
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