Harvest jobs in Australia: what students need to know

International students in Victoria who are looking for short-term work may consider working on Australian farms. The agricultural sector is experiencing labor shortages due to the pandemic, with border restrictions preventing workers from entering the country during peak harvest season.

Here’s what you need to know to find harvesting jobs in Victoria:

What is that?

The Victorian government notes that there are thousands of short-term jobs in paddocks and packing sheds across the state. The Great Victorian Harvest needs workers of all ages and skills. Jobs include:

  • fruit picking in the field
  • prepare and pack fruit in sheds to prepare them for distribution
  • pruning and thinning of fruit trees
  • drive tractors, forklifts and other machinery

Most jobs require skills that can be learned on the job, but others may require training, skills, or licensing (i.e. driving), so check what is needed before applying. “The work is rewarding, but it can be physically demanding. Some jobs may require lifting heavy objects, bending over, climbing ladders and using machines. The work is often done outside, ”notes the state government.

Am I eligible for harvest work?

You can do harvest work in Australia if you are:

  • an eligible working holidaymaker holding a visa with appropriate working rights
  • an international student with work rights in Australia
  • hold a temporary work visa with general work rights, not limited to one employer or type of work

You can use the free online visa fee verification (VEVO) service of the Ministry of the Interior to check the terms of your visa.

What should I do if I am interested in harvesting work?

Before applying for a job, you must first do your research. Read about the product, the harvesting process, the industry and its location. Consider looking for information on horticulture industry websites and local government websites. The “Work on The Harvest Trail page contains useful information for job seekers.

“Make sure the job and the employer are trustworthy before you apply. Jobs are often listed by labor hire companies, which are looking for workers for farmers. In Victoria, you can check if the company is a licensed labor supplier on the Labor Hire Authority website, ”the website notes.

How do I apply for a harvest job?

Job seekers can register on the Victoria jobs online hub to find work. The hub connects job seekers ready to work with employers looking for skilled and talented workers. Upon registering, job seekers will receive job alerts that match their skills, experience and location.

It should be noted that most seasonal horticultural workers are hired under the Australian Government Horticultural Award. The reward describes minimum wage rates and other rights such as time off and overtime. As part of the Horticulture Award, you can expect hourly rates of around AUD 24.80 for a casual adult employee.

International students may relocate to undertake short-term agricultural work. Source: Philippe Lopez / AFP

Relocate to undertake short-term agricultural work

International students are also eligible for AgMove – an Australian government initiative that helps cover the costs of eligible people who relocate to undertake short-term agricultural work, including harvest jobs in Australia. Financial assistance is available until December 31, 2021.

Those who move to begin agricultural work, including harvesting work between May 5 and by December 31, 2021, must complete at least 40 hours of work in at least two weeks to be eligible for a refund of up to A $ 650 if you are a visa holder with a general right to work in Australia.

If you continue to work and complete a total of at least 120 hours of work in at least four weeks, you could be reimbursed up to a total of A $ 2,000 if you are a visa holder with general entitlement to work in Australia.

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