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On March 2022, Senator the Hon Marise Payne announced that Australia has signed the first bilateral Memorandum of understanding with Vietnam under the Australian Agricultural Visa (AAV) Program. This was confirmed through media releases from the Australian Embassy in Vietnam (https://vietnam.embassy.gov.au/hnoi/MR_220328.html) and the foreign Minister (https://www.foreignminister.gov.au/minister/marise-payne/media-release/vietnam-joins-australian-agriculture-visa-program)
As the first country in Southeast Asian to participate in the AAV program, Vietnam’s early participation in the AAV program is a reflection of the deepening cooperation under the Australian-Vietnam Strategic Partnership and is a key initiative of the Australia-Vietnam Enhanced Economic Engagement Strategy launched on 1 November 2021. The Australian Agricultural Worker (AAW) Stream was inserted in the Subclass 403 by the Migration Amendment (Australian Agriculture Workers) Regulations 2021 on 30 September 2021.
On 4 April 2022 the Migration Amendment (Pacific Australia Labour Mobility) Regulations 2022 inserted the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) stream in Subclass 403.
On 29 September 2022, regulations were make to repeal the Australian Agriculture Worker Stream through a legislative instrument. (F2022L01289). As such, the Australian Agriculture Worker Stream has been omitted from Clause 8611 of Schedule 8, where the explanatory statement stated that
‘A dedicated agriculture worker visa stream is no longer required as agricultural workers can be accommodated through the PALM stream of Subclass 403 using the existing regulations and system capabilities. Repeal of the AAW stream by the Regulations means that the PALM scheme remains the key program for meeting agricultural workforce shortages.;
As such, countries specified under the PALM stream can access the Subclass 403 program – https://www.palmscheme.gov.au/countries. As Vietnam was considered under the AAV program and it seems that citizens from Vietnam are not included in the PALM stream for the Subclass 403. As such, Vietnamese citizens should re-consider lodging Subclass 403 ‘agricultural visas’ as the stream currently does not exist, as seen in https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2022L01289/5460c4cf-4be4-42ea-a904-317ab0267da7.