Australia inches closer to fast-track visa plan for South African farmers

Australia inches closer to fast-track visa plan for South African farmers

Australia’s Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton says things are “not too far off” from being finalised.

After a flurry of rhetoric and policy debate, Australia’s politicians – and Peter Dutton in particular – have recently been tight-lipped on proposals to offer a fast-track visa to South African farmers.

According to Sky News Australia, things are set to pick up again soon.

Why does Australia want to offer a fast-track visa?

A week after South Africa’s Parliament passed a bill allowing the governing ANC to pursue land expropriation without compensation policies, Australia’s Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton pronouncements made international headlines.

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Exacerbated by South Africa’s alarming number of farm murders, Dutton went public with his idea to offer farmers in Mzansi refugee status, giving them the chance to hot-foot it over to Australia in double-quick time.

South African farmers to learn more about Aus visa

There’s been plenty of support from Aussie politicians, but in the last six weeks, it has become a peripheral issue.

Further developments seem to be on the horizon, though. Dutton spoke to Sky News Australia earlier the week, claiming that his department “isn’t too far off” from finalising the historic deal.

Around 200 South African farmers have applied for refugee status since the end of February. Although there is no concrete system in place for this specific route, a large number of landowners have decided to chance their arm already.

Who supports the idea?

Some in the Australian government have made it very clear just how welcome farming migrants would be. Both the Auditor-General Christian Porter and Multiculturalism Minister Alan Tudge have insisted that the nation opens its borders to SA’s farmers.

Scott Buchholz, an MP for the Liberal Party, is the latest high-profile name to encourage Dutton to move ahead with the visa plans.

“The South African residents in my electorate make an excellent contribution to the community. They even employ Australians and grow our economy. They are amazing contributors,” he said.

“I believe there are already provisions under humanitarian grounds for white South Africans. I welcome both white and other South African communities who want to integrate here like we’ve seen with Nigerian and Somalian immigrants.”

Australia’s most recent communication on the matter didn’t seem to suggest that South Africans would receive “priority treatment” over other refugees. They would, however, receive preferential treatment to other “standard” visa applications.