To our valued WWOOF members,
As COVID-19 (coronavirus) continues to expand globally, we want to communicate our commitment to business continuity while at the same time, ensuring the health and safety of our employees, who will be working from home until further notice.
WWOOF Australia has written to the Australian Government to request definitive information for Hosts and WWOOFers in regards to the legality of WWOOFers traveling to, and staying with Hosts. This is the response we have from the Minister for Agriculture. The following information is from the Department of Agriculture website:
Our ministers have been working on ways to meet the ongoing needs for the agriculture workforce.
Horticulture industries, in particular, rely on migrant workers. Changes to temporary visas will help producers access the workers they need. This secures Australia’s food and produce supply during COVID-19.
Working Holiday Makers (WHMs) who work in agriculture or food processing will be:
- exempt from the 6-month limit on work with the 1 employer
- eligible for a further visa to keep working in these critical sectors, if their current visa is due to expire in the next 6 months.
These measures provide further job opportunities to support business and secure Australia’s food supply.
Australian harvest work is seasonal and includes jobs such as picking fruit and vegetables, working in packing sheds and processing plants, or pruning and planting. For more information about available harvest jobs across Australia go to jobsearch.gov.au or call the Hotline 1800 062 332.
Meeting workforce principles
All visa holders must meet all current state and territory requirements. These cover self-isolation, social distancing, hygiene and appropriate accommodation.
Work safety for farmers and agricultural workers
Agricultural workers often work and eat, and sometimes live, close to each other. This can increase their risk of exposure to COVID-19.
Employers must take care of the health and safety of their workers and others at the workplace. This includes putting in place control measures to minimise the spread of COVID-19.
You must put in place these control measures, even if they result in delays to your production.
See how farmers and agricultural workers can minimise the risk from COVID-19 (Safe Work Australia)
We recommend all WWOOF members comply with the current COVID-19 Pandemic restrictions. The Department of Home Affairs website has Information for visa holders about Staying in Australia during the COVID-19 Pandemic as well as COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions.
We would like to remind WWOOFers and Hosts that this is a very serious pandemic and everyone is responsible for their own actions and research. Please keep up to date with, and comply with Federal, State, and Local laws at all times, WWOOF Australia cannot be responsible for keeping members up to date with the ever changing legal landscape.
Here at WWOOF Australia, we have the processes, practices and infrastructure in place to provide uninterrupted business and support operations. You can rest assured our commitment to you remains intact. We will not be taking telephone calls, but will continue to answer emails, member messages via our website, as well as Facebook and Instagram messages.
In addition to government mandates, we are modifying day-to-day business operations, closely following the recommendations set forth by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Australian Government Department of Health. This includes taking the immediate action of suspending all business travel for WWOOF employees, until further notice.
While our preference is to speak with our customers by phone when needed, as we are in an isolated area where mobile phone coverage is not available, unfortunately it will not be possible to divert our phones. Until it is deemed safe to return to work, we believe that suspending phone support temporarily is in our employee’s best interests.
We believe these measures will help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and keep our people safe and keep WWOOF program running smoothly. You can confidently expect the same high level of productivity and service from our team, during this time. Please continue utilising our normal support services via email, or messaging, we are here to help.
International travellers arriving in Australia must self-quarantine for 14 days. Restrictions on International Travel and travel between States are in place. We urge all WWOOF members to remain informed of the latest restrictions as there are large penalties for being in breach of social distancing rules and for non-essential travel. Please stay safe and well, we are all in this together!
We thank you for your support and understanding.
The WWOOF Australia Team
Please note: Due to COVID-19 Travel and Social Distancing restrictions, WWOOFers may not be able to find Hosts until restrictions are lifted. If so, contact us to extend your membership for free. If your travel plans to Australia are delayed due to the COVID-19 coronavirus after joining WWOOF. Please send us your new travel documents along with your WWOOF membership details. We will happily extend your WWOOF membership for 12 months from your new travel date at no charge.
Tourism Australia also has comprehensive COVID-19 Information for Travellers and Australians which is being updated daily. See australia.com/en/travel-alerts/coronavirus
The Australian Government Department of Health has prepared a Series of Coronavirus Resources including the following:
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) – FAQs – what you need to know
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Social Distancing
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information for Travellers
Coronavirus COVID-19 Information for International Travellers
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) isolation guidance
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) information about returning to your community
If you are concerned you can call the National Coronavirus Helpline for information and advice about COVID-19. If you require translating or interpreting services, call 131 450.