The national voice for Australian dairy farmers

Immigration: Support a multicultural workforce

  • Secure a robust industry-wide labour agreement that will give dairy farmers greater access to suitable overseas workers to help overcome the industry's chronic skilled labour shortage.
  • Streamline and fast-track the application and approvals process for 457 visas for skilled dairy workers, and reverse the restrictions on 457 visas introduced by the former Government.
  • Reinstate the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) Outreach Officer Programme to assist farmers with immigrationmatters.
  • Extend the duration of 417 and 462 visas from six to twelve months.
  • Include dairy on the list of eligible industries for the Seasonal Worker Scheme and on Schedule 1 of the Skilled Occupation List, and revise Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) skills descriptions for dairy farmers to align with industry skills descriptions.

Dairy is a highly dynamic industry with many opportunities for growth and development. However, chronic domestic labour shortages limit the industry's ability to take advantage of these opportunities for expansion. Therefore, a positive industry-wide labour agreement that will enable dairy farmers to recruit skilled overseas workers to fill on-farm roles is imperative in ensuring the industry's success.

Moreover, immigration requirements for dairy workers are unclear, complex and do not provide appropriate paths for dairy farmers to take on overseas workers. The subclass 457 visa processes need to be streamlined and simplified.

The current six-month limit on working on a farm under working holiday visas undermines productivity due to high staff turnover and the need to continually source, employ and train new staff. This time limit should be extended from six to twelve months.

Dairy is a seasonal industry but is not on the list of eligible industries for the Seasonal Workers Scheme. Dairy workers are also not listed on the Skilled Occupation List and it is difficult to align dairy occupations with the ANZSCO skills descriptions. This lack of flexibility restricts the types of visas available for skilled dairy migrants.

Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) continues to work alongside Dairy Australia, and in consultation with the National Farmers Federation (NFF) and the Australian Workers Union (AWU), to lobby the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) for regulation amendments to these visas.


  • Skilled migration and 400 series visa programmes review
  • Independent Panel of the Subclass 457 Visa Programmes Reviews

Contact Details

Level 2 Swann House
22 William Street
Melbourne VIC 3000

Tel: (03) 8621 4200

Fax: (03) 8621 4280

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