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.
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. Secondly, the current six-month limit for 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 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) to lobby the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) for regulation amendments to these visas.
- 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 immigration matters.
- Improve the flexibility of the 417 and 462 visas, to allow visa holders to stay with one employer for over six months.
- Include dairy 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.