A dairy industry worker migration scheme has undergone a raft of changes that should make it easier for dairy farmers to employ skilled overseas workers.
The Dairy Industry Labour Agreement has been expanded to include a 'dairy cattle farm operator', as well as a 'senior dairy cattle farm worker'.
Other changes include:
- Reduced levels of work experience required.
- Reduced English language requirements.
- Increased age limit to 55 years from 45 years.
- Labour market testing reduced to only two attempts in a 12-month period.
- Salary concessions.
The changes take effect immediately and apply nationally.
The changes were made by the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, Alex Hawke, in response to submissions from Australian Dairy Farmers and Dairy Australia.
"We thank Minister Hawke for these reforms, which will help to ensure that rural migration policy better reflects the workforce needs of the Australian dairy industry," ADF CEO David Inall said.
"The skilled worker shortage is the number one concern for dairy farms currently.
"While development of the domestic workforce is a key focus for industry, immigration will remain an important pathway for some businesses."
The skilled worker shortage is the number one concern for dairy farms currently.
ADF's work with the government to address the labour challenge also includes:
- A request that visas for artificial insemination technicians be prioritised.
- Feedback on the Fair Work Amendment (Supporting Australia's Jobs and Economic Recovery) Bill 2021, which addresses issues in the industrial relations system that hinder employment generation (the Bill received royal assent in late March 2021).
- Input into the new agriculture visa that supports greater access to international labour.
The worker shortage is limiting growth in the dairy sector (farm businesses need about one full-time equivalent labour unit per 100 cows).
It is estimated that more than 50 per cent of dairy farm businesses in Australia will need to recruit annually in coming years, and that those that recruit will be seeking on average around three employees.
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