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Hundreds of Australin Dairy Farms affected by visa changes
May 8, 2017

More evidence is emerging of the damage that changes to the 457 skilled migrant visa scheme will do with confirmation hundreds of dairies will be affected by the overhaul.

Statistics obtained by Fairfax Media show that 179 dairy “cattle farmers” were approved in the last three years under the 457 visa scheme.

But it is believed many migrant workers came in under the banner of “agricultural technicians” to work in dairies.

Also many are employed under different training visas such as 415 and 416.

Immigration agents estimate that about 10 per cent of Murray Goulburn’s 2500 dairies would have used skilled migrant workers.

Extrapolated throughout the dairy industry that places more than 500 dairy farms who may potentially be hurt by the visa changes.

Not only are dairy businesses facing double the cost of bringing skilled migrants to Australia – adding $10,000 to the cost through extra visa requirements – but the shortened visa periods from four to two years will disrupt work schedules and planning.

Industries hurt by the changes are hoping there will be some push back by industries to put dairyfarmers back on the long-term (four-year) visa list, giving hope some workers can obtain permanent residency – one of the big carrots for getting workers to Australia.

Sources say it is believed the government will not reverse the decision to replace the scheme, but may be open to changes to the allowable occupation lists (cut from about 500 to 200).

The hastiness of the changes was revealed, with the Department of Immigration knowing nothing about the axing of the 457 visas until six days before the Turnbull Government’s announcement.

It is believed no legislation has been drawn up to support the changes as yet, with working groups now established to try and sort out the legislative nightmare.

Melbourne immigration lawyer Jackson Taylor is part of the working group and said “it appears that the Department has done very little thinking through of these changes”.

“That appears to be because the majority of ‘announceables’ in the information circulated by DIBP (Department of Immigration and Border Protection) actually comes directly from government and the department had limited input,” he said.

“The result is they now have to fix problems they have created and avoid throwing the baby out with the bath water.

“The 457 visa was far from perfect but ultimately government spent little on compliance.”

Mr Jackson said there should be some regional concessions in the Federal Government’s changes.

Statistics show there was actually very limited numbers of skilled workers coming to Australia under the scheme – just 827 in the agricultural sector in the last three years.

Finley, NSW, dairyfarmer Ruth Kydd is one of the Murray Goulburn dairies affected by the changes.

She employs one worker under the 457 visa scheme but was planning to add another worker to help with calving in June when the announcement was made.

She says the new English language requirements were “ridiculous”.

 

Source: The Australian Dairy Farmer


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