Irish dairy farmers: Australia wants you (to earn €35,000)!

Due to skills shortages in Australia, Irish and British dairy farmers are especially in demand by Australian immigration, according to Sanwar Ali of

Dairy farming is listed on the country’s Consolidated Sponsored Occupations List and according to Ali, the government there is urging British and Irish dairy farmers to apply for Australian temporary skilled immigration 457 visas.

Charlie McElhone of Dairy Australia, the national services body for the country’s dairy farmers, has said that Australian, British and Irish dairy systems have many similarities, all being mainly pasture-based.

In Australia, Ali has said that there’s a large contingent of British and Irish working holiday makers employed across the dairy farming industry.

Many of these workers go onto to stay in Australia on longer-term employment related visas such as the 457 visa, Ali said.

According to industry commentators, there’s a growing need for British and Irish dairy farmers to apply for Australian skilled immigration visas to fill skilled and managerial roles across the industry sector.

Ali reports that many Australian farmers are using the Australian skilled immigration system to recruit personnel from overseas to fill vacancies.

“In particular, farmers are looking to recruit workers with a formal qualification in agriculture and experience of working on larger farms,” McElhorne has said.

The farming sector in Australia is suffering as a result of labour shortages, according to Ali.

Currently, 6,300 dairy farms exist across the country; due to increasing growth in this sector they have become more reliant on the Australian skilled immigration system to find workers, Ali reports.

Surveys undertaken by Dairy Australia suggest that each dairy farm has between two and five members of staff, with the total number currently employed in the dairy farming industry being about 25,000.

Furthermore, according to Ali, 80% of dairy farmers struggle to find personnel with the required skills needed to help on their farms.

On an Australian skilled immigration temporary 457 visa, dairy farmers with a minimum of five years’ experience can earn a salary of AU$53,900 (€35,246) per year.

The 457 visa also allows a visa holder to work in Australia for up to four years for the sponsoring farm.

Claire Miller, Dairy Australia’s policy strategy manager, has said the dairy industry will continue to be reliant upon the Australian skilled immigration system in order to recruit from overseas and meet labour demands in the short to medium term.

“Changes to the 457 visa criteria are also necessary to meet local needs.

“The changes will mean that a senior farm hand, with over five years of experience, or a Certificate III in Agriculture (or equivalent) with three years of experience, is eligible for a 457 visa,” Miller said.