Farming Visas

Dairy Farmer visa options

The recent changes in migration law and occupation lists have left many dairy farmers and visa applicants in limbo.

Fortunately, there are still several options for farm owners looking to sponsor overseas workers. True Blue Migration Services has successfully managed visa applications for dozens of dairy farmers across Australia and provides free consultations for UDV members.

Our team of highly experienced Registered Migration Agents can cut through the news headlines and provide you with clear, no-nonsense advice.


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Abolition of the 457 visa

Although the 457 visa was abolished on 18 March 2018, Immigration has introduced a new visa – the Temporary Skill Shortage visa (482/TSS). Dairy farmers can now be sponsored on a TSS visa, subject to eligibility.

Approval as a sponsor for TSS visas

An eligible dairy farm can apply to become an approved business sponsor. Should you choose to engage a Registered Migration Agent to act on your behalf, they will manage the process for you from start to finish.

Once approved, sponsorship is held for five years. If the farm already holds approval (for 457 visa holders), this approval can be used to nominate a Dairy Cattle Farmer on a 482 TSS visa. This includes nominating a current 457 visa holder who wants to move across to a new sponsor.

TSS nomination and visa application of Dairy Cattle Farmers

As Dairy Cattle Farmers are on the Short Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL), they can be initially sponsored on a TSS visa for two years. Provided requirements are met in the future, they can apply for a further two year TSS visa whilst onshore.  The key eligibility requirements are:

  • the sponsor meets Labour Market Testing requirement including two advertisements that have been ‘live’ for at least 28 consecutive days on national job seeker websites (ads must have been placed in the past four months)
  • the applicant holds a relevant Bachelor degree plus two years of full time and paid relevant work experience OR or has least five years of full time relevant employment
  • the applicant holds an overall IELTS score of 5.0 in IELTS (with no part less than 4.5) or an equivalent English test, unless exempt

494 Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa

A Dairy Cattle Farmer can be nominated on a 494 visa. The farm must be based in a designated regional area (RCB approval is required). The role must be full time, likely to be available for five years and offer market salary rate. Employers must be approved and pay the SAF Levy.

You will need to be under 45 years of age, demonstrate Competent English, hold a positive skill assessment and have three years of full time and relevant employment in the occupation.

The five-year 494 visa leads to permanent residency through the Subclass 191 (Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional)) visa if the following two criteria are met:

  1. You work in the designated regional area for at least three years whilst holding a 494 visa, and
  2. You have earnings of at least $53,900 for three years. If you have a partner, only one of you needs to show this salary level (through tax returns) and then your partner could be the main applicant for a 191 visa

You do NOT need to be nominated by an employer when applying for a 191 visa. This is a major difference to the RSMS 187 visa.

If you change employers, a new nomination must be lodged within 90 days. The new sponsor will need to meet all requirements and pay the SAF Levy.

Trainee visa – 407

The training visa (407) allows a farm to sponsor an applicant as a trainee Dairy Cattle Farmer. As with the TSS visa and 187 visa, the farm must apply for sponsorship approval. Approval is granted for five years. The sponsoring farm cannot be a sole trader or an individual.

The nomination involves preparing a structured training program for the applicant.

The applicant must show that s/he has worked or studied full time for 12 months (of the 24 months) as a  dairy farmer, prior to lodging the visa. This makes the 407 visa a great option for employees with a limited amount of experience. The applicant must work at least 30 hours per week and must be paid at least the minimum Award rate of pay.

The 407 visa is granted for a specific period, anywhere from six months to two years. The Immigration Case Officer decides the length of the visa based on how much training they deem necessary.

If you would like to know more about options to sponsor on your dairy farm, email us at or phone 03 9038 9070. Consultations for UDV members are free of charge and members benefit from a discounted visa management fee.

Transitional arrangements for current 457 visa holders

Immigration has announced transitional arrangements for 457 holders. A Dairy Cattle Farmer on the new defunct 457 visa may have permanent residency pathway if either of the following apply:

  1. s/he held a 457 visa before 18 April 2017; or
  2. s/he lodged a 457 visa before 18 April 2017 but it was granted after 18 April 2017

The Dairy Cattle Farmer will be eligible for PR if/when the following is met:

  • s/he has worked for the same sponsor for two of the previous three years on the 457 visa or on a 482 visa
  • s/he has worked in the same occupation for the two years
  • s/he has Competent English (at least 6.0 in all parts of IELTS or an equivalent test score, unless exempt)
  • s/he has been paid at least the salary on the nomination letter
  • s/he is under 50 years of age at the time of lodging the PR visa

A Dairy Cattle Farmer who holds a 457 visa but has changed sponsors will need further assessment.

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