Fast Facts

More international dairy farm workers available soon

Federated Farmers is pleased to see more international dairy farm workers will be able to cross the border for the 2022 dairy season.

“Farms are short thousands of staff and with continued low domestic unemployment, workers from overseas are the only option to plug the gaps in many parts of New Zealand,” Federated Farmers National Board member and immigration spokesperson Chris Lewis says.

“Many dairy farms are desperate to get teams back up to strength prior to calving and today’s announcement will provide a measure of relief.”

The industry, farmers and the government have done all they can to attract and retain Kiwi workers in the industry, but the need for international labour remains.

Federated Farmers has worked with the Ministry for Social Development for over a year to attract more than 525 people to work in the sector through the programme.

“If we want Kiwis to see an attractive future in the industry and to stop burning out our existing workers, we need the right number of people to staff our farms.

“Every employer wants to offer a favourable work roster and more days off, but without enough people to employ this isn’t possible,” Chris says.

The new class exception will allow 300 international dairy workers to enter New Zealand. Employers can apply through DairyNZ for nomination and have a class exception visa granted by Immigration New Zealand. A class exception is already open which allows 200 dairy workers to enter New Zealand, and has been partially filled.

For both class exceptions, workers are able to enter New Zealand from 5 March.

Every industry that has relied on an international workforce in the past is crying out for workers.

“Federated Farmers has advocated strongly and consistently for the agricultural sector, now it is up to the farmers to fill these exception spots,” Chris says.

Federated Farmers wants to remind farm employers to use the industry-leading Federated Farmers employment contracts, DairyNZ job descriptions, management advice and team building resources, and to promote the great housing, modern work rosters and no travel costs to work that we offer with jobs on our farms.

Source: Federated Farmers

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