The residency door is shut for dairy farm workers

The current Immigration NZ rules make it almost impossible for a person working on a dairy farm to get NZ residency – even if that person is the manager of their farm.

Skilled migrant visas operate on a points system. Applicants get points for experience, education, having ties to New Zealand as well as a range of other factors. One category is “Skilled Employment” – applicants get 50 points if they can show Immigration New Zealand that they have “Skilled Employment”. Almost everybody needs those 50 points to get across the line.

The only dairy farm job that is on the list of “Skilled Occupations” is “Dairy Cattle Farmer”. Sounds OK right? – wrong. Immigration NZ uses a classification system for skilled occupations that disqualifies almost everyone from being a “Dairy Cattle Farmer”. That classification system is based on the Australian Bureau of Statistics classification of jobs and (surprise, surprise) has little relevance to the way dairy farms operate in New Zealand.

To be a “Dairy Cattle Farmer” applicants must have primary responsibility for a number of tasks on the farm. Those tasks include the following:
• maintaining and evaluating records of farming activities, monitoring market activity and planning production accordingly
• managing business capital including budgeting, taxation, debt and loan management

The problem here I have yet to meet a dairy farm manager who has primary responsibility for those matters. Pretty much all farms have an owner who takes care of those sorts of matters and then gives instructions to the farm manager – often after meeting with farm consultants.

Even if farm manager participates in meetings where production planning and managing business capital etc is decided they still fall short of being “Dairy Cattle Farmers” because they don’t have ‘primary responsibility’ – insane.

Some people who are in their first year or two of dairy farming come to see me to get immigration advice. They want to know how they can go about becoming New Zealand residents. They often seem hard working and reliable people who want to make the best for their families. I tell them to go and work in a different industry. There is no pathway to residency for them in dairy farming.

Contact me if you need assistance with your visa application.

Scott Donaldson

6 thoughts on “The residency door is shut for dairy farm workers

  1. i have been in dairy industry form last two years. I still don’t know whats right or wrong. There is should be some way. I am assistant herd manager and hopefully I wil apply for 2ic by 2017. I learning step by step. Could you tell is there way for me to to get resisency. Pls

  2. Why is NZ so hard on dairy workers,we are hard working people that left everything we knew and had for a beter life in NZ. We are no different then any refuge?

  3. hi just want to ask if you how many years would the INz grant for the Farm assistant position? is it just 1 year or 2 years? im renewing my second year now as Farm assistant. cheers

  4. Hi
    I got my farm manager visa few days back. And i have 5+ years of experience in dairy farming. And i want to apply for my residence in mid of 2017. Then is it fine to apply for residency, after 6 months of getting farm manager visa ?
    Hope to get reply from you soon.

    1. Hi Gurpreet,

      Yes, you can apply for residency after six months of having a work visa. There are various other conditions though that we will need to discuss with you. Please contact Shane Robinson at our office to discuss your situation.

      Regards, Scott

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