If you’re experiencing a shortage of local labour, you may be interested in hiring overseas workers. The following programs provide avenues to source unskilled or skilled staff:

  • The Pacific Australia Labour Mobility scheme
  • Standard skilled visas
  • The Pork Industry Labour Agreement

Learn more about these programs below.

Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) Scheme

Through the PALM scheme, eligible businesses can recruit workers for seasonal jobs for up to 9 months or for longer-term roles for between one and four years in unskilled, low-skilled and semi-skilled positions.

The previous Government's Australian Agriculture Visa program will be relocated within the PALM scheme.

More information on PALM

Standard skilled visas

Standard temporary or permanent skilled visas are available to individuals who are qualified to work in an eligible skilled occupation in Australia and can meet other requirements. The occupation must be on the government’s skilled occupation list.

Currently this list includes the skilled occupation of Pig Farmer, a management role which requires a level of skill commensurate with a bachelor degree or higher. At least five years of relevant experience may substitute for the formal qualification.

Also included on the eligible skilled occupation list is the support role of Agricultural Technician, which requires at least an AQF Diploma qualification or three years of relevant experience. This role provides technical assistance to agricultural scientists or specialists in areas such as research and production, including artificial insemination, laboratory testing and herd testing.


More information on skilled visas

Pork Industry Labour Agreement

Labour agreements enable approved businesses to sponsor skilled overseas workers when there is a demonstrated need that cannot be met in the Australian labour market and where standard temporary or permanent visa programs are not available.

They are an agreement with the Australian Government and are generally in effect for five years. They provide visas to be granted under one or more of the following programs:

  • Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa (subclass 482)
  • Employer Nomination Scheme visa (subclass 186)
  • Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 494)

The Pork Industry Labour Agreement (PILA) lets you sponsor skilled overseas workers in senior piggery stockperson roles for periods of up to four years or five years depending on the visa and/or permanent residence.

The Agreement with government sets out the requirements you and your potential employees will need to meet. The main requirements are:

  • Overseas workers must hold at least an AQF Certificate III in Pork Production or equivalent qualifications and three years’ recent and relevant work experience, or at least five years’ recent and relevant experience in the pig industry. Alternatively, a nominee could be eligible for a TSS (482) visa if they hold an AQF Certificate III Pork Production and at least 18 months relevant work experience in Australia.
  • Overseas workers will be provided with the same terms and conditions as those that are, or would be, provided to Australian workers doing the same work. Earnings must be at least the market salary rate or the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT), whichever is the greater
  • That the employer meets labour market testing requirements
  • That overseas workers may be eligible for a permanent visa if they have held the occupation of Senior Stockperson (Piggery) for a minimum period of three years on a temporary or provisional visa

Concessions for some criteria can be accessed by regional businesses and these are specified in the current PILA template.

For further information on the PILA, see:

Migration webinar - understanding visas and migration options for pig producers

APL hosted a webinar for pig producers on 17 March 2023 to learn more about suitable visa pathways for on-farm roles and the process of hiring staff from overseas.

You can view a summary or watch a recording of the webinar via the links below.
*Please note: following this webinar, the Australian Government announced a staged closure of the 408 (COVID-19 Pandemic event) visa and an increase in the temporary skilled migration income threshold (TSMIT). The webinar recording refers to the old TSMIT 

Producers may wish to get further advice regarding their specific needs. If you appoint someone to give you immigration assistance, they must be a registered migration agent or legal practitioner.

For more information, including details of registered migration agents that service the industry, please contact APL.