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Posted By NHIA  
14:00 PM





Overseas Workers - Information on Critical skills and sectors for travel exemptions.

Australian Dairy businesses are able to seek exemptions on behalf of individual workers (either individually or grouped) from Australia’s inwards travel restrictions from the Australian Border Force Commissioner. Information on this process is on the Home Affairs website at the following link Critical skills and sectors | COVID-19 and the border (


There is now specific exemption category available for Critical Skills and Sectors (see and further details provided below).


Short term visa’s are generally Subclass 400 Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) visa ( to recruit workers from overseas. As outlined at, the stay period for this visa is generally less than 3 months, but stays for up to 6 months may be considered where a strong business case is submitted.


NHIA members can also seek a letter of support for breeding services to include with the visa application.


The Commissioner of the Australian Border Force may grant an individual travel exemption to visa holders

  • with critical skills required to maintain the supply of essential goods and services (such as in medical technology, critical infrastructure, telecommunications, engineering and mining, supply chain logistics, aged care, agriculture, primary industry, food production, and the maritime industry).


All individual workers applying for a travel exemption need the appropriate visa to enter the country. Travel exemption applications can be made without a visa but a visa is required prior to travel. Employers can submit travel exemptions on behalf of their workers.


Favourable consideration for a client submitting an exemption request under the critical sectors pathway requires:

  • evidence that the individual has employment in a position in Australia in one of the critical sectors listed above, and that the hours of employment meet the expectations for that sector; (see further detail below)
  • where this information is not already evident from the terms of the position or job contract, evidence to confirm that the role they will be employed in will make a direct contribution to one of the critical sectors;
  • evidence that the individual has the skills, experience and/or qualifications required to perform the duties of the position;
  • evidence that the role is not unskilled labour or equivalent;
  • evidence that no Australian worker is available; and
  • sufficient evidence that the person holds, or could be reasonably expected to be able to obtain, a suitable work visa in order to undertake the proposed employment in Australia. 


* Individuals working in a critical skills role, or in a critical sector, should generally have full time employment, with a few notable exceptions for the following roles/sectors:

Agriculture sector

  • People working in the agriculture sector must be employed on a fulltime basis and this needs to be evidenced with an employment contract, however due to the nature of work in the industry, the contract may be for a season rather than for 12 months or on an ongoing basis.
  • The employment contract must be with a single employer.  It is not acceptable to use a labour hire company to piece together fulltime hours across multiple employers.






Department of Home Affairs Contact Number 1300 853 773