Prime Minister Scott Morrison is proposing changes to the Working Holiday Visa which will enable backpackers to stay in Australia longer and work and live in a wider range of regions throughout the country.
Currently, Working Holiday Visas are valid for 12 months and holders are restricted to six months employment with any one employer during that time. Under proposed changes, backpackers will now be able to stay with agricultural employers beyond six months and will be able to triple the length of their stay if they do extra agricultural work. This is a move which is aimed at rural Australia and farmers specifically.
While Prime Minister Morrison, has indicated that his priority is to fill Australian jobs with Australians, he has recognised that this isn’t always possible and often it is Australian farmers that are left without workers, resulting in a loss of crops.
Other major changes already enacted include increasing the Working Holiday Visa age limit from 30 years of age to 35 years if you’re Irish or Canadian.
It is reported that these changes have come about after the Nationals failed to deliver a promised agricultural visa and the industry dismissed a proposal to attempt to force jobless Australians to pick fruit and tend to animals.
Dan Engles, Managing Director of Visa Solutions Australia says, ‘these are welcome changes, but they do not go far enough. Restricting the new rules to strict “farm work” ignores the problems that SMEs have in rural Australia including those running cafes and other hospitality venues.
“There are labour shortages in other areas of regional Australia including abattoirs and other industries. The exemptions should be widened to all of rural Australia and all businesses operating regionally. Australia needs more people in the regions”.
Approximately 419,000 backpackers visited Australia last year and spent close to $920 million dollars.
These changes are set to come into effect from 5 November 2018 and others from 1 July 2019
Visa Solutions Australia is a full-service immigration service provider. VSA understands and undertakes the legal and professional obligation of applying to the Australian Government for a visa on your behalf.