Regional businesses in Australia are benefiting from a 20 per cent increase in the number of working holiday makers supporting regional areas.
New figures show that 43,219 second year visas were granted under the Working Holiday Maker (WHM) program last financial year – 7,000 more than in the previous year.
Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, David Coleman said only working holiday makers who complete three months of specified work in a regional area could access the second WHM visa.
“That’s 7,000 more young people picking crops, milking cows, shearing sheep and supporting tourism in regional Australia,” Mr Coleman said. “We know there are some jobs in regional Australia that aren’t being filled by Australian workers, and we are giving regional businesses the immigration settings to help them fill those roles.”
From January 2020, second year visa holders can also apply for a third year WHM visa if they carry out an additional six months specified work in regional areas during their second year.
“We expect the third-year visa option will encourage even more travellers to spend more time working in regional Australia,” Minister Coleman said.
Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham said working holiday makers inject around AUS$3 billion into the economy each year, most of which is spent in regional areas.
“Working holiday makers generally stay longer, spend more money in Australia and travel further into regional areas than most other international visitors,” he explained. “Our expansion of the WHM program is offering more young people from more countries the travel opportunity of a lifetime, while also supporting our key industries and regional communities.
“That’s why our Government through Tourism Australia, recently launched a AUS$7.5 million campaign to help attract more working holiday makers from the United Kingdom, Germany and France.”
All workers in Australia have the same rights and protections at work, regardless of citizenship or visa status. Employers must pay the right wages as set by law, and provide a safe workplace.
Article published 26th September 2019