Working holiday maker to get extended stay in northern Australia

Working Holiday Maker (WHM) visa holders who secure work in certain high demand industries in northern Australia will be able to remain with their employer for up to 12 months from 21st November.

Under the change, both Working Holiday (Subclass 417) and Work and Holiday (Subclass 462) visa holders who undertake work in northern Australia will be able to apply to work for a single employer for a year, rather than the usual limit of six months.

The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton said the changes – an initiative of the Government’s recent White Paper on Developing Northern Australia – will be of significant benefit to the agriculture and tourism sectors in the north of the country.

“These industries are highly seasonal and rely on short term workers to provide labour flexibility in peak periods,” he said.

The changes will also apply to work in northern Australia in aged and disability care, construction and mining.

The Minister believes that the WHM visa programme provides a fabulous opportunity to experience life in Australia. He hopes the change will encourage young people to have the unique cultural experience of living and working in Australia’s north.

“Beyond giving visa holders more options when visiting and working in Australia this will also support employers in the north seeking to attract and retain staff who are trained in their roles and keen to stay on for longer than six months,” he said.

Further changes will follow in 2016 which will allow Work and Holiday (Subclass 462) visa holders to extend their stay in Australia by a further 12 months if they work for at least three months in agriculture or tourism in northern Australia.

“These changes create a significant incentive for young travellers who wish to experience Australia to visit and work in northern Australia,” Mr Dutton continued. “The changes, along with other initiatives in the White Paper, will help to unlock the immense potential of Australia’s north and help facilitate strong economic growth.”

Australia’s WHM visa programme allows young adults aged between 18 and 30 to have an extended holiday in Australia, during which they can offset their travel costs by engaging in short-term work.

A total of 226,812 visas were granted to participants in 2014–15.