Changes to working holiday visa a boon for Durack
November 5, 2018
Federal Member for Durack and Minister for the Environment Melissa Price applauded the Federal Government’s announcement today, of changes to the Working Holiday Maker (WHM) visa program and the Seasonal Worker Program to target genuine workforce shortages in regional Australia.
“The Federal Government will increase the number of visa holders and allow them to extend their time in Australia without displacing Australian workers, this is good news for Durack,” said the Minister.
“Naturally we want Australian people filling Australian jobs first, but when this isn’t possible action was needed to ensure not only farmers but hospitality workers and other employers across the Durack electorate were not left without workers.
Backpackers make up a large contingent of working holiday makers and changes to the program include lifting the annual caps on visas, expanding the number of regional areas where WHM visa holders can work for three months in specified farming work, and allowing them to work for 12 months with the same employer.
“Now Backpackers will have the opportunity to increase the current two-year visa to a third year by undertaking an extra six months of regional work in their second year and will be able to undertake farm work where labour is required,” Minister Price said.
“These changes will provide overseas backpackers with more flexibility in employment including in the hospitality and retail industries as well as farming for example.
“They also get the opportunity to experience living and working in Australia’s regional and rural communities,” the Minister said.
Changes have also been made to the Seasonal Worker Program, increasing the period of work in Australia to nine months for all workers; for some countries it is currently only six months making it easier for farmers to access workers for longer with less administration costs.
Changes to Working Holiday Maker visas:
- Work and Holiday makers (subclass 462) will be able to undertake regional plant and animal cultivation work in additional priority areas to become eligible for a second visa.
- Extension of the period a WHM (subclass 417 and 462) may work with the same agricultural employer from six to 12 months.
- Introduction of a third year visa option for WHM (subclasses 417 and 462), who from 1 July 2019 onwards complete six months of regional work in the second year.
- Increase the number of places available for Work and Holiday Maker program (subclass 462) by lifting annual caps available to a number of countries participating in the subclass 462 visa program.
These changes require a strict workforce test to be applied to ensure Australian workers are given the first opportunity for work.
Changes to the Seasonal Worker Program:
- Increase work period in Australia to nine months for all workers (currently six months for some countries).
- Increase validity of labour market testing prior to recruiting workers from three to six months.
- Reduce out of pocket expenses for employers (workers repay their full travel costs except for the first $300; a reduction from the previous $500).