Australian tourism needs backpackers – changes in working holiday visa to apply
The Australian Tourism Holiday Council (ATEC) has proposed a change in the working holiday visa (WHV 417) to Australia, according to which backpackers will have to work in the tourism sector for three months.
The changes in the working holiday visas to Australia are being discussed since last year due to controversial opinions. According to ATEC, the tourism sector has thousands of job vacancies that need to be filled up or else many tourism businesses are threatened to shut down. Thus, changes in the working holiday program are necessary.
ATEC suggests that shortages in the tourism sector could be fixed if backpackers on WHV 417 are required to work three months in the tourism industry, as in exchange they will be allowed to stay additional 12 more months in the country. In addition, the age limit for working holiday applications shall be raised from 30 to 35 years of age. The costs for obtaining a working holiday visa shall be reduced, and multiple visa applications shall be permitted as one is between 18 and 25 years of age and the second one is between 26 and 35 years of age.
“The current situation only sees around 22,000 people heading to regional areas to find work in defined industries to qualify for the possible second year extension,” explained Felicia Mariani, ATEC Director, and added, “There are 162,000 Working Holiday Visas issued each year in Australia; this means there are another 140,000 potential Working Holiday Visa visitors who could contribute to the Australian economy.
“Within the 162,000 Working Holiday Visas issued each year, there is a clear desire from these people to work in the tourism sector and it is very likely the uptake on the 2nd year extension would be significantly higher,” she also said.
The above-mentioned proposed changes to the working holiday visa, according to ATEC, could increase the annual GDP by A$85 million. Also, the working holiday makers will be allocated in particular regional areas in Australia which need boost the most. This way the A$2.3 billion dollars already spent by backpackers annually, would be concentrated in the troubled areas.
On the contrary, however, the mayor of one of the most popular tourist destinations in Australia says that many Aussies from that area are already struggling to find employment due to the high number of backpackers already employed in the area.
Jan Barham, mayor of Byron Bay, explained that the problem has to be very carefully examined to determine what the impact on the local employment will be.