Increased Australian Visa fees may affect negatively many fruit and vegetable growers
A lot of vegetable and fruit growers in Australia may face labour shortages after the Federal Government revealed its plan to increase the price of many types of Australian visas including the Working Holiday Visa which is very popular among backpackers. Many farmers who employ a lot of working holiday makers for harvest and fruit picking work may be badly hit. Some of them have almost half of their workforce consisting of backpacker workers and think that the higher visa prices will make it hard for them to find and hire seasonal workers. Many hotels and hostels who offer backpacker accommodation may be affected by the increase as well.
Rob Watkins who is general amanger at Queensland’s Mt Uncle Farming commented that:
“The banana industry in north Queensland will be in dire straits if we don’t have international backpackers because there are not enough locals,”
Many backpackers may decide to go to other destinations depriving Australia fruit and vegetable growers of vital part of their seasonal workforce. According to recent statistics of Mareeba and District Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association almost half of the farm and fruit workers during 2011 were backpackers. An extra cost for the visa may affect the number future Working Holiday Makers who decide to come to Australia.
There are however some backpackers, who consider the $80 rise insignificant and state they will still pursue their dream of experiencing the Australian lifestyle in spite of the increase. On the other hand many working holiday makers have very limited amount of money and If people don’t have much money to start with, they might not come.
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