Proposed reforms for Aussie work holiday immigration

Proposed reforms for Aussie work holiday immigration

Proposed reforms for Aussie work holiday immigration

According to Migration Expert, the Australian Tourist Export Council (ATEC) has written a report to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship urging the federal government to pass five major policy changes to a visa category, claiming the reforms could potentially raise Australia's GDP by nearly $275 million within a decade.

The proposed adjustments in the report titled "The Importance of the Working Holiday Visa (Subclass 417)", could boost the country's GDP and also create additional jobs in the tourism industry, according to the ATEC.

ATEC has proposed to add the hospitality and tourism industry into the tally of industries which allow Working Holiday Visa (WHV) immigrants to extend their visas for Australia. Under the existing rules, WHV immigrants can extend visas by one year after completing 88 days of labour in a defined regional sector, including agriculture, forestry, horticulture, construction, mining or fishing.

Another proposal by the ATEC is to maintain or reduce the costs and financial requisites of the visa. A third proposal is to extend the qualifying range in age, currently 18-30, in order to allow visitors to arrive until they are 35.

A fourth proposal is to allow immigrants to obtain the visa multiple times, instead of limiting these to one with a possible second year extension. ATEC has suggested allowing backpackers to obtain the visa once prior to the age of 25 and once more afterwards.

Finally, ATEC is also pushing the government to improve its engagement with the tourism industry in an attempt to expand the programme to new source countries.

The ATEC managing director Felicia Mariani stated these adjustments to the eligibility settings for the WHV would bring significant benefit to not only Australia's tourism industry but to local communities and the economy as a whole.

"The backpacker and youth market is valuable in terms of the amount of money these visitors spend in-country as well as from a labour and skills perspective. The current visa arrangements just don't offer Australia the maximum benefit they can bring," she added.

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