The Australian Government has this week announced changes to the Working Holiday Maker (WHM) visa program in order to support regional and rural communities and allow more backpackers to fill agricultural jobs. The changes will help to relax the previously strict working holiday visa rules and allow backpackers to stay in Australia longer and work in more areas across the country.
The Working Holiday Maker (WHM) program allows travellers to have an extended holiday in Australia which they supplement with short-term agricultural, or in some cases hospitality and tourism, employment. There are two visa sub-classes in the program – the Working Holiday (subclass 417) visa and the Work and Holiday (subclass 462) visa.
The changes to these visas include:
- People with working holiday visas will be able to stay in Australia for a maximum of three years from mid-2019, rather than two. However, they must complete six months of regional work during their second year in the country.
- Those who want to stay a second year in the country will need to work in regional Australia for three months during their first year, but there will now be more areas in which 462 visa-holders can do so.
- Workers can now choose to work in regional areas in NSW, Queensland, Victoria and WA along with all of the Northern Territory, South Australia and Tasmania. Previously, workers could only work in Northern Australia.
- The maximum eligible age to obtain a working holiday visa will be increased from 30 to 35 for some countries.
- Working holiday visa-holders will be able to stay with the same employer for a year, rather than the previous cap of six months.
- There will be an increased number of spots available for individuals from eligible countries looking to obtain a 462 working holiday visa.
The new relaxed rules for working holiday visas will help to provide farmers in key parts of regional Australia with immediate access to more workers.
If you require assistance with hiring people on Working Holiday Visas, please contact ProcessWorx on (08) 9316 9896 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.