GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES CHANGES TO THE WORKING HOLIDAY VISA MAKER PROGRAM
In an effort to provide more support for Australian farmers and regional economies, The Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, The Hon David Coleman, MP together with Ministers Coleman and Littleproud announced, in a Media Release on 5th November 2018, changes to the Working Holiday Maker (WHM) visa program.
To date, the WHM Program has enabled young adults (aged 18-30) from eligible partner countries to work in Australia while having an extended holiday. Work must not be the main purpose of the visa holder’s visit. The WHM Program includes the Working Holiday (subclass 417) and Work and Holiday (subclass 462) visas.
The changes have been designed to target genuine workforce shortages in regional Australia without displacing Australian workers, increasing the number of WHM visa holders and allowing them an extension of time in Australia by undertaking agricultural work in new areas across Australia.Announced changes to Working Holiday Visa Makers include:
- 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.
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).
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