The Australian Govt. plans to ease restrictions on the Working Holiday Maker and the Season Worker Visa program. The announcement was made by Scott Morrison, PM of Australia.
Morrison said that locals’ filling Australian jobs was the government’s first priority. However, the Govt. also had to ensure that the Australian farms did not face labor shortage during strawberry season. Easing the visa rules will help support small business working in the regional areas of Australia.
The Govt. has confirmed that there would be a number of changes made to the WHM Visa. This includes increasing the total number of visas each year. It also plans on lifting the annual ceiling on this visa. The Govt, however, did not confirm the countries for which the annual ceiling would be lifted.
WHM Visa holders will also be allowed to work with a single employer for up to 1 year. Earlier, they could only work with one employer for 6 months.
The Immigration Dept. will also make it easier for the WHM Visa holders to renew their visas for the second time. If the applicants perform extra agricultural work, they may also be given the option of qualifying for a visa for the third time.
The upper age limit for the WHM Visa would be raised to 35 years for many countries.
Season Workers may be allowed to stay in the country for an additional 3 months if they work in the agriculture sector.
As per SBS, easing restrictions on the WHM Visa may have a widespread effect. This Visa sees 419,000 backpackers come to Australia each year. These backpackers spend over 920 million in the regional areas of Australia.
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