On the 5th November 2018, the Australian Government announced changes to the Working Holiday Maker (WHM) visa program to support regional and rural communities.
The key focus is on providing farmers with immediate access to workers in key parts of regional Australia. The changes aim to increase the number of working holiday makers available for seasonal work. This will be done by increasing the length of time someone can work for an employer to 12 months and then adding the incentive of a third-year visa.
So, what are the changes?
- Expanding the regional areas where subclass 462-visa holders can work in agriculture (plant and animal cultivation) to qualify for a second year of stay in Australia. Currently only those who work in Northern Australia are eligible.
- Increasing the period in which subclass 417 and 462 visa holders can stay with the same agricultural (plant and animal cultivation) employer, from 6 to 12 months.
- The option of a third-year for subclass 417 and 462 visa holders who, after 1 July 2019, undertake 6-months of specified work in a specified regional area during their second year.
- Over the coming weeks, offering an increase in the annual caps to several countries that participate in the subclass 462 visa program.
- Increase the eligible age for subclass 417 visa applicants from Canada and Ireland to 35.
What areas of Australia will be added to the expanded regions?
From 5 November 2018, this will be extended to regional areas in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia, and all of the Northern Territory, South Australia, and Tasmania.
Are any changes being made to the subclass 462 Northern Australia initiatives?
No change is being made to the existing Northern Australia concessions:
- Subclass 417 & 462 visa holders can continue to work with one employer in northern Australia for up to 12 months in Aged & Disability Care; Agriculture; Construction; Mining; and Tourism & Hospitality
- Subclass 462 visa holders can continue to complete specified work in northern Australia in tourism and hospitality or agriculture, forestry and fishing industries, to become eligible for a second-year visa.
Need more information on your situation?
If you are still unsure about any of the details above or have a question about other visa options, please get in touch here. We offer a totally free assessment for all clients. We look forward to hearing from you.