In a win-win for working holidaymakers and Australian farmers, the Australian government has just announced it will allow certain working holidaymaker (WHM) visa holders to stay in Australia for three years, increase the number of working holidaymaker visas, and make changes to the Seasonal Workers Program.

Conditions will apply to both the WHM and Seasonal Workers visa groups, and these will require successful applicants to work for periods in agricultural areas across Australia under set criteria.

The changes are designed to benefit both visa applicants and Australian farmers struggling with chronic labour shortages according to the joint announcement on November 5 by deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, who is also the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development; Minister for Immigration Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs David Coleman; and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud.

So, what are the proposed changes and how will they affect your application for a Work and Holiday Maker Visa or a visa under the Seasonal Worker Program.

Changes to Working Holiday Maker Visas:

  • Work and Holiday makers (subclass 462) will be able to work in regional plant and animal cultivation in an increased number of identified priority areas to become eligible for a second visa. (see the new extended list here)
  • WHM (subclass 417 and 462) visa holders may work with the same agricultural employer from up to 12 months, an extension of six months on current requirements.
  • From July 1, 2019 onwards, WHM (subclasses 417 and 462) visa holders who complete six months of regional work in the second year may apply for a third-year visa option.
  • The Australian Government will increase the number of places available for Work and Holiday Maker program (subclass 462) by lifting annual caps available to several countries participating in the subclass 462 visa program. Negotiations are ongoing with the Australian Government and the 23 countries in this visa subclass and an announcement is expected in coming weeks.
  • These changes require a strict workforce test to be applied to ensure Australian workers are given the first opportunity for work.

Note: Countries in Sub-class 417 include: Belgium, Canada, Republic of Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China (including British National Overseas passport holders), Republic of Ireland, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Taiwan, and United Kingdom.

Countries in Sub-class 462 include:

Argentina, Austria, Chile, People’s Republic of China, Czech Republic, Hungary, Indonesia, Israel, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Peru, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, USA, and Uruguay and Vietnam.

Why not stay longerĀ 

The Immigration Gurus specialise in creating pathway plans to assist in either gaining that extra year or using your extra year to assist in long term permanent residency. Get in contact with the Gurus today for all of your visa assistance.