03 July 2008

New Australia visa extension for backpacking builders and construction workers

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On the 2nd of July, the Australian government announced its amendments to the working holiday visa program for overseas travellers. New legislation introduced now allows working holiday visa holders who have worked in the construction industry in regional Australia for at least three months of their initial year-long working holiday visa will then have the option to extend their stay for an additional year’s residence in Australia.

An Australian working holiday visa entitles workers aged between 18-30 to enjoy a year working and living in Australia.  The Government looks to support the construction industry in regional Australia by applying new conditions to the Australian working visa, allowing working holiday makers who have worked for at least three months to apply for a second working holiday visa.

This scheme follows the success of the initial extended visa programme, in which the Australian Government encouraged working holidaymakers to engage in seasonal work while in Australia.  The government did so by allowing Australian working holiday visa holders to apply for a one year extension, provided they worked three months or more for a primary producer in regional Australia while on their initial working holiday.

The system is still in operation, with an expected 12,000 extended visas expected to be granted in the 2007-08 period.

With hopes that the new extended visa for regional construction workers will be just as successful, regional Australia could have the helping hands of thousands of extra workers.  It will also give British builders and construction workers aged between 18 and 30 the chance to get a taste of life Down Under for up to two years.

“This measure will further boost the number of people coming to Australia on working holiday visas to work, play and spend money,” said Senator Chris Evans.  “We are seeing a record backpacker program this year, which is great for businesses, especially in regional Australia, and good news for Australia’s tourism industries.”

According to the Government, the past decade has seen the number of working holiday makers in the country more than double, most of whom are arriving from the UK and New Zealand.  The new changes, which are now in effect, will draw many more backpackers to the parts of Australia that give the country much of its essence.

Tom Blackett, Spokesperson for the Australian Visa Bureau commented: “A wide array of employment opportunities awaits the modern Australian backpacker working in Australia.  From hospitality and employment work to uniquely Australian jobs like farm-hand and Jackaroo ranch worker in the Outback, the possibilities are almost endless.  However, one of the most popular working holidaymaker industries has always been the construction sector.

“The Government’s new commitment to keep willing working holiday visa holders in Oz is a great sign, as well as a shrewd way to help address the current skills shortage of builders that the sector is experiencing.  Construction work is one of the most popular occupations for backpackers, and with reports indicating the need for building workers to support Australian infrastructure, now is a great time for British working holiday makers to take an online Australian visa application and see if they could qualify for up to two years Down Under.”

Article by Jessica Bird, Australian Visa Bureau 

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent visa and migration consulting firm, specialising in arranging visas for British and Irish nationals looking to live, work and travel by gaining an Australia visa. For further information, visit visabureau.com/australia.

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