Working holiday visa changes on the horizon for Australia?

by Tom 15/12/2009 18:47:00

Adrenaline activities were cited as
one way to attract more working
holiday travellers to Australia.

It's already the top destination for backpacking British tourists, but there are signs that Australia could extend even more of a welcome to travellers wanting to explore the land Down Under on a working holiday visa.

Research from the Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre (STCRC) recently identified international students in Australia as a large and lucrative market, identifying a new short-term working holiday visa as a possible solution to help students live and work in Australia for a little while longer after they've completed their studies (not to mention letting Australia reap the benefits of their custom!)

The potential changes aren't just limited to international students though, with STCRC also recommending the following:

  • Changing the Australia visa conditions to allow working holidaymakers to extend their visa, as well as a reduction in the required working hours to do so;
  • The development of technology centres for "techpackers";
  • New high-energy adrenaline experiences; AND
  • An expansion of healthy lifestyle opportunities in regional centres.

While changes to visa conditions to allow more working holidaymakers to extend their visa is a particularly encouraging proposal, it was the 'high-energy adrenaline experiences' which caught my eye, with example activities given as skydiving, bungee jumping, skiing, rafting, diving, surfing and trekking.

It looks like it might be a case of trying to 'keep up with the Kiwis', as the top five locations listed as delivering such experiences had New Zealand in first place with 42%, followed closely by Australia  at 36%, and then Africa (4%), Canada (3%) and South America (2%).

It'll be interesting seeing whether these strategies are implemented, as DIAC can be notoriously slow at introducing new legislation. However, even though it's still only at the ideas stage, it's encouraging to see Australia keen to maintain its place as a top destination for working holiday visa travellers.

- Tom Blackett is Online Editor for the Australian Visa Bureau

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

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