Australia visa applications hit record highs

Both visitor categories and working holiday categories of Australia visa showed a significant increase in interest in the six months to December 2012, including a 30% increase in visa applications.

A DIAC spokesperson said the figures evidenced Australia's position at the forefront of the world tourism industry, particularly in the face of the strong Australian dollar.

"Despite the high value of the Australian dollar, our strong economy and unique natural and cultural attractions have drawn a record high number of international visitors and working holiday makers," said the spokesperson.

Australia granted almost two million visitor visas between July and December 2012, an almost 6% increase on the same period in the year before; the majority of the increase came from Asia, with visitors from China and Singapore continuing to arrive in their thousands.

In the working holiday programs, the UK continues to be the largest source of working holiday makers, with over 24,000 alone in the six month period. Australia continues to expand its working holiday programs and this can be seen in the 23.2 increase in working holiday and work and holiday visa grants.

The DIAC spokesperson said higher numbers of visitors to Australian translated into valuable economic benefits for Australia, strengthening the labour market and reinforcing the country's already robust economy.

"The Australian labour market benefits from increased numbers of tourists and working holiday makers."

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people lodge applications with the Australian Embassy.