Regional Australia to benefit from visa expansion

In yet another win for regional Australia, the Liberal National Federal Government will increase the number of annual places available under the Work and Holiday visa program from 500 to 2,000.

Minister for Regional Services, Decentralisation and Local Government, Mark Coulton has welcomed an announcement to expand Work and Holiday visa arrangements for young Thai nationals, saying it will help satisfy serious workforce demand in regional areas.

“By expanding this successful programme to more young people we are helping regional areas access the workforce they need to produce and grow their economies,” Minister Coulton said.

“This is another example of the Coalition Government delivering improved economic opportunities to regional Australia and ties in with our focus on decentralising government and the economy.

“By prioritising benefits for regional areas, we are ensuring a stronger, more resilient economic future – with more jobs – both for these regions and for the nation as a whole.

“This Liberal and National Government knows that when our regional economies are strong, the nation is strong.”

Minister Coulton said Thai nationals who undertake three months of specified work in a regional area are eligible to apply for a second Work and Holiday visa.

From January, second year visa holders can also apply for a third year WHM visa if they carry out an additional six months specified work in regional areas during their second year.

“Increasing these numbers, and offering the third year stay option means regional areas will be able to find more workers for a range of industries and boost tourism in regional Australia,” he said.

“Businesses throughout regional Australia struggle to fill the positions they have vacant and by expanding this programme, we are helping alleviate labour strains so regional communities can get on with what they do best - producing the wealth our nation thrives on.”

Australia currently has Work and Holiday arrangements in place with 44 countries.

The start date of the new cap will be published on the Department’s website once agreed.

More information on the Work and Holiday visa program is available at www.homeaffairs.gov.au