Details confirmed for backpackers to get second visa if they work in the north of Australia

by Ray Clancy on December 16, 2016

in Australia Immigration

Details of changes to working holiday maker, or backpackers as they are often known, visas have been revealed by the Australian department of Immigration.

In a bid to attract more young people to parts of Australia away from the south and east of the country those with a working holiday visa can get a second 12 month stay if they work for three months in the north of the country.

Uluru-Northern-AustraliaTo qualify for a second 12-month visa they will need to work in the tourism, hospitality, agriculture, forestry or fishing industries while they are in the country on their initial visa.

The chance to get another visa will depend on working in these industries in an area that includes all of the Northern Territory and the parts of Western Australia and Queensland above the tropic of Capricorn.

The jobs undertaken must be official, that is not cash in hand, and paid in accordance with Australia’s workplace laws. Applicants for a second visa will need to provide proof of wages paid.

It is hoped that the changes will benefit the agriculture and tourism sectors, which are highly seasonal, relying on working holiday visa holders to provide the labour flexibility they need in peak periods.

Officials also believe that it will mean that employers get more back from those working holiday maker visa holders that they have trained to undertake particular roles and the young people will benefit from the added work experience.

The change comes as part of an overall plan to boost investment and growth in the north of Australia as set out in a Government white paper published in 2015 on developing northern areas, which will also include transport and infrastructure improvements.

On top of this the region wants to attract more international visitors. Under a new plan it is hoped that numbers will increase to two million visitors from overseas by 2035. This means changes will also be made to make applying for a visa faster and easier with online lodging being rolled out in 2017.

It is also hopes that Designated Area Migration Agreements (DAMM) will expand and encourage more people to get jobs in the north and even stay permanently. They aim to provide the flexibility that regions need to respond to their own economic and labour market conditions.

DAMAs allow employers in areas experiencing skills and labour shortages to sponsor skilled and semi-skilled overseas workers, as long as they recruit Australians as a first priority. They can also be used to provide pathways to permanent residency for temporary skilled workers on 457 visas after two years employment in designated areas.

Australia’s first DAMA began in the Northern Territory in February 2014 allowing employers in the State to sponsor temporary workers including chefs, child care and aged care workers, office managers, and truck drivers.

The Western Australia Government is currently working with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and the Pilbara Regional Council on a proposed DAMA for the Pilbara region.

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