Increase in working holiday visas, most notably from China

by Ray Clancy on March 2, 2012

in Australia Immigration

Statistics show more working holiday visas are being granted

There has been an increase in the number of working holiday visas being granted, most notably to young people from China and Taiwan, the latest published statistics show.

In the six months to 31 December 2011, the Working Holiday visa programme grew by 11.4%, a continued return to positive growth from the decline experienced in 2009/10, the figures from the Department if Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) shows.

There was a massive 54.9% growth in visas for Hong Kong and China and a 43.1% increase for Taiwan. Italy and Ireland, both countries with high unemployment and sluggish economies, also say significant increases, up 30% and 24.8% respectively. And Japan saw an increase of 21.2%.

The Netherlands had fewer visa granted, down 7.5%, and Canada also saw a decrease of 2.7%.

In the same period the second Working Holiday visa programme also grew, up by 34.5%. The DIAC said that this is largely the result of a flow on effect from the positive growth experienced by the first Working Holiday visa programme in 2010/11.

‘There is a direct but delayed flow on relationship between the rate of first Working Holiday visa grants and the rate of second Working Holiday visa grants, but it usually takes 12 to 18 months to be reflected in the data. Thus, where there has been an increase or decrease in the first Working Holiday visa grants, a similar but delayed trend will follow in second Working Holiday visa grants,’ a spokesman explained.

Overall there has been a continued healthy growth of the programme following the uncharacteristic decline in visa grants experienced in 2009/10. With the exception of 2009/10, the programme has steadily grown each year for the last decade. Growth is expected to continue for the foreseeable future.

Together the Work and Holiday visa programme grew by 1.7%. The most notable visa grant growth has been seen within the country caseloads of Indonesia, up 43.9%, and Chile, up 25.4%. As at 31 December 2011, there were 130,612 Working Holiday visa holders in Australia, combined first and second visas.

There has also been an increase in visitor visas. The latest figures show that for the period ending 30 September 2011 there was an 11.5% increase in business visitor visa applications compared to the same quarter in 2010.

The largest increase was in Business short Stay subclass 456 visa applications, up 16.8, the highest number of subclass 456 lodgements for this quarter in the last five years.

But there was a decrease in visitor visa grants of 4.3% in the September 2011 quarter compared with the same period in 2010. A spokesman said that this is largely due to weaker tourist demand from Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Malaysia and South Korea.

There were 26,389 visas granted under the Approved Destination Status (ADS) scheme during the September 2011 quarter, the highest number of visas granted under the ADS scheme for this quarter in the last four years.

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