Upcoming changes to the Government’s Working Holiday Maker (WHM) program will help fill a critical skills shortage in regional and remote Australia.
Federal Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey said businesses all over his electorate were struggling to find staff, but the shortages are particularly acute in the more remote regions and especially in the hospitality and tourism sectors
“These regulatory changes will allow WHM visa holders (a twelve month visa) working in the tourism and hospitality sectors in Northern, remote and very remote areas of Australia to count hospitality and tourism as “specified work”, making them eligible for a second or third WHM visa,” Mr Ramsey said.
”This option will be available to WHM’s who lodge their applications from March 2022 and will take into account work undertaken in the tourism and hospitality sectors in these areas from today.
“The shortage of workforce in remote Australia preceeds COVID-19 and these permanent changes will add more lon-term benefit when the backpackers return in numbers.
“In an effort to bring about change I lodged a submission with the Joint Standing Committee on Migration inquiry into the Working Holiday Maker program and I thank the other members whose electorates encompass remote Australia for their support in doing so.
“My submission recommended the outcome we have been presented with today and I thank that committee which unanimously endorsed them.
“Working Holiday Makers make an enormous contribution to our economy and I look forward to them coming back in numbers.”
Eligible current and former WHMs in Australia will also be able to apply for a replacement WHM visa with nil Visa Application Charge (VAC) from March 2022, providing another opportunity to meet the specified work requirements for a subsequent WHM visa.
Former WHM visa holders who have transitioned to another visa, such as the COVID-19 Pandemic Event visa, may also be eligible to apply for a nil VAC replacement WHM visa.
As announced on 8 May 2021, tourism and hospitality has been added to the list of COVID-19 critical sectors. This allows all WHMs employed in the tourism and hospitality sector to work longer than six months for one employer without requesting permission and gives more flexibility to tourism and hospitality employers to meet their workforce needs.
Media Contact- Leonie Lloyd-Smith 041782752
June 24, 2021