Working Holiday Visas on the Increase

Source: Backpacker Trade News

The number of young people applying for working holiday visas has increased, according to figures released by the Department of Immigration’s Working Holiday Visa report.

The number of Working Holiday (subclass 417) Visa applications granted in 2011, compared to the previous year is up 11.4 per cent. While the number of second year visas granted during the same period is up 34.5 per cent compared to 2010.

The biggest rise in working holiday visas came from Hong Kong, with a 54.9 per cent increase, followed by Taiwan with a 43.1 per cent increase on the previous year.

Norway saw the biggest drop in visa applications, with a decrease of 30.4 per cent on 2010′s figures.

Destination NSW announced that 72.5 percent of the total 241,000 working tourists coming to Australia settled in New South Wales.

“New South Wales received 174,900 working holiday visitors, spending 13.1 million nights in the state and contributing $751 million in expenditure,” Destination NSW chief executive officer Sandra Chipchase said.

“The youth market represents strong short-term potential for tourism in Australia, as well as longer term potential through repeat visitation and spreading the message by word-of-mouth and social networking,” Ms Chipchase added.

At the recent Australian Youth Tourism Exchange (AYTE) it was proposed that the Australian government change the requirements for the Working Holiday Visa.

“Australia stands to make significant economic gains through simple adjustments to the eligibility settings for this visa – benefits that would extend throughout Australia and to many sectors of the economy,” said ATEC managing director Felicia Mariani.

“ATEC is strongly advocating for the extension of the regional classification to the tourism industry – allowing WHV holders to extend their visa by 12 months after completing 88 days of work in a regional area and this has benefits that go beyond attracting more young travellers.”

To view the Department of Immigration’s visa statistics, click here.