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YHA welcomes Working Holiday Maker visa reforms

YHA Australia welcomes a Government announcement with initiatives to encourage more Working Holiday Makers to visit under reciprocal cultural exchange schemes.


Julian Ledger, Previous CEO of YHA Australia, said:

“The number of young people coming to Australia on working holidays has steadily declined over the past five years. Young people have choice and Australia must compete with other destinations to attract these visitors. Working Holiday Makers stay longer than most tourists, see more of Australia, and spend most of what they earn here on travel around the country.”

YHA Australia supports further regulatory reform, and advocates for a standard set of conditions for all participating working holiday countries (to align the current visa sub-classes 417 and 462 for simplicity).

The reforms announced today include:

  • Working holiday makers (on visa sub-classes 417 and 462) will be able to avail of a third year visa if from 1 July 2019 they undertake 6 months of specified work (primarily agricultural) in specified regional areas during a second year visa;
  • Working holiday makers (on visa sub-classes 417 and 462) will be able to work for 12 months with one employer in the same location if working in agriculture (currently only for 6 months);
  • Caps will be lifted for the number of young visitors from some countries coming to Australia (on visa sub-class 462);
  • Work and Holiday Makers on visa sub-class 462 will be able to work anywhere in Australia in agriculture work for 3 months to obtain a second year visa (currently only in if in Northern Australia).

For full details see here. 

Tourism Australia will also receive additional funding to promote Australia as a vibrant destination for backpackers and Working Holiday Makers.

YHA embraces these initiatives as they should encourage more young working holiday makers to visit Australia and work in regional areas across the country. Working holidays are an education in themselves, helping to develop cultural knowledge, international understanding, and in non-English speakers, language skills. 

Australia currently has reciprocal Working Holiday Maker programs with 41 countries (of which only four are English-speaking nations) - see here

YHA is a not-for-profit membership-based organisation, and part of the world's largest budget accommodation network, Hostelling International, with over 4,000 properties in 60 countries, including 75 unique places to stay in Australia.

Media note: For more information, please contact Silke Kerwick at YHA Australia, ph: (02) 9261 1111.

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YHA acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia. We acknowledge and pay our respects to Elders past, present, emerging and the extended Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island community.