Will Australia still be “The Backpacker Destination”?

Australia is known as the most competitive “backpacker destination”. However, it is now in doubt if that will still be the case!

The Federal Government’s decision to tax working holiday makers 32.5c per $1 they earn will come into effect from 1 July, 2016. Previously there was no tax levied up to an income of AU$18,000. This decision is raising anger and concerns among the Tourist and Agricultural Industry. Farmers are worried that the tax will reduce the number of backpackers who choose to come to Australia in favour of countries that don’t have an equivalent tax. This is because the majority of the seasonal labour in Australia is travellers on a Working Holiday Visa. It will be disastrous for farmers if they don’t have enough workers to help harvest their crops at critical times.

The government is taking a “wait and see” approach in relation to the concerns about the new tax.

The Working Holiday Visa (Subclass 417) is a temporary visa for young people who want to holiday and work in Australia for up to a year. You might be able to get this visa if you:

  • Are at least 18 but not yet 31 years of age;
  • Do not have a dependent child accompanying you at any time during your stay in Australia; and
  • Have a passport from an eligible country:
      • Belgium
      • Canada
      • Republic of Cyprus
      • Denmark
      • Estonia
      • Finland
      • France
      • Germany
      • Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China (including British National Overseas passport holders)
      • Republic of Ireland
      • Italy
      • Japan
      • Republic of Korea
      • Malta
      • Netherlands
      • Norway
      • Sweden
      • Taiwan
      • United Kingdom.

Travellers on a Subclass 417 Visa can extend their visas for another year in Australia if they have worked for a period of 3 months in any regional part of Australia.

If you are interested in applying for a Working Holiday Visa or to find the most suitable visa for your circumstance, please contact our experienced migration lawyers on +61 7 3229 4027.