Within the last couple of months, the Government has announced changes to the Working Holiday Maker (WHM) visa program, which covers both Working Holiday Subclass 417 and Work and Holiday Subclass 462 visas.
The stated objective of the changes is to support regional and rural communities in addressing seasonal work shortages. Changes to the WHM visa program include:
- From 5 November 2018, expanding the regional areas where Work and Holiday (462) visa holders can work in agriculture (plant and animal cultivation) to qualify for a second year of stay in Australia. Currently only those who work in Northern Australia are eligible.
- From 5 November 2018, increasing the period in which Working Holiday (417) and Work and Holiday (462) visa holders can stay with the same agricultural (plant and animal cultivation) employer, from 6 to 12 months.
- The option of a third year for visa holders who, after 1 July 2019, undertake 6 months of specified work in a specified regional area during their second year.
- Increasing the annual caps to a number of countries that participate in the Work and Holiday (462) visa program. Already the annual cap for applicants from Spain has increased from 1,500 to 3,400, from Israel 500 to 2,500, and from Peru 100 to 1,500.
Increase the eligible age for Working Holiday (417) visa applicants from Canada and Ireland to 35 years.
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