The Department of Immigration has announced that foreign nationals from Spain and Israel will now have greater access to the Work and Holiday Maker (subclass 462) visa program.
The new changes—which came into effect on 28 December—have greatly increased the number of places available under the WHM program, with Spanish nationals now having access to 3,400 per year, more than double the previous amount.
The number of visas made available to Israeli nationals has also been increased significantly, going from 500 per year to 2,500.
The Immigration Minister, David Coleman, has issued a press release explaining that the increase in places is due to a number of new initiatives that were put in place in November 2018 as a way of addressing the skill shortage currently afflicting the agricultural industry.
As part of the announcement, Coleman also stated that the number of WHM places made available to Peruvian nationals will increase from 100 to 1,500, as of 2 January 2019.
“These additional places will allow thousands more young people from Spain and Israel each year to enjoy a 12-month holiday in Australia, during which they may undertake short-term work and study,” Coleman said.
“This arrangement will provide additional support to regional Australia by encouraging more workers to the areas that need them. While on their first visa, both Spanish and Israeli nationals may undertake specified work in regional areas to become eligible for a second Work and Holiday visa and extend their stay.”
“From 1 July 2019, the option of a third-year stay will also be available to them if they undertake six months of regional work in their second year in Australia,” he said.
Australia’s Working Holiday Maker program currently has visa arrangements in place with 42 countries. The Department of Immigration has confirmed that the government is in discussion with a number of other countries concerning further cap increases to the WHM visa.
Presently, the WHM program requires first-time applicants to hold or be studying towards a tertiary qualification, as well as having a functional level of English.
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