As Australia struggles to deal with labor shortages, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has appealed to international students and working holidaymakers to “come on down,” offering financial incentives to entice more international workers to the country.
Visa application expenses will be waived for international students and working holidaymakers who arrive in Australia starting today, Morrison announced.
- Prime Minister Scott Morrison has scrapped immigration fees for students and backpackers to meet severe labor shortages across Australia.
- Working holidaymakers will have their expenses waived for 12 weeks, while overseas students will have their fees waived for eight weeks.
- The federal government announced that the cap on foreign students working 40 hours a fortnight in industries with labor shortages will be lifted.
The said reforms were announced in order to help the country cope with manpower shortages caused by the omicron variant’s expansion.
As Morrison encouraged those with visas to visit Australia as soon as possible, international students will have their costs waived for eight weeks, while working holidaymakers will have their fees waived for 12 weeks.
The prime minister also advised parents to follow the advice of health experts and regulators, noting that one in every five students aged 5 to 11 had already been vaccinated in the first 10 days of the program.
This week, the number of children in this age group who have been vaccinated is projected to surpass 500,000.
According to the Home Affairs website, the Working Holiday Maker (WHM) program allows “young adults to have a 12-month holiday, during which they can undertake short-term work and study.”
International students are currently charged AU$630 in visa application fees while working holidaymakers are charged AU$495 .
Changes to application fees, according to Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, could make a significant difference in tackling the present-day worker shortage the country is swamped in.
Thousands of people have been forced to take time off work owing to COVID-19 infections, or have been compelled to self-isolate as close contact as a result of the virus’s rapid spread.
The government, Frydenberg added, wants to recruit an estimated 175,000 international students and working holidaymakers to the country, with the scheme costing AU$55 million.
Last week, the federal government declared that a 40-hour per fortnight employment cap for foreign students in industries with labor shortages will be lifted.
There are around 325,000 international students in Australia, with an estimated 150,000 still offshore, as well as 18,500 onshore and 23,500 offshore working holidaymakers.
Morrison stated that international students working and training in health and elderly care would be beneficial as the country continues to deal with the pandemic.
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