AUSTRALIA: Changes for Working Holiday Makers & DIBP Annual Report

Changes to Benefit Working Holiday Makers and Companies in Australia’s North

From 21st November, Working Holiday (subclass 417) and Work and Holiday (subclass 462) visa holders employed in certain high demand industries in northern Australia will be able to apply to work for a single employer for up to 12 months instead of the usual six months.
The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Peter Dutton, has said that the new provisions will benefit the agricultural and tourism sectors significantly and also apply to workers in aged and disability care, construction and mining.
The government has advised that further changes to be implemented in 2016 will allow Work and Holiday (subclass 462) visa holders who have worked for at least three months in tourism or agriculture in Northern Australia to extend their stay in Australia by an additional 12 months.
According to Mr Dutton, “These changes create a significant incentive for young travellers who wish to experience Australia to visit and work in northern Australia” and will “help to unlock the immense potential of Australia”s North.”
Read the full media release here

DIBP Annual Report 2014-15

The Department of Immigration”s annual report for 2014-15 has been released. A summary of the key 457 programme statistics is provided below. 

• Sponsorship applications increased by 20.8%

• Nomination applications increased by 11.5%

• The top three countries for 457 visas were India (24.3%), UK (17.2%) and China (6.9%)

• As of 30 June 2015 there were 188,000 457 visa holders in Australia, a fall of 1.3% from 2013-2014

• As of 30 June 2015, 213 labour agreements were in place

• 2262 sponsor monitoring events occurred which led to 569 infringement and breach notices and 321 sanctions

• Two cases were identified as suitable for civil penalty applications and proceedings were taken in the Federal Court for breach of sponsorship obligations.

The key areas of reform to the 457 programme that were implemented during the last financial year include: 

• Increasing the length of sponsorship periods to five years for established businesses and to 18 months for new businesses

• Providing greater flexibility in meeting the English language requirements

• Extending the period in which sponsors can notify the Department of certain events to 28 calendar days.

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection Annual Report 2014-15 is available here

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