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More muscle to help WA's Mid West in expanded Working Holiday Maker scheme.



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Senator Amanda Vanstone MINISTER FOR IMMIGRATION AND MULTICULTURAL AFFAIRS

Media Release

More muscle to help WA's Mid West in expanded Working Holiday Maker scheme

03 May 2006

The Mid West's croppers will benefit from changes to the Working Holiday Maker scheme announced today by Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs Amanda Vanstone.

From July, overseas backpackers who spend three months working in the region's primary industries - such as livestock and cropping - will be able to apply for a second 12-month working holiday visa.

All working holiday makers will also be allowed to work for the same employer for an extra three months and they can study in Australia for four months instead of the current three.

"The Mid West is one of Australia's prime agricultural belts. Crops are worth about $390 million annually to the region," Senator Vanstone said.

"Working holiday makers often have highly sought-after skills and can make a positive long-term contribution to the economy while working for local farmers and businesses.

"The expansion of the scheme follows successful changes to the working holiday maker visa in November 2005, which enabled people who spent three months doing seasonal harvest work in regional Australia to become eligible for a second visa.

"More than 1500 working holiday makers applied between November and January to stay an extra year in Australia."

Senator Vanstone said both employers and working holiday makers would benefit from the rule change allowing working holiday makers to spend longer in the one job.

"It will enable them to retain trained staff for longer and allow working holiday makers to apply for jobs that require a stay of longer than three months," the Minister added.

Minister's media contact: 0417 445 886