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Working Holiday Maker visa changes a winner for Whitsundays tourism.

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Media Release

Working Holiday Maker visa changes a winner for Whitsundays tourism

03 May 2006

More overseas backpackers are set to be enticed to the Whitsundays under an expansion to the Working Holiday Maker scheme announced today by Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs Amanda Vanstone.

"They are expected to head north to take advantage of changes enabling them to apply for a second working holiday visa after they have spent three months working in primary industries like fishing, pearling and agriculture," Senator Vanstone said.

"All working holiday makers will also be allowed to work for the same employer for six months, instead of three months, adding stability to the Far North tourist workforce.

"And they can study in Australia for four months instead of the current three months.

"These changes will mean a win-win situation for employers and working holiday makers and will help boost the Australian economy.

"Working holiday makers often have highly sought-after skills and can make a positive long-term contribution to the economy.

"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