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Australia welcomes return of international students and backpackers

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Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, Alex Hawke MP, today announced strong arrival figures for International Students and Working Holiday Makers in recent weeks.

“Australia is open for business. We are welcoming back increasing numbers of International Students, Backpackers, and Skilled migrants,” Minister Hawke said.

“Visa application rates have surged in the last week, since the Government’s announcement of a special Visa Application Charge (VAC) refund window for people who travel and arrive in Australia over the coming weeks,” he said.

“We are building back healthy pipelines of Working Holiday Makers, and we are processing these visas very quickly. The government is seeing a surge in demand from backpackers, and we are ready to welcome them to our shores,” he said.

“Confidence in Australia’s economic recovery is extremely strong. Unemployment is at record lows, industry and government are providing incentives for workers to come to Australia, and we are ready to meet the demand. We all have a role to play in the economic recovery, filling vital skills shortages, and the government is providing these incentives to encourage skilled workers to come to Australia now and fulfil these opportunities and participate in the phenomenal economic recovery that we are seeing in Australia right now,” he said.

“There are more jobs now available in Australia than before the COVID-19-Pandemic, and there are still many more places available to Backpackers and Students that we are ready to fill, so come on down,” Minister Hawke said.

International Students

Australia is proud to have welcomed the arrival of almost 7,000 International Students in the last week alone.

From 24 to 30 January, we have witnessed the strong return of International Students to our shores – with almost 7,000 International Students making the journey to Australia ahead of course commencement at Australian campuses right around the nation.

Since late November 2020, a total of 56,000 International Students have arrived in Australia.

In recent months, demand for Australian study visas has been particularly strong, with more than 50,000 overseas student visa lodgements since late 2021.

Visa grants to International Students are flowing as a result of the Minister directing the Department to allocate additional resources to process International Students’ visas.

Working Holiday Makers

There was a 17% increase in the arrival of Working Holiday Makers in the last week.

From 24 to 30 January, the number of Working Holiday Maker visa (subclass 417 and 462) applications has surged – with 2,600 visa applications lodged by overseas backpackers.

A total of 28,000 Working Holiday Maker visas have been approved in the last few months since the reopening of international borders to fully vaccinated skilled workers, International Students and Working Holiday Makers. It is in line with the National Plan to safely reopen Australia.

The Morrison Government has signed a number of new and increased Working Holiday Maker arrangements with partner countries, in recent years, with a total of 45 partner countries or regions now participating in the program.

Refunds of Visa Application Charges

Fully vaccinated International Students and Working Holiday Makers have been encouraged to return to Australia to commence studies via a new Visa Application Charge (VAC) refund window for eligible travellers. The visa holders are essential to support Australia’s economic recovery.

Working Holiday Maker visa holders (subclasses 417 or 462) outside Australia and arriving in Australia between 19 January 2022 and 19 April 2022 are eligible for a VAC refund.

Student visa holders outside Australia who arrive in Australia between 19 January 2022 and 19 March 2022 are eligible for a VAC refund.

Further information about refunds is available online.

Attracting more International Students and Working Holiday Makers

These initiatives are proudly supported by a new $7 million marketing campaign to attract young people from overseas to work and holiday in Australia.

The Work and Play the Aussie Way campaign encourages the uptake of Working Holiday Maker visas in the United Kingdom, Europe, Japan and the Republic of Korea by giving young travellers a glimpse of the adventures that await them while working and travelling Australia.

Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) is also running a campaign to attract more international students. 

Feature photo supplied by Lawson College


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