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Australian government offers incentives to returning Student and Working Holiday Maker visa holders

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The Australian government has announced a series of visa measures to incentivise fully vaccinated Student and Working Holiday Maker visa holders to return to the country as soon as possible. 

In a statement issued by the office of Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affiars Alex Hawke, the move is aimed at helping address current workforce shortages caused by COVID-19 pandemic. 

Refunds of Visa Application Charges

Working Holiday Maker visa holders who are currently offshore and come to Australia during the next 12 weeks will be eligible for a refund of their Visa Application Charge.

Any Student visa holder who is currently offshore and comes to Australia over the next eight weeks will be eligible for a refund of their Visa Application Charge.

The current Visa Application Charge for a student is $630, and for a Working Holiday Maker, it is $495.

These changes will also apply for new applications, which the government said will be processed quickly so applicants can come to Australia during the refund window.

The government hopes these changes will generate new interest in Australia and new visa applications. Such changes will also provide an incentive for existing offshore visa holders to bring forward their travel, the

The provision of refunds and priority visa processing, together with a Tourism Australia advertising campaign, are expected to generate fresh interest in Australia from students and Working Holiday Makers who contribute greatly to the Australian economy and fill vital skills gaps.

International Student – Working Hours Flexibility

The Morrison Government has allowed Student visa holders to work additional hours in critical sectors to support the Australian businesses during the pandemic. 

Due to current workforce shortages, the government is temporarily extending this arrangement by removing the limit on Student visa holders’ working hours across all sectors of the economy.

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This measure takes effect immediately for all ongoing students and new student arrivals who start a job before their course commencement and will be reviewed in April 2022.

Working Holiday Makers – Employer Flexibility

In addition, effective immediately and until the end of 2022, there will be no limit on the length of time Working Holiday Makers can work for the same employer.

The above measures are temporary and designed to provide immediate assistance to Australian businesses that are currently facing critical workforce shortages to enable them to continue delivering goods and services to the community.

There are currently around 150,000 Student and 23,500 Working Holiday Maker visa holders offshore.

All international arrivals must be fully vaccinated or hold a valid medical exemption.

Further details will be available on the Department of Home Affairs website.


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