The Australian government has announced some major changes in Australian Visa for Working Holiday Visa category. The Government will reduce tax for working holidaymakers (WHM) in Australia as well as the visa application fee!
The new tax rate of 19 percent on income up to AUD 37,000 will be effective from 1 January 2017. Any increment in income beyond this point will incur normal marginal tax rates. Treasurer Scott Morrison made this public on 27 September 2016.
This is a big boost for the country’s Working Holiday Maker program, in which men and women aged 18 – 30, who hold passports from eligible countries, can apply for a 12-month Australian visa to work and travel in Australia. In certain circumstances, they may also be able to extend their visas. For details about Australian Visa and Work Holiday program, see Working in Australia.
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Another relief for the young travelers is the reduction in the Australian visa fee, from AUD 440 to AUD 390. Apart from making Australia a more attractive destination, compared with countries like Canada, United Kingdom and New Zealand, the government also intends to encourage employers to employ working holiday visa holders for 12 months.
Mr. Scott Morrison mentioned, “We will introduce more flexible arrangements to benefit working holiday makers and industry, allowing an employer with premises in different regions to employ a WHM for 12 months, with the WHM working up to six months in each region. In addition, we will task Tourism Australia to promote Australia to potential working holiday makers through an AUD 10 million global youth targeted advertising campaign.”
Many bodies, including the country’s major English Language Training (ELT) body, English Australia, are welcoming the changes working holiday visa. These travelers have accounted for 10–15 percent of total English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) enrollment in Australia over the past three years.
English Australia has shown a strong link between working holidaymakers in Australia and enrollment in ELT courses. Most of them come from Japan, Taiwan and South Korea. This Australian visa policy is looking to attract holidaymakers enrolling in English language courses from other countries too.
However, not all countries are eligible to apply for Working Holiday Visa. This Australian visa category of is limited to the residents holding a valid passport of the following countries only, as listed on Department of Immigration, Australia.
Even though this overall policy is still a tax burden on the working holidaymakers, particularly that it eliminates the previous tax-free limit on the first AUD 18,000 earned, this move is a good one. Combined with the fact that Australia is a great destination for all sorts of travelers, due to its easygoing culture and love for the outdoors, this seems like a win-win situation for the country.