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First the backpacker tax, now working holiday-makers in retreat, but is that so!

February 22nd, 2017 | | industry

Working holiday-maker applications are down by more than 4600 in the wake of the backpacker tax debacle, new figures show. But early indications suggest Tourism Australia’s $10 million tourism, campaign geared at attracting backpackers to Australia, might be turning the tide, with a reported 60% increase in visa sales from the United Kingdom.

Department of Immigration figures show 104,250 applications for 417 visas were received between June and December last year — down from the 108,898 received for the same period in 2015.

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Applications for 462 visas — the second-year visa backpackers can apply for after completing three months’ regional work — were up by 1500, from 10,908 in June-December 2015, to 12,412.

National Farmers’ Federation workplace relations manager Sarah McKinnon said the numbers were as expected, given the negative publicity debate the backpacker tax attracted, and were in line with the downward trend in backpacker arrivals over recent years.

Immigration figures show working holiday-maker numbers have dropped by about 12,000 each year since 2013. Farm lobbies say agriculture is generally about 10,000 short of the casual workers needed.

“One to watch will be how many 417 visa holders transition into a second-year visa — if there’s a drop it means they’re not staying,” Ms McKinnon said. “But I don’t think that will be the case — having reached a resolution (on the tax rate), that’s a pretty good outcome and I don’t think it’s a disincentive.”

Trade and Tourism Minister Steve Ciobo said an STA Travel report from the UK showed a 16 per cent increase in flights booked and 60 per cent increase in working holiday visa sales. (Oh, so that 60% figure quoted earlier only relates to STA visa sales, not ALL visa sales. Bearing in mind that most of the TA support in the UK is being directed to STA. Sorry Minister Ciobo but lets wait for the ‘real’ stats).

Do you agree, will this campaign effectively nullify all the negative publicity and are we on the road back to positive growth in visa applications and grants? Have you say

Sourced and added to by Chris Harrison

Source: Weekly Times





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