Backpackers can extend stay by volunteering in fire-ravaged communities as visa conditions are relaxed
Visa conditions relaxed for backpackers in Australia who hold working holiday visas may now be able to stay longer if they help out on farms that were affected by the bushfires.
Australia’s acting minister for immigration Alan Tudge says the new rules are about getting “as many boots on the ground as they need”. The new rules have been introduced with immediate effect.
“These hard-working Australians have been hit by the recent bushfires, but from today they can employ backpackers for six months longer, helping them at a critical time in the recovery effort, it means working holiday makers can help rebuild homes, fences and farms, they can get onto properties and help with demolition, land clearing, and repairing dams, roads and railways.”
Under the current working holiday & work and holiday systems, to be eligible for a second-year visa, backpackers must do 88 days of regional work in specific regions. Volunteer work is not counted and employers can only take on the same backpacker for six months.
Under the new plans, volunteer work in regions affected by the bushfires for periods of up to a year will now count towards a second and third-year visa. The changes are designed to encourage working holidaymakers to live and work in disaster zones across Australia. There currently 45 communities class as disaster areas.
More than 200,000 working holiday visas were issued last year to people aged between 18 and 30 years.
If you would like more information about an Australian visa, please fill in our initial Online Assessment form to see if you qualify. You can book a face-2-face appointment, telephone or Skype with one of our Register Migrations Agents through our online booking calendar.