Friction between Australia’s Federal Government and the country’s tourism industry about the working holiday maker visa is due to a serious staff shortage currently affecting businesses. Business leaders in the tourism sector are demanding an immediate visa solution to ease the staffing crisis that’s threatening to bring the industry to a standstill during its busiest time of year.
With local companies crumbling under the pressure of peak period demand, industry leaders are demanding that new working holiday maker visa rules, aimed at tackling staff shortages in Northern Australia, should be extended to Tasmania as a matter of urgency.
Under the new rules, introduced as part of a Federal Government scheme, working holiday maker visa holders in Australia’s Northern Territories can work longer for one employer and will be able to count working in hospitality jobs towards a visa extension.
Under the usual Australian working holidaymaker rules you can only work for one employer for a maximum of six months. Also, a visa extension for a second year is usually only possible if you have worked for three months in a particular area of work as specified by Australian immigration.
In Tasmania, working holiday maker visa holders are only permitted to remain with a one employer for a maximum of six months. In addition to be able to extend their stay they are required to work in an industry sector such as fruit picking. This is the only way they are able to extend a working holiday maker visa into a second year.
Industry commentators have described the current labour shortages as ‘the worst they have encountered’ and they expect that the problem will become worse. They estimate that by 2020, 8,000 vacancies will need to be filled.