• Sat. May 27th, 2023

Travello boss’ ‘deep concern’ about Working Holiday Maker visa fee increase

The cost of a popular visa used by backpackers in Australia is about to get more expensive and it’s a move the boss of a youth travel company has described as “deeply concerning”.

The Working Holiday Maker program, which includes two different types of visas, allows young adults from more than 40 partner countries to spend 12 months in Australia and work or study. They can also apply for a second and third year.

In the second half of last year, a total of 111,620 Working Holiday Maker visas were granted, according to data from Home Affairs.

Applicants have to be aged between 18 and 30 at the time of their application, or 18 to 35 if they are from Canada, France, Ireland, Denmark and Italy. The visa is most popular with Brits.

While the application fee for each visa under the program – Working Holiday (subclass 417) and Work and Holiday (subclass 462) – is currently $510, from July it will be hiked up to $640.

Travello chief executive Ryan Hanly believes that this increase will have a big impact on backpackers and youth tourism.

“This move poses a significant challenge for young travellers and is disheartening for the youth tourism sector we actively support,” he told news.com.au.

“Our industry, including Travello, has persevered through unprecedented challenges caused by the pandemic.

“However, the decision to raise visa fees further complicates our efforts to rebuild and recover, creating additional financial burdens for young travellers seeking transformative experiences in Australia.”

Mr Hanly said the concern was that the increased fee could discourage young people from choosing Australia to spend their time abroad as they are a group sensitive to price.

“It risks impeding the dynamic cultural exchange and economic benefits that the Working Holiday Maker program offers,” he said.

A temporary 30 per cent cap increase to the number of work and holiday visas available to certain countries, which was introduced to entice working holiday makers during labour shortages, will also end on June 30.

“As we approach the end of the temporary increase in visa caps for the work and holiday program, our industry faces a double blow that limits opportunities for young travellers and hampers our ability to address crucial labour shortages,” Mr Hanly said.

Mr Hanly and co-founder Mark Cantoni founded the travel experiences marketplace Travello in 2016.

The Working Holiday Maker visas are not the only visas that are about to get more expensive.

The visitor visa (subclass 600) used by tourists will increase from $150 to $190, and the student visa (subclass 500) used by international students will be hiked from $650 to $715.

The changes were revealed in the 2023-24 federal budget announced by Treasurer Jim Chalmers on May 9.

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