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02 July 2008
Some young people in Australia on Working Holiday visas will be allowed to stay longer, Immigration Minister Chris Evans announced on 01 July 2008.
"From today, working holiday visa holders who have worked in the construction industry in regional Australia for at least three months will be eligible to apply for a second working holiday visa," Evans said.
"Extending this concession to construction will help this booming industry by encouraging people on working holidays to undertake short-term construction work in regional Australia," he added.
Previously, second Working Holiday visas were only available to individuals who have worked for farmers in regional Australia for at least three months.
The initiative has assisted thousands of farmers across Australia. Almost 12,000 second Working Holiday visas are expected to be granted in 2007-08.
"We are seeing a record backpacker program this year, which is great for businesses, especially in regional Australia, and good news for Australia's tourism industries," Evans noted.
According to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC), the number of Working Holiday makers has more than doubled in the past decade. DIAC estimates that 155,000 visas are likely to be granted in 2007-08, a 24% increase over the previous year.
DIAC also estimated that 180,000 Working Holiday visas may be granted in 2008-09.
"The increasing numbers of working holiday makers will continue to meet the needs of other industries that employ the backpackers and will not be disadvantaged by the extension of the concession to the construction industry," Evans said.