Scramble on to beat Australian working holiday visa price increase - Australian Visa Bureau

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As part of the Australian government's efforts to return the federal budget to surplus next year, it recently announced the cost of several visa streams, including the Australian working holiday visa, would increase on 1 January, 2013.

Australian working holiday visa

The government fee for the Australian working holiday visa is set to increase as of 1 January, 2013.

The Australian Visa Bureau can process your working holiday visa application almost instantly, and it doesn't have to be activated for two years!

The price increases will vary depending on the Australian visa subclass. However, while the increase to the working holiday visa program is the smallest, thought to be from AU$280 to AU$360, it has also sparked the biggest debate. Fortunately, there is still time to apply so you can avoid the price increase, and the Australian Visa Bureau is on hand to ensure you don't miss out.

The Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) has written to the Treasurer Wayne Swan protesting the Australian immigration measure, claiming adding more barriers to working holiday makers for immediate economic gain will damage the country's economy in the long run.

"The youth and backpacker segment of the tourism industry has been hit hard over recent years, suffering from the impact of the high Australian dollar, fierce international competition from other destinations, and the changing nature of youth travel which has seen more young people sticking to capital cities and minding their budgets," said ATEC's Peter Oveden.

"We cannot afford to give these travellers yet another reason to reduce their spending – or, worse yet, decide not to visit at all."

Working holiday makers have been shown to spend more time in Australia than other tourists, travel wider and distribute their money better into the economy. However, it is the impact to the workforce which has some worried.

"If we lose the backpackers we lose the labour source," said a spokesperson for AUSVEG, an agricultural industry body. "If you lose the labour source these crops can stay in the grounds and potentially create a shortfall for consumers."

However, Jenny Espiner, visa processing manager at the Australian Visa Bureau says it isn't all bad news.

"In order to qualify for an Australian working holiday visa, applicants need to prove they have AU$5,000 [£3,270], AU$6,000 [£3,925] if they only have a one way ticket, the actual increase of AU$80 [£50] is manageable when put into context," said Ms Espiner.

"But if you want to avoid the increase altogether, you can apply for your visa today and avoid the increase.

"The Australian Visa Bureau can process your working holiday visa application almost instantly, and it doesn't have to be activated for two years!

"So if you're planning a working holiday in the near future and don't like the idea of a price hike, apply today."

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Tom Blackett
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