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Changes to Australian Working Holiday Visa programme

Significant changes to Australia’s popular Working Holiday Maker Visa came into effect on 1 July 2006. The changes give holiday makers the opportunity to work and study for longer in Australia and the chance to extend their visa for another year by offering an increased selection of seasonal jobs in regional areas. Working Holiday Maker (WHM) Visa applications are now subject to the following changes: • increased work rights; the ability to work for any one employer for 6 months, rather than the 3 previously allowed • increased stuffy rights; the ability to study for 4 months, rather the 3 previously allowed • increased selection of seasonal jobs in regional areas; leading to a second working holiday visa of an additional 12 months ‘Although the primary group of applicants for this visa are young gap year students, university students and backpackers, in the last 12 months or so we’ve seen a significant increase in the number of young professionals taking career breaks,’ said Oonagh Baerveldt, spokesperson Australian Visa Bureau. ‘They are frustrated or feeling burnt out and want to take a year out. The WHM visa is a good solution because you don’t need to dip into your savings to travel – you work to travel.’ ‘The ability to work in the same job for 6 months means travellers can choose to be transient or settled whereas before they were looking for a new job every 3 months,’ said Baerveldt.