Australia lowers or refunds visa fees: To keep coming but also to address these severe labor shortages
Steph Deschamps / January 19, 2022
This is particularly exacerbated in the country by the number of people forced into isolation due to the outbreak of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Wednesday that student and working vacation visa holders who have not yet entered the country would benefit from a reduction in the price of their visa, about 600 Australian dollars, if they visit Australia within the next 8 or 12 weeks respectively.
The $55 million measure aims to attract workers to the country where many economic sectors are facing labor shortages, such as agriculture and catering.
The hope is that 150,000 students and 23,500 backpackers, already in possession of a visa, will take the plunge and travel to Australia, whose borders have long remained closed.
It's about saying thank you to students for coming back and continuing to choose Australia, but we also want them to come here and be able to meet these critical labour shortages, Morrison said at a news conference. He specifically cited people trained in health care and geriatrics.
The Prime Minister also encouraged tourists wishing to travel and work in Australia to help revive the tourism sector, which has been hit hard by the pandemic and the extended border closure. Travel around the country and at the same time join our workforce to help us in the agricultural sector and the restaurant industry, and many others that need employees at this time, the Prime Minister continued.
In addition, also in order to boost tourism in the region, the state of Queensland (northeast) announced Wednesday to reopen its borders to foreign travelers who will no longer have to comply with quarantine on arrival, as long as they are vaccinated against Covid-19. This state is an important tourist asset for the country as it gathers several sites protected by UNESCO such as the Great Barrier Reef.