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Australia seeking backpackers from 13 countries for regional businesses

CANBERRA (Australia): Australia is targeting backpackers from 13 countries as the country needed workers wanted by regional businesses.

Immigration Minister David Coleman is seeking backpackers from 13 countries to find workers for regional businesses.

The move has won in-principle support from the National Farmers’ Federation, even if it is still demanding a fully-fledged agricultural visa.

Australia is in discussions about expanding the work and holiday visa to people from India, Brazil, Mexico, the Philippines, Switzerland, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Andorra, Monaco and Mongolia.

Any places made available to backpackers from these nations would be in addition to the existing caps for other nations.

As per data, about 150,000 people were in Australia on a working holiday visa in March, but the program has actually shrunk over the past five years.

The plans are the latest attempt by the Government to tweak a major — and contentious — part of Australia’s migration program.

Only this month Greece and Ecuador were added to the program, places were increased for some countries, and the option to stay in Australia for a third year was made available to workers.

The Government has also released a series of video advertisements into international markets calling Australia “the best workplace in the world”.

Immigration Minister David Coleman said the changes were designed to resolve labour shortages in regional areas, in particular on farms.

“We know that working holiday-makers travel further into regional areas than most other international visitors,” he said.

“They also spend substantial amounts, helping to boost regional economies.”