Big Changes To Working Holiday Visa Rules

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Tax savings, reduced costs and age extensions

As of January 2017, there will be significant changes to the Working Holiday Visa regulations which will impact both people looking to enter the country, and those already in Australia. The changes have officially been approved by the Government. Scott Morrison MP, The Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Australia, made the official announcement at the end of September 2016.

For those already in Australia: tax and working rights

The new tax changes will mean backpackers will make a significant saving on the first $37,000 earned during the working year. Currently, backpackers working in Australia are taxed at a rate of 32.5%, but this will be reduced to 19% when the new regulations take effect. Considering backpackers are generally entitled to claim back tax earned during the working holiday period, (please check specific conditions), this would mean that you could keep more of the funds earned, rather than having to wait and claim it back. 

As we all know, backpackers can work for a specific employer for up to 6 months on a full time basis. The amendments to the current laws will now mean that employees can potentially work for the same employer, for another 6 months providing it’s in a different region. This is really targeted for those working for major companies, but never the less it can provide consistency on your CV as well as giving employees a year to really prove their skills with a company they trust. More importantly, being with one company for a longer period, means there’s a higher chance of a pay rise.

For those coming to Australia: application fees and age limits

For those hopefuls looking to come to Australia, there’s good news for you as well. As it stands the age limit for applications on Working Holiday Visa’s is 31, however the modifications now mean those up to the age of 35 can submit an application. So for anyone over 30 who still wants to experience Australia’s beaches, weather, healthy food and even healthier wages, you have a few more years up your sleeve.

The costs of Working Holiday Visa’s are also set to decrease; at the moment the cost is $440 but this will drop down to $390. So there will be a few extra dollars in your pocket for Australia’s famous goon (cheap casked wine).

Key highlights of the reform package include:

  • offering working holiday makers the highest post-tax income among comparable countries with a tax rate at 19 per cent;
  • allowing more tourists to become working holiday makers, with the age limit increasing from 30 to 35 years old;
  • reducing visa application charges for working holiday makers by $50 down to $390; and
  • allowing working holiday makers to work for the same employer for 12 months, provided the second six months is in a different region.

All in all, we are happy to hear the positive changes announced recently. This will mean better working conditions for those in Australia, and for those wanting to come and experience our culture. Attracting a wider range of people means there will be plenty more characters to meet around the Sydney hostels!

For full information on the changes please visit the following link:
http://sjm.ministers.treasury.gov.au/media-release/104-2016/