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The end of the Australian Working Holiday Visa?

The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) has proposed a moratorium on working holiday visas, citing the high level of unemployment among young Australian citizens as a primary reason for its cessation.

Although Australia has only recently signed a new working holiday agreement with Greece, ACTU  is still pressing ahead with it’s agenda, and lambasting the Australian Governments decision to sign working holiday agreements with counties like Greece who have severe economic problems.

Although reports have stated that most of Europe has now exited the recession, the aftershocks are still being felt in many areas causing young people from many other nations to apply for Australian working holiday visa in the hope of gaining employment. Last year alone the number of young people coming to Australia on a working holiday visa rose by 30%, while the number of young Australian’s applying for working holiday visas outside their native country steadily decreased, leading to the unemployment rate for Australian youths rising to just south of 25%.

Dr. Bob Birrell, demographer at the University of Morash, emphasised the importance of restoring the reciprocity of the working holiday visa before young Australians find themselves at a distinct disadvantage in the job market.

Australian Immigration Minister, Scott Morrison, who opposes the moratorium on working holiday visas, says the value of issuing such a large volume of working holiday visas cannot be denied, as cumulatively they have contributed more than 1.8 billion dollars to the Australian economy in 2012. Mr. Morrison added that a moratorium on working holiday visas would be completely unreasonable and in breach of multiple laws given that working holiday participants are protected by the same workplace laws as Australian residents.