Parkes MP Mark Coulton has flagged a government change that has seen the Working Holiday Maker (WHM) visa cost rise by over $500 as likely to have a detrimental impact on the Parkes electorate and more broadly regional locations across Australia.
But a spokesperson for the Department of Home Affairs moved to assure locals.
“The visa application charge (VAC) of $635 from 1 July 2023, is a small part of the cost of travelling to Australia, particularly as Working Holiday Makers can supplement their funds by undertaking short-term work.”
Even with the price rise, the charge for the Australian WHM Visa appears to be much more competitively priced compared to other countries.
In the UK, for example, the equivalent Visa application costs £1159, which at today’s exchange rate is more than $2200.
Mr Coulton though is not backing down.
“Backpackers are a large source of labour across the Parkes electorate and the Coalition supports our successful Working Holiday Maker program. The Prime Minister needs to stand up today and match our commitment,” Mr Coulton said.
Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Dan Tehan, claimed, “Labor are making backpackers the scapegoat for their Big Australia policy. Under Labor 1.5 million people are coming to Australia over five years in the middle of a housing crisis, and Anthony Albanese’s solution is to price backpackers out of coming here.”
“Australia’s Working Holiday Maker (WHM) program is one of the largest in the world, the Department of Home Affairs spokesperson told the Truth, “with 47 bilateral partner arrangements.”