Monday, 04 November 2019
Media release

Joint media release with the Hon Simon Birmingham - Work and Holiday visa program expanded for Thailand

In another boost for regional businesses and Australian tourism, more young people from Thailand will be able to travel, work and study in Australia thanks to an expansion of Work and Holiday visa arrangements.

Australia and Thailand have agreed to increase the number of annual places available under the Work and Holiday visa program from 500 to 2,000.

Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs David Coleman said the increase will build on recent improvements to the program that have seen a 20 per cent increase in the number of working holiday makers working in regional areas.

“By making this successful program available to more young people we are giving regional Australia access to more workers to fill critical labour shortages,” Mr Coleman said.

Thai nationals who undertake three months of specified work in a regional area are eligible to apply for a second Work and Holiday visa.

From January, second year visa holders can also apply for a third year WHM visa if they carry out an additional six months specified work in regional areas during their second year.

“This expansion, combined with the third year visa option that starts in January, will see more workers available to pick crops, support farmers and boost tourism in regional Australia,” Mr Coleman said.

“The increase will also strengthen people-to-people links between Australia and Thailand and provide more opportunities for cultural exchange between our two countries.”

Federal Minister for Tourism Simon Birmingham said working holiday makers inject around $3 billion into the economy each year, most of which is spent in regional areas.

“Australia welcomes over 90,000 Thai tourists each year and this is an opportunity to continue to capitalise on this emerging tourism market,” Mr Birmingham said.

“Work and holiday makers generally stay longer, spend more money in Australia and travel further into regional areas than most other international visitors, supporting Australian jobs in tourism and hospitality.

"This expansion of the WHM program will offer more young people from Thailand the opportunity to work and travel in Australia, while also supporting our key industries and regional communities.”

Work and Holiday visa arrangements with Thailand began in 2005 and there has been strong interest from young Thai nationals in program over many years.

The Work and Holiday visa requires first-time Thai applicants to hold or be studying towards tertiary qualifications and to speak a functional level of English.

Australia currently has Work and Holiday arrangements in place with 44 countries.

The commencement date of the new cap will be published on the Department’s website once agreed.

More information on the Work and Holiday visa program is available at www.homeaffairs.gov.au