Good news on visas

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - BUSINESS - Shane Nichols

DOU­GLAS Cham­ber of Commerce pres­i­dent He­len De Ross has hailed changes in the visa laws which mean visi­tors on work­ing hol­i­days can now re­main with one em­ployer for up to a year, in­stead of the pre­vi­ous six months.

It par­tic­u­larly af­fects work­ers in north­ern Aus­tralia in agri­cul­ture and tourism work.

The Min­is­ter for Im­mi­gra­tion and Border Pro­tec­tion Peter Dut­ton said the changes - an ini­tia­tive of the Gov­ern­ment’s re­cent White Pa­per on De­vel­op­ing North­ern Aus­tralia - would be of sig­nif­i­cant ben­e­fit to the agri­cul­ture and tourism sec­tors in the north of the coun­try.

“Th­ese in­dus­tries are highly sea­sonal and rely on short term work­ers to pro­vide labour

flex­i­bil­ity in peak pe­ri­ods,” Mr Dut­ton said.

The changes will also ap­ply to work in north­ern Aus­tralia in aged and dis­abil­ity care, con­struc­tion and min­ing. “This is great news!,” said Ms De Ross.

“Peo­ple with longer work­ing visas and work­ing and hol­i­day visas are fan­tas­tic for this re­gion.

“For any of us work­ing in a cus­tomer ser­vice in­dus­try we know that re­la­tion­ships with our cus­tomers are key.

“Be­ing in the re­gion for longer, employees will be able to build stronger re­la­tion­ships that will only sup­port the suc­cess of the busi­ness they work for,” Ms De Ross said.

“This time­frame also gives the employees more op­por­tu­nity to ex­plore the area, thus pro­vid­ing more pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ences to tell their friends/ fam­ily about back home or they may even de­cide to move here per­ma­nently.

“The longer term visa also as­sists peo­ple to travel the coun­try with the sea­sons,” Ms De Ross said.

The Dou­glas re­gion will now be more likely to see peo­ple com­ing to town af­ter work­ing in Mel­bourne and Sydney whereas pre­vi­ously they wouldn’t have this time.

“Ei­ther way, this helps fa­cil­i­tate the growth of the re­gion.”

Fur­ther changes will fol­low in 2016 which will al­low Work and Hol­i­day (Sub­class 462) visa hold­ers to ex­tend their stay in Aus­tralia by a fur­ther 12 months if they work for atleast three months in agri­cul­ture or tourism in north­ern Aus­tralia.

“Th­ese changes cre­ate a sig­nif­i­cant in­cen­tive for young trav­ellers who wish to

ex­pe­ri­ence Aus­tralia to visit and work in north­ern Aus­tralia,” Mr Dut­ton said.

“The changes, along with other ini­tia­tives in the White Pa­per, will help to un­lock the im­mense po­ten­tial of Aus­tralia’s north and help fa­cil­i­tate strong eco­nomic growth,” Mr Dut­ton said.

Pic­ture: SHANE NICHOLS

Cham­ber pres­i­dent He­len De Ross

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