Australia to offer ‘backpacker visa’ for young Indians within two years

  • The Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) will come into force from December 29.
  • Indian exporters will get zero-duty access for nearly 96.4 per cent of exports across 6,000 sectors which currently attract 4-5 per cent customs duty.
  • Australian services sectors to benefit include higher education and adult education, as well as business services such as tax, architecture and urban planning.
The ) will come into force from December 29 this year after both nations announced completion of all domestic formalities, paving the way for two-way free trade.

Under the ECTA, a new working holiday program will be offered to young Indians, with 1,000 seats set aside every year.

Female tourtist taking a photo Sydney Harbour Bridge with her smartphone.

Tourist taking a picture of Sydney Harbour Bridge. Source: Moment RF / Sutthichai Supapornpasupad/Getty Images

A Department of Immigration official confirmed with SBS Hindi that the Work and Holiday visas will be come into effect within two years of the ECTA’s entry into force.

“Australia will put in place arrangements to allow eligible Indian citizens aged between 18 and 30 to apply for a Work and Holiday visa to visit Australia for one year and undertake short-term work and study while holidaying,” the official said.
Sea Cliff Bridge, rocky coast road, highway and mountain, aerial view

Sea Cliff Bridge, rocky coast road, highway and mountain, aerial view Source: Moment RF / Andrew Merry/Getty Images

The official added that “as announced on 2 April this year, temporary entry and temporary stay shall be granted for up to a combined total of 1,800 per year of qualified, professional Indian traditional chefs and yoga instructors entering as Contractual Service Suppliers of India.”

According to the Department of Home Affairs (DHA), Australia currently has working holiday maker programs with 47 countries.

Portrait of a man sitting on rocks in front of huge Boulder and cactus

Australia has announced new working holiday opportunities for young Indians as part of the free trade agreement. Source: Moment RF / Mayur Kakade/Getty Images

“The Australian government recognises that Working Holiday Makers provide an important cultural and economic contribution to Australia, including through their role in filling skills and labour gaps and job creation in associated industries and businesses,” a DHA spokesperson said.

“The government also recognises the importance of Working Holiday Makers to Australia’s economic recovery during and after the COVID-19 pandemic,” the spokesperson told SBS Hindi.
The Working Holiday Maker (WHM) program comprises of the and the.
While acknowledging the move is ‘promising’ for Indian travellers, Gold Coast-based migration expert Seema Chauhan said it’s still early days.

“Indian backpackers will be interested in the Work and Holiday visa (Subclass 462) which has specific educational requirements for specific countries,” Ms Chauhan said.

Young woman walks down rocky beach to water's edge

There are two types of working holiday programs in Australia – the Working Holiday visa (Subclass 417) and the Work and Holiday visa (Subclass 462). Credit: Simon Hird/ Ascent Xmedia/Getty Images

Furthermore, Ms Chauhan expressed her concern about whether the Indian government would have to support an application for this visa.

“We are awaiting more clarity on what constitutes as the minimum two years post secondary study requirements and if a letter of support will be a requirement for this visa from Indian government,” she added.
“Other requirements for applicants include functional English and possessing sufficient funds for personal support,” she explained and said that it will promote youth mobility and further strengthen the professional and cultural ties between the two nations.

During 1 January to 31 October 2022, 143,637 WHM visa applications were lodged and 149,629 WHM visas were granted to eligible nationals.


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