On Wednesday, the Australian government announced financial incentives for international students and working holidaymakers to attract them to the country amid a critical worker shortage.
In a bid to revive the economy in the backdrop of a pandemic and plug workforce shortages, the government launched an AUD 55m package that offers visa rebates to international students and backpackers who arrive in the country.
The scheme allowing a refund of AUD 630 for students and a rebate worth AUD 495 on the visa application fee for working holidaymakers was launched by Prime Minister Scott Morrison on January 19. The refund scheme applies to students for eight weeks, and in the case of working holiday visa holders, the scheme will run for 12 weeks.
As many as 150,000 international students and 23,500 backpackers are expected to benefit from the visa fee refund scheme.
PM Morrison, in a press conference, urged students and working professionals to “come on down” in Australia. PM pitched the scheme as a “thank you” to students for choosing Australia.
“We want you to come to Australia and enjoy a holiday here… [and] move all the way around the country.”
“At the same time, join our workforce and help us in our agriculture sector, in our hospitality sector, and so many of the other parts of the economy that rely on that labor,” Morrison said.
Recent data showed job vacancies in Australia rose to a record high, up by 18.5%, right before the Omicron outbreak. The unemployment rate, too, declined to 4.6% in November 2021.