Australia's Department of Home Affairs has said that it’s currently negotiating a Work and Holiday visa arrangement with India. However, it’s not in place just yet and any applications for this visa from India will fail.
Amid concerns that unscrupulous migration agents operating overseas are resorting to misinformation about Australia’s Work and Holiday visa to ensnare gullible visa seekers, Australia’s Department of Home Affairs has clarified that this visa is not available for Indians yet.
The Department says any applications for Work and Holiday visa from India will not succeed as India currently is not among the eligible countries for this visa.
“Australia does not currently have a Work and Holiday (subclass 462) visa arrangement with India, so any application for this visa from an Indian national would not meet the legislative requirements,” a spokesperson for the Department of Home Affairs told SBS Punjabi.
However, the Department has confirmed that India is among the thirteen countries that Australia is currently negotiating with to include them in the visa program.
The other countries that Australia is negotiating with include Brazil, Mexico, Philippines, Switzerland, Mongolia, Monaco, Lithuania, Latvia, Fiji, Croatia, Solomon Islands and Andorra.
Immigration Minister David Coleman, while addressing concerns that adding more countries to this program could turn it into a doorway for low-skilled migrants into Australia, said last week that applicants would have to meet minimum requirements, including the functional level of English.
SBS Punjabi earlier reported that Vinay Hari, a student recruitment agent in India, was asking visa seekers to apply for Work and Holiday visa.
Mr Hari said in his video adverts that applicants for this visa don’t have to demonstrate any English competency and that up to 50,000 Indians could get this visa.
Information published by the Department of Home Affairs shows that the most number of visas allowed to any country under the Work and Holiday (subclass 462) visa is 5,000, to China. The cap is different for different countries for this visa while the subclass 417 visa program is uncapped.
Australia’s farmer groups have been calling for a stand-alone agriculture visa that would allow them to source overseas workers particularly for working in farms. Despite initial impetus, the visa now seems to be in cold storage. The government’s negotiation with these thirteen countries to include them in Work and Holiday program is believed to be a measure to ease the farm labour shortage.
Though some farmers have welcomed the proposal to extend this visa to new countries, they say it’s only a temporary fix.