One reason for not including regional hospitality and tourism on the list of approved industries allowing Working Holiday Visa (WHV) holders to qualify for a second year on their visa has been that, given a choice, primary industry jobs such as fruit picking would always be chosen last, BUT it appears that this argument is no longer valid.
BTAP (Backpacker Tourism Advisory Panel) intends arguing strongly for the inclusion of regional tourism and hospitality in this scheme. The most recent BITE (Backpacker Industry Trade E-News) says:
“The current Australia-wide labour shortages (skilled or otherwise) are going to continue to affect all operators, and are now being seen as one of the key drivers of inflation. These labour shortages (and possible repercussions for interest rates and the strong Aussie dollar, factors which are all related to the resources boom) will make it a difficult year ahead for the tourism industry, even if arrivals were to significantly increase. The problems of finding staff, the cost of money for re-investment or expansion, and the decline in affordability will no doubt squeeze margins.
While these issues are largely outside of our control, BTAP will continue to push for regional hospitality and tourism to be included in the list of approved industries allowing WHV holders to qualify for a second year on their visa. For a number of reasons the announcement only days ago that regional construction had now been included on this list should make it much easier to argue for the inclusion of regional hospitality and tourism. Regional construction (read mining employers) will offer significantly greater remuneration than fruit picking and the like, making it quite possible that the 5000 WHV holders they expect to lure under the scheme will further drain the labour pool currently available for both primary industry and hospitality and tourism. While it may assist the mining giants, it could however make it even more difficult for others to find staff anywhere in the country – not just regionally.”
*Are you involved with regional tourism/hospitality?
*Is the staffing shortage affecting your town?
*How is the situation being handled by grassroots communities and businesses?