Tourism industry slams federal government backflip on cutting working holiday maker visa fees

The Tourism & Transport Forum Australia (TTF) has slammed the continuing confusion over the backpacker tax with MYEFO containing a backflip on the Federal Government’s promise to reduce the cost of working holiday maker visas from $440 to $390.

Working holiday makers — maintain at $440 the visa application charge for the working holiday maker visa (subclass 417 and 462)

Revenue ($m)

2015‑16 2016‑17 2017‑18 2018‑19 2019‑20
Department of Immigration and Border Protection

During the finalisation of the Working Holiday Maker Reform Package, the Government agreed to maintain at $440 the working holiday maker visa (subclass 417 and 462) application charge. Maintaining the charge at $440 will have no revenue impact over the forward estimates period.[1]

To add to the growing confusion, the Parliament appears to have passed the legislation to reduce the cost of the visas to $390 with the change contained in the Treasury Laws Amendment (working Holiday Maker Reform) Bill 2016.

“This is the saga that just will not end. Once again the industry is left in the dark on where it stands on the backpacker tax,” said Margy Osmond, TTF CEO.

“The industry applauded the Government’s decision to listen to us and announce a reduction in the cost of working holiday maker visas to $390 to help arrest the decline in working holiday visa applications.

“It’s now become clear that a deal has been done to keep the visa fee at $440 to pay for the Seasonal Workers Trial as part of the Government’s negotiations with Nick Xenophon’s Team to get the backpacker tax through the Senate.

“The message to the Government is that this type of wheeling and dealing without any consultation with the industry is just not acceptable. It undermines the bigger picture of attracting more backpackers to Australia who spend their money seeing our country.

“The Federal Government needs to clarify immediately whether the legislation that has passed the Parliament is the law of the land or is it MYEFO?”

[1] Source: MYEFO page 108