Calls mounting to extend backpacker visas to support Australian industries

Calls are mounting for working backpackers in Australia to be granted an extension of their visas to stay longer and support the nation’s tourism industry.

ATIC Executive Director Simon Westaway told Sky News about 70,000 backpackers remained which was only half the number normally in Australia at any one time, while expectations placed between 20,000 and 30,000 still in the country heading into 2021.

He said backpackers, as well as students, should be allowed to stay in the country longer to support associated industries, particularly those in regional areas.

Mr Westaway also said efforts were being made to work on existing travel bans and to lift the 4000 person cap on weekly international arrivals.

“I think it’s important that we find a way of lifting that cap both symbolically and also importantly opens up the opportunity ultimately for backpackers to come back in the market,” he said.

“We think backpackers are actually really the easy option and probably the best first-term option to get people back in Australia because they will be prepared to self-quarantine, they do want to stay a period of time here, up to three years.

“So that, we think, is a pilot really worth getting behind.”

Image: News Corp Australia