Low-cost labour or cultural exchange? Reforming the Working Holiday visa programme

In a recent article in the Economics and Labour Relations Review,  PLPRU Director, Associate Professor Alex Reilly, examines the Working Holiday visa programme in Australia.

Click here to read the full article.  The following is an abstract of Alex’s article:

The article considers the place of Working Holiday visas in Australia’s migration policy and socio-economic planning. With the number of Working Holiday visa grants now topping 200,000 annually, Working Holiday Makers are significant participants in low-skilled work in Australia. The article argues that the programme is not adequately regulated to protect Working Holiday Makers in this work. In light of concerns around the exploitation of Working Holiday  Makers, the article offers suggestions for reform to the programme. The article argues that the programme should be returned to its original conception of fostering a cultural experience for young migrants coming to Australia. It argues that work entitlements under the Working Holiday visa should be limited to work that is appropriate for young migrants on a brief cultural visit and that labour shortages should otherwise be filled using dedicated temporary labour migration visas which are properly designed to address labour shortages in the economy. Reform is necessary to protect the work conditions of local and migrant workers, to maintain Australia’s reputation as a country with high employment standards and to maintain positive relations with countries in the Working Holiday programme.

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