In an effort to address ongoing staff shortages and supply chain issues, the federal government has announced backpackers and international students will have their visa application fees rebated if they arrive in Australia in the next 12 weeks.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the move in a press conference on Wednesday morning, along with a $3 million funding boost for Tourism Australia.
The funding will go towards targeted marketing campaigns for backpackers and international students.
The prime minister said the announcements were to encourage relevant travelers to visit and work in Australia.
"There are around 150,000 students who have visas who we are encouraging to come back to be there for the start of their university or college year," Mr Morrison said.
"(This) is a thank you to them for coming back and continuing to choose Australia," Mr Morrison said.
Student and backpacker visas were reintroduced on December 15, 2020, followed by a lifting of the 40 hour a week work limit for foreign students on January 13, 2021.
Treasurer Josh Frydenburg said Wednesday's announcements would provide further incentive for overseas workers to fill Australia's staff shortage gaps.
"There are over 20,000 backpackers who have an eligible visa," he said, "this is a welcomed initiative opening up to a broader cohort."
Mr Frydenberg said the move has an expected cost of $55 million.
National cabinet is meeting again on Thursday evening, the prime minister said the focus would be on a nationwide consensus on a return to school date.
"We are seeking to harmonise that as much as possible and provide consistent support to individual states' measures," he said.
"I can't promise you that all the states and territories will agree to different arrangements."
More to come.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.