Greece is expected to be added to the Working Holiday visa programme where young people can travel in Australia and work for a certain amount of time to support themselves.
Discussion over holiday working visas for young Greek people are to take place amid concerns that there could be a flood of them wanting to apply due to the economic situation in their country.
The Working Holiday visa programme allows young people to travel in Australia and work to support themselves
Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison is meeting Greece’s Ambassador to Australia to discuss concerns that many young people from Greece take off for a new life in Australia without knowing enough about the country and armed with inefficient and sometimes wrong information.
The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) is calling for a moratorium on the working holiday visa programme amid worries that floods of young people from abroad means that young Australians are losing out on jobs.
ACTU president Ged Kearney said that the government should review signing off working holiday agreements with new countries such as Greece and other European countries suffering economic difficulties.
‘If you look at just unemployed teenagers in Australia who are looking for full time work it’s rising well toward 25%. Before we just jump into saying well, let’s open up the holiday visa program for example and allow all those young people in Europe to come to Australia, we have to stop and just have a think about what impact that will have on our economy; what the impact of that is on our young people,’ she commented.
In the last year there has been a 30% increase in the number of young foreigners coming to Australia on working holiday visas. But supporters point out that the working holiday visa programme for Greece is expected to be initially capped at 500 per year and point out that more of a threat is the number of working holiday visas being granted for young people from Taiwan and South Korea which are uncapped.
Morrison said the Australian government would continue to offer working holiday visas for the good of the economy. ‘The facts are that tourists coming to Australia on working holiday maker visas create jobs for Australians. They are good for jobs and good for our regions. The programme is not a work visas and undertaking work is an optional part of a working holiday visa,’ he added.
Meanwhile, the Australian-Greek Welfare Society has organised an awareness campaign in Melbourne to inform the new immigrants about the visas and the immigration law in Australia.
The Greek community in Australia has seen a huge increase in the number of people moving to Australia as a result of Greece’s economic woes. But the society said that many arrive without sufficient information and not knowing the immigration law and the life conditions of the country.
Also, sometimes even those who speak English very well, are lost in the information that the Department of Immigration provides them. They are confused about what path to follow in order to stay in Australia while having to find a house and work in order to pay visa expenses, and tuition fees.
The Australian-Greek Welfare Society said it will carry out new research to gather as much information as possible on the critical issues facing new Greek immigrants and how they are adapting to life in Australia. The results will be discussed with government institutions and will create the basis for creating future programmes to support immigrants.