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Australia Using Brexit to Get Brits Down Under

The Australian government has put plans in action to capitalise on Brexit uncertainty by luring young Brits to the country with a new visa. Travellers can now work in Australia up to the age of 35 on a working visa; boasting the highest post-tax wages of any visa scheme on the globe.

We reported, back in June, that many expat pensioners were returning to the UK as they could no longer afford the high living costs of the country. It seems that Tourism Australia are set to fill the gap that the older generation are leaving behind.

Before the recent change, Australia’s age limit on working visas was 30, the same as Canada and New Zealand. Experts are questioning whether other non-EU countries will follow suit in the hopes of targeting young Brits. Australia’s new working visa will also be $50 cheaper as of 1st January 2017, and the tax rate will be set at 19 per cent on earnings up to $37,000 (approximately £23,000).

It is worth remembering the back story when it comes to Australia’s relationship with backpackers. In the 2015 budget, the Australian government announced that, from 1st January 2016, travellers would be treated as non-residents and taxed at 32.5% from their first dollar. Seemingly forgetting that Australian agriculture draws 25% of its employment pool from backpackers. Due to industry pressure the government announced in the middle of the 2016 election that it would delay the start date to 2017 to conduct a review.

During this 16-month period to decide on a final tax rate, backpackers had thoroughly had enough of Australia’s indecisiveness and farmers had to literally watch their fruit rot as they did not have the workforce to harvest.

Research Without Borders recently conducted a survey within which half of 18 to 24-year-olds in the UK are now considering a move abroad after Britain’s decision to leave the European Union in June.

Fears are palpable amongst the younger generation, with 58 per cent stating that they are worried about the impact of Brexit on the UK. 55 per cent also expressed that they had never considered a move abroad before the referendum results were announced.

The Australian minister for trade, tourism, and investment – Steven Ciobo – stated in October: “With more than half of Britain’s 18 to 25-year-olds saying they would consider a temporary move abroad to travel or work post-Brexit, and Australia their most preferred place to do that outside of Europe, the appeal of a working holiday Down Under has arguably never been stronger.”

Fronting the $10 million campaign is Made in Chelsea star Lucy Watson, who regularly shares snaps of her holidays to Australia with her 1.3 million Instagram followers. Mr Ciobo began the operation by setting up a stall in London’s Victoria Station, with the 25-year-old at his side, in an attempt to attract weary commuters.

However, reports on the publicity stunt were certainly not what Tourism Australia had in mind. The Australian Times commented that the beach stunt fell flat, and The Guardian stated that Mr Ciobo looked as wooden as his Kangaroo adorned surf board.

Tourism Australia are also set to target French, German, and Italian backpackers with their three-year crusade.

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