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Australia is offering backpackers and students a rebate on their visa application fees in a bid to try to entice them back to the country, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Wednesday.
Australia has suffered critical workforce shortages since it closed its borders in March 2020 with few exceptions. It has been easing border rules since late last year.
As of Wednesday, Morrison said students arriving in Australia would have their visa fee rebated for the next 8 weeks, while backpackers could get a rebate for the next 12 weeks. The fee is 630 Australian dollars ($450).
Morrison said his message to the 150,000 international students and 23,500 backpackers who have received their visas was to “come on down.”
“We want you to come to Australia and enjoy a holiday here ... move all the way around the country,” he said.
“At the same time, join our workforce and help us in our agricultural sector, in our hospitality sector, and so many of the other parts of the economy that rely on that labour.”
The announcement comes as the university year is due to start in late January or early February.
Australia’s states and territories have varying requirements for international arrivals. Morrison urged regions to ease remaining restrictions.
Meanwhile, Queensland state announced Wednesday it would scrap mandatory quarantine for double vaccinated travellers starting Saturday. They will need to take a rapid antigen test within the first 24 hours.
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20/01/2022
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