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Source: Canva

Labour shortages force government to offer visa rebates

The Australian Federal Government has announced visa rebates for international students and backpackers to address labour shortages in the country.

The rebates will apply for the next eight weeks for students (who would normally pay around $650) and 12 weeks for backpackers (around $495).

“(The rebates are) a thank you to them for coming back and continuing to choose Australia,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

“But we also want them to come here and be able to be filling some of these critical workforce shortages, particularly those who are working and being trained in health care, aged care, those types of sectors. That will be incredibly helpful.”

There are around 150,000 students and 23,500 backpackers with visas to Australia, he added.

“We want you to come to Australia and enjoy a holiday here in Australia, move all the way around the country, and at the same time, join our workforce,” the Prime Minister stated.

“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, that workforce right now.”

Labour shortages amid the Omicron wave continue to affect businesses. Last week, in an attempt to relieve key supply chains, isolation rules for close contacts in certain industries were lifted, along with work hour restrictions on international students.

“We know that Australians have accumulated $360 billion on balance sheets – both households and business – as a result of record economic support from the Federal Government, state governments, and through unprecedented tax cuts,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told reporters.

“That is providing more money and disposable income, rewarding effort, and encouraging aspiration. So there is good reason to be confident and resilient about our economy.”

READ MORE: ACA SME Tracker: Positive end to the year, but SME confidence slips as COVID accelerates

READ MORE: New research reveals shocking amount of abuse experienced by Australian retail workers

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Rhea Laxmi Nath

Rhea Laxmi Nath

Rhea L Nath is a Sydney-based writer and editor. In 2022, she was named Young Journalist of the Year at the NSW Premier's Multicultural Communications Awards.

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