This website requires Javascript - please turn on Javascript to continue.

Australia wants you!

26 October 2016

Four months on from the UK referendum on membership of the European Union, young British citizens are unclear as to what ‘Brexit’ means for their future ability to work and travel overseas.

In a survey carried out two weeks ago* more than half of young British adults  said they would consider a temporary move abroad to travel or work post-Brexit, and they cited Australia as their most preferred place to do that outside of Europe.

Since 1975, Australia has welcomed British citizens aged 18-30 to work and travel on the Working Holiday Maker (WHM) visa, and the Australian government has just announced a package of new measures aimed to increase Australia’s attractiveness as a destination for young working holiday makers.

The WHM scheme allows British citizens aged 18-30 to work in Australia for up to two years**, providing the opportunity to work and travel the country. Currently around 40,000*** British citizens travel on a WHM visa each year and the Australian government, working with Tourism Australia, is looking to increase those numbers in 2017.

The package of measures announced includes a $50 reduction in the WHM visa so that from the 1st January 2017 the WHM visa will cost $390, approximately £242**** and the tax rate applying to working holiday makers will be set at 19 per cent on earnings up to $37,000, rather than 32.5 per cent. The Australian government is also exploring the possibility of extending the age limit, so that British citizens aged up to 35 years could travel on this visa.

To raise awareness of the WHM scheme Tourism Australia has installed a pop up beach at Victoria Station in London, providing information on the visa and inviting young Brits to enter a competition to win one of ten free flights to Australia with youth travel specialist STA Travel. Staff dressed as surf life savers are telling the story of why there’s nothing like a working holiday in Australia, highlighting the huge variety of jobs available and the amazing range of travel experiences across the country.

At the beach the Hon Steven Ciobo, Australia’s Minister for Trade, Tourism & Investment, launched Tourism Australia’s WHM Influencer Programme, whereby the tourist board will work with high profile personalities with engaged social media followings to help raise awareness of the scheme and drive intention amongst 18-30 year olds to travel on the visa.

Lucy Watson, who starred in eight series of E4’s Made in Chelsea, has an Instagram following of 1.3m and a successful jewellery businesshad not heard of the scheme despite travelling to Australia on a number of occasions. She says:

“I’ve spent lots of time in Australia, and always had the most incredible experiences. Each time I visit I seem to like it even more and find something else that surprises me. The food, people and of course the weather make it one of my all-time favourite destinations”.

Minister Ciobo said:

“An Australian working holiday is more than just a job, and more than a holiday. Our country offers so much. It is a beautiful and unique destination where you can work, live and have adventures every day. A year, or maybe two, travelling and working in Australia will change your life.

 “I’m delighted to be in the UK, Australia’s biggest market for working holiday maker travel, to encourage more young Brits to travel down under. 

“With recent changes announced to the program, a working holiday in Australia is now easier and affordable.

“Australia offers working holiday makers the highest after tax wages compared to competitor countries like Canada and New Zealand.”

John O’Sullivan, Managing Director, Tourism Australia said:

“Australia is one of the most diverse, welcoming and beautiful countries on the planet. Our Working Holiday Maker program provides the perfect launch-pad for a life-changing year, maybe even two, combining travel with temporary work.”

At the pop up beach, Minister Ciobo announced a Memorandum of Understanding between Tourism Australia and STA Travel worth £500,000 in the UK market in year one. This outlines a commitment by each party to work in partnership over the next three years to help drive Working Holiday Maker visa travel to Australia. This builds on a long standing partnership which has seen youth numbers, which includes working holiday-makers, out of the UK increase by 7 per cent to almost 200,000 visitors and expenditure increase by 4 per cent to AUD1.4 billion (12 month period ending June 2016).

Emma Hudson, STA Travel says:

“We are delighted to be extending our marketing agreement with Tourism Australia for a further 3 years to support the continued growth of youth arrivals to Australia. Australia’s Working Holiday Maker scheme is one of the best in the world and allows our customers to not only travel across Australia, but also to gain insightful work experience to start their life adventure. We thoroughly support the new changes from Australia’s Government to encourage more people to explore this opportunity.”

Tourism Australia and STA Travel will be promoting the WHM programme throughout the month of November in a new digital campaign. Tourism Western Australia will also be working with STA Travel in November to encourage young Brits to visit Perth and experience the many wonders of WA. This will create a strong WHM campaign in the UK market, which will build over the next six to twelve months.

Return flights from the UK to Australia cost from £499 with STA Travel.

For more information about travelling to Australia on a Working Holiday Maker visa visit

For more information contact Tourism Australia’s London based PR team:

Emma Humphreys & James Treacy:  Mobile: 07795657294 /

Tourism Australia
Media and Communications Manager: Leo Seaton, Tourism Australia, on +61 447 463 197 or

Imagery & Footage
Images of locations and tourism experiences across the country, the pop up beach, Minister Ciobo, John O’Sullivan, Lucy Watson and Emma Hudson are all available on request.

Available B-Roll footage includes: young people enjoying Aussie experiences, GVs of young people in an STA shop in London, the pop-up beach, vox pops with young backpackers in Sydney, the announcement of an MOU and pieces to camera from John O’Sullivan, Lucy Watson and Minister Ciobo.

The research was carried out online by RWB between 14-16 October 2016. The sample comprised 1,011 UK adults aged 18-25. All research conducted adheres to the UK Market Research Society (MRS) code of conduct (2014) and RWB is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office and complies with the DPA (1998).

** Background on the WHM visa
Australia’s Working Holiday Maker (WHM) visa programme’s purpose is to foster closer ties and cultural exchange between Australia and partner countries, with particular emphasis on young adults. It has been in existence since 1975. Partner countries initially comprised a relatively small number of Commonwealth countries, but the programme has since grown to encompass 39 partner nations and regions from across the globe.

It is an excellent way for young people to enjoy the experience of working and travelling in Australia, enjoying coastal adventures, the unique wildlife, the delicious food and wine and the laidback lifestyle for an extended period of time. Working Holiday Makers return to their home countries with great stories of their travels and work experience which they can draw on for life.

As of 25/10/2016, all Working Holiday Maker visa applicants must:

  • Be aged 18-30 at the time of application
  • Hold a passport from an eligible partner country
  • Not be accompanied by dependent children during their stay in Australia
  • Meet health and character requirements
  • Meet financial requirements

Working Holiday Makers are able to work and travel in Australia for a 12 month period and are limited to one Working Holiday Maker visa in their lifetime. However, first-time Working Holiday visa holders (subclass 417) who undertake three months (88 standard working days) of ‘specified work’ in regional Australia during their stay acquire eligibility to apply for a second such visa. ‘Specified work’ includes work in the agricultural, mining and construction industries.

Examples of eligible work include picking fruit, herding cattle on a farm, painting buildings, conservation work, stud farming, landscaping etc. The work doesn’t have to be carried out with one employer or in one set block of time. The work must be undertaken in rural and regional Australia which includes parts of New South Wales, parts of Queensland, parts of Victoria, parts of Western Australia and all of Tasmania, South Australia and the Northern Territory. The Australian Capital Territory is not classified as part of regional Australia.

*** For the 12 month period ending 30 June 2016, 42,175 Working Holiday visas were granted to UK citizens (5.7% decline compared to the previous 12 month period). This is made up of 34,097 first Working Holiday visas (subclass 417) and 8,078 second Working Holiday visas (subclass 417).

**** Exchange rate of £1gbp = $1.61aud. Source,

Youth travellers represent a critically important part of Australia's visitor economy - contributing 27 per cent of all international visitor arrivals, and 44 per cent of all international visitor spending. Importantly, young travellers tend to stay longer, disperse more widely throughout the country and they also often return to Australia later in life, with their families or on business. Source: International Visitor Survey

***** The £499 fare for travel between the UK and Perth and are valid from Gatwick to Perth and book by 31Oct for travel 01Sep-30Nov.

About STA Travel
STA Travel is the world’s largest youth travel company and has been spreading love, peace and adventure since 1979. Employing over 2,000 passionate people in 11 amazing countries, we work with like-minded franchisees and licensed partners, creating thrilling adventures and experiences in more than 50 countries. Our retail division will stretch your brain (and you) farther than you thought it could go and there are over 270 branches to visit with presence in almost every country from A – Z. Australia, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, United Kingdom and United States and New Zealand are just some of our retail spaces. We are privately owned by Diethelm Keller Group in Switzerland and that means we do things that are right for our customers – making sure that each and every experience chosen is beyond your wildest dreams.