The number of British backpackers choosing Australia for their working holiday dipped slightly last year but the Brits are still the single largest group of travellers to Australia.
The latest annual Australian immigration figures show that out of 111,973 working holiday visas issued by the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship in 2006, nearly a quarter a quarter of those visas went to UK (28,353) citizens.
Overall Australia admitted 7.3 per cent more working holiday makers
than they did in 2005, and the British were closely followed by the South Koreans (23,536), Irish (12,369), Germans (11,925), Japanese (9,102), Canadians (6,754) and French (6,044) taking up most of the remaining visas.
Last year’s decision by the Australian Government to allow working holiday makers to work for up to six months with each single employer has made Australian working holiday even more attractive, and this year the working holiday visa programme is expected to see a further rise in numbers and an anticipated pick up in the number of British visitors.
Economically, Australia benefits from a steady stream of working holiday makers. A study by the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economics and Social Research found that the average stay of a working holiday maker in Australia is for nine months, during which they will have spent an average of $16,000.
Based on just 80,000, working holiday makers are estimated to take up the equivalent of about 41,000 full-year jobs, but about 49,000 full-year jobs are created through their expenditure resulting in a net gain of 8,000 full-year jobs.