I’ve been in Australia for almost seven months now, and despite what a lot of you might think it isn’t just one massive holiday; although for the first three months this is exactly what it was!
Yes I do love it here and yes I do want to stay but at times it’s really tough, especially for those of us wanting to stay for a second year, and it can be very tempting to just give up on this idea altogether.
If you’ve read my last post you’ll already know about my awful experience trying to get my second year visa, and I know that I’m just one of the majority that will deal with just about anything to stay here for an extra year. Yet sadly the hard work we put in, often in return for horrendous conditions and very low pay is not always paying off. I recently saw a post from a guy who had his application for a second visa refused because he was paid 5 cents less than minimum wage. Now surely this should be the farm’s fault, but the Australian government doesn’t see it that way and so he either has to leave or pay over $1000 for an appeal. I saw another post just a couple of days later from a girl whose visa was refused, despite supplying all of the evidence the government require, all because her payslips didn’t include the hours she worked every day. Add to this the new tax proposals and it is really no surprise that the number of backpackers coming to Australia has dropped. Yet the Australian government do seem surprised by the fall in numbers and clearly live in some sort of bubble in Canberra.
Currently there is a tax free threshold, meaning that we can claim back the tax we paid on any earnings below $18k (and this is applicable to anybody working in Australia, not just backpackers). However under a new proposal backpackers will be expected to pay 19% on every single dollar earned. I recently saw a post on Facebook with a petition to stop these changes, and an Australian had commented that ‘hard-working Australians have to pay tax’, so why shouldn’t we. But would they be happy to lose an extra $3500 of their hard earned cash every year? I don’t think so! We can also currently claim our superannuation back when leaving Australia, but under new plans the government will automatically take 95% of it when we leave.
But there is one positive thing to come out of the new proposals and that is a reduction to the cost of a working holiday visa in an attempt to attract more backpackers to Australia. This very generous move would see the cost reduced by a massive $50 (from $440 to $390) which definitely compensates for the thousands we are potentially going to lose in tax and super. So thanks Aussie government, you’re the best!