The devastating bushfires which have engulfed and destroyed millions of hectares of land across Australia have left an unbelievable amount of destruction in their wake. These fires have been the worst in history, burning for longer and reaching further than any in recent decades. Communities have lost their homes and businesses, land has been scorched and there will be months if not years of recovery to come.
Did you know? Backpackers allowed to extend their stay in Australia to help with bushfire recovery.
Much help is needed, and this is where backpackers come in. The federal government has recently updated visa rules to allow backpackers living and working in areas affected by the bushfires to stay with the same employer for a year, rather than the usual six months. The idea is this extended timeframe will allow backpackers to legally stick around for longer in Australia while also helping to rebuild the country. Construction work in these areas will now count as “work” under the new rules, meaning greater support for longer for communities and businesses, and a longer stay in Australia for backpackers.
It’s a win, win.
Boots on the ground is what its all about. The extent of the destruction is unprecedented and the more people there are to repair and rebuild, the better. Both paid work and volunteer positions which directly benefit bushfire affected communities will count towards the amount of work needed to apply for second or third year visas. Backpackers are expected to help with tasks such as rebuilding homes, farm buildings and repairing damaged fences, tasks vital to the survival of businesses and to allow people to return to their communities. Help with clearing land and repairing damaged roads and railways will also be something backpackers could get involved with.
These new rules are good news for Australians and backpackers alike. Thankfully it isn’t often that disasters of this magnitude happen, but when they do getting the chance to make a real, vital difference to those left behind is humbling. Backpackers now have the opportunity to help Australian communities like never before.
Written by Kate Moxhay at katemoxhay.com