Australia’s working holiday maker program: an assessment of its impacts on the Australian economy

Yan Tan, Flinders University
Laurence H Lester, National Institute of Labour Studies, Flinders University
Sue Richardson, Flinders University
Lulu Sun, Flinders University

Working Holiday Makers (WHMs) (individuals 18-30 years) are important contributors to the Australian workforce, as well as agents of social and cultural change. It is likely that they differ significantly from other migrants. While the WHM program’s objective is social, WHMs have three major economic effects on Australia: they contribute to the tourism industry; they contribute towards macroeconomic demand for labour and the current account surplus; and the program supports the microeconomic labour market as a source of temporary or casual supplementary labour. There is, however, scant empirical research into impact of the WHM program—while it is thought that the program is beneficial, it is possible that it detracts from the local economy by increasing competition in labour markets, aggravates the difficulty of Australians (especially youth) in getting jobs, and displaces Australian workers. Using the large-scale 2008 WHM Survey data, this study applies econometric modelling to examine these issues.

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Presented in Poster Session 3: Migration, environment and spatial demography