The Return Of The Backpackers

April 5, 2023
Waytree founders - Nic Terpkos (left), Harry Lowther (middle), James Dernie (right).

A new hope for Australia’s seasonal employers to connect with working holidaymakers.

PERTH, WA, 21 March 2022 — Waytree, a Perth-based startup, has seen a dramatic increase in the number of working holidaymakers looking for agriculture and hospitality work across Australia since international borders opened on 21 February 2022.

“Within weeks of the border opening we’ve seen a 300% increase in new jobseekers applying for farm and hospitality jobs, particularly from the UK, France and Italy” said Nic Terpkos – Founder/CEO of Waytree. “What’s exciting is seeing working holidaymakers on social media keen to get stuck into farm and regional hospitality work upon arrival in order to secure their second year visa, which is great news for short-staffed businesses.”

There are 30,000 visa holders currently offshore, which is a significant increase on the mere 287 visas processed at the end of the last financial year, 30 June 2021.

To encourage the speedy return of foreign workers to Australia, the Federal Government has offered to reimburse the visa costs of working holidaymakers ($495) and international students ($606) that arrive before the end of April.

It comes as no surprise that the Federal Government is keen on their return given the importance of foreign workers to Australia’s economic recovery post-pandemic.

According to Tourism Australia [TA], pre-pandemic there were 300,000 working holidaymakers arriving in Australia each year, filling 250,000 job vacancies and contributing $3.2 billion to the economy.

For Ed Milne, National Manager of Acclaimed Workforce, the return of working holidaymakers is a welcome relief.

“Working holidaymakers play a key role in our Harvest Trail Services business, filling fruit picking jobs and hospitality roles in regional Australia,” Ed says, adding that “it has been difficult for everyone in the industry to find staff the past two years, but now there appears to be some light at the end of the staff shortage tunnel.”

Regional communities can be forgiven for sharing Ed’s optimism given that one in three jobs taken up by working holidaymakers are outside Australia’s major cities.

Given the prolonged absence of working holidaymakers and reduced word-of-mouth factor, many businesses now face the dilemma of how to reconnect with the arriving working holidaymakers.

Chantal from Euri Gold Farms was one of many farmers searching for innovative ways to connect with jobseekers throughout the pandemic and stumbled upon Waytree.

“I was amazed to find something like this [Waytree] existed. We managed to fill most of our vacancies and when the borders reopened we didn’t need to do anything because we already felt connected with the local and international jobseeker community... its really given us the confidence to focus our attention back on our core business.”
Euri Gold Farms

After two years there may finally be some good news for short-staffed Ag and hospitality businesses. It appears the backpacker’s dream of embarking on the adventure of a lifetime and coming to Australia to work and explore is still alive and well.

For any business interested in connecting with the new wave of working holidaymakers coming to Australia, you can list your jobs and become an employer on Waytree for free - head to

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