New reports from the department show that Australia experienced record interest from international visitors and working holiday makers in 2012.
In the second half of 2012, just under two million visitor visas were granted, an increase of almost six per cent compared to the same period last year.
Interest from Asia is on the rise too—tourism visa applications from China increased by 16.5 per cent or more than 194 000 applications and applications from Singapore showed an increase of almost 29 per cent or more than 81 000 applications. There were more than 400 000 visitor visa holders in Australia at the end of 2012.
More than 220 000 working holiday maker (WHM) visas were granted in 2011–12 and the program appears set for another big year in 2012–13. In the second half of 2012, more than 136 000 WHM visas were granted, an increase of more than 23 per cent compared to the same period last year. At the end of 2012 there were more than 162 000 working holiday makers in Australia.
The top five countries for WHM visa grants in the second half of 2012 were the United Kingdom, Taiwan, South Korea, Germany and France.