The Department of Immigration & Border Protection has officially announced that as of 31st August 2015 the counting of volunteer work as part of the 88 days of work requirement for the Working Holiday (subclass 417) has been banned.
The Department has backed up this decision by stating that the ban was necessary to stop the large amount of abuse of the Working Holiday (subclass 417) visa programme.
This decision has infuriated Australian farmers as they will no longer have young backpackers assisting with the work on the farms as it has been doing for a long time now.
This decision was announced to be implemented in December however the Department has brought forward their decision by several months.
The Willing Workers on Organic Farms (WWOOF) scheme was put in place to match willing young workers to volunteer on Australian farms as part of their Working Holiday Visa (subclass 417) conditions.
Now due to this decision, the young people under this scheme are left in a position where they now have to go to another area or they will have to find paid work within the agricultural industry and ensure they can provide evidence of paid employment to complete their 88 day requirement.