Posted by: adventuressetravels | May 8, 2012

Steinbeck’s Australia

You can make $30 an hour picking fruit!  They pay $100 an hour to work in mines!  Australia is the new hot spot for migrant farm workers.

These rumors of enormous paychecks for picking fruit whispered among the travel community calls to mind Steinbeck’s world.  And just like Steinbeck’s characters, travelers from all over the world are drawn to this land of plenty.

Because Australia is so under-populated, workers are in short-supply, so the country welcomes travelers as migrant workers and offers a 12-month work and travel visa.  The primary purpose of your visit must be for tourism so workers cannot work for more than 6-months for an employer.  This makes sense – the government doesn’t necessarily want people immigrating to Australia.

Steinbeck being one of my favorite authors, the more I thought about it, the better experiencing the migrant-worker life sounded.  Not only could I make some money and see a new country, I could experience a modern-day version of lifestyle I had read about for years.  Sure, this would be a much softer easier version, working in Steinbeck’s bleak, hard world would probably have killed me, but the idea intrigued me.  So I started doing some research on the internet.

Unfortunately these working holiday visas are only offered to people from certain countries.  More than that, and more relevant to me, they are terribly ageist.  They are offered to people between the ages of 18-30.  This is probably because the government believes that people in their 30s are more likely to immigrate, but whatever excuse they use it is terrible discrimination.  These things should be determined on a case-by-case basis.

So sadly, though it is possible to find a job in Australia if you are older, doing it through a Working Holiday visa is not.  Steinbeck’s Australia is not open to me.  To me, this is nothing short of discrimination.  If wants to travel and supplement their income by working, or to experience life as a migrant worker for a bit, then they should not be banned at an arbitrary age.

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