So, I’m going to be honest. Although I’ve done a lot of research and looked into getting a working holiday visa to spend a year in Australia, I haven’t actually done it so don’t feel i’m the best person to advise fellow travellers on it. I do get a lot of questions about travelling in Australia and didn’t feel I was giving you guys a well rounded experience without some comprehensive answers to the very common questions on working holiday visas. So, i’ve drafted in a little help from my friends…
Harriet is a good friend of mine from school and has recently come back from Australia, having worked there for a year. She has actually got a second year visa and is planning on returning soon (hoping that it can turn into a forever visa – like most people!) and is therefore the perfect person to answer all the questions you could possibly have about the working holiday visa in Australia.
Here she is with a Kangaroo. Because obviously I wanted to emphasise her complete fountain of knowledge aussie-ness.
Everything You Want To Know About The Australia Working Holiday Visa
I sat down with Harriet and asked her these common questions about what it’s actually like travelling to Australia on a working holiday visa and how to get work.
Who Can Apply?
From January 2017, if you are a British citizen and aged 18 – 35, you can apply for an Australian working holiday visa. It is advised to have around $5000 in your bank account to prove you can support yourself, if asked by immigration on arrival. Sometimes proof of onward travel is requested so you can prove your not planning to stay illegally. They do accept less money in bank account apparently. I didn’t get checked for any of this but it can happen.
Is this UK specific?
You can apply for the Working Holiday Visa (Subclass 417) if you are from one of these countries.
Republic of Korea
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
Republic of Ireland
Passport holders from Argentina, Bangladesh, Chile, Indonesia, Malaysia, Portugal, Poland, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, Uruguay and the USA can apply for Work and Holiday Visa (Subclass 462), which has slightly different conditions.
More information can be found here on the Australian Immigration Website.
What Is The Working Holiday Visa?
The working holiday visa allows you to live, work and travel around Australia for up to one year.
How Long Can You Stay In Australia?
You can stay in Australia for 1 year from the date of your arrival. You are able to come and go as you please however it is done from the date you arrived, for example, if you enter on the 20th February 2017 your visa is valid until the 20th February 2018. I recommend not leaving as you are losing valuable weeks, which you might later regret!
Where Can You Work?
You can work anywhere you like. Some companies prefer Australian Citizens but they usually say this on the job advert. Australians are very aware of people on working holiday visas and normally say on the ad if they do not want backpackers. A lot of people work in call centres or in the hospitality industry at first. The work is boring but the minimum wage is $20 AUD an hour, which is really good money. Check job adverts on websites such as Seek.com.au and Australian Indeed for vacancies.
Are There Any Restrictions?
The restrictions have recently changed – I believe you are able to work for one employer for the whole year however are only in the same region and employer for 6 months. You can work in the same region for the whole 12 months, just not with the same employer. Does that make sense?!
Yes! What Do You Do If You Want A Second Year Visa?
Once you get to Australia this is a very common topic of conversation, something you will quickly become accustomed to! If you want a second year in Australia, you have to do regional work for 88 days (3 months) and the employer will sign you off. This must be PAID work and you have to prove when you apply for your 2nd year visa that you have done it with payslips etc.
***As far as I am aware, you are only able to get a second year visa if you are on the Working Holiday Visa (subclass 417) and are not eligible on the Work and Holiday Visa (subclass 462).***
If there is any advice I have, it is to do your farm work! I have heard of countless people who thought that they did not want to live there any longer and were satisfied with a year only to come home to rainy England and wish they had just done it and had another year. It is tricky to get into Australia and work again, so 3 months on a farm is most definitely worth it.
If you want a second year visa it is best to plan ahead, due to the amount of people wanting to do the work it can be hard to find consistent jobs. You can split the work up; so do one month at a time with multiple employers but this can be expensive and I personally think it would be easier to do it all at once with the same employer. The worst thing to do is leave it until your last 3 months, this is very risky as you may not fulfil your 88 day requirement and have to leave having not finished, making any farm work you have done useless! Most people decide to do their farm work in the colder months (June – August) up North to chase the sun and it is quite practical as they don’t want to be picking blueberries in the 40 degree heat of Summer!
How Do You Get A Farm Job?
There are heaps of websites advertising Farm Work however make sure they are eligible to sign you off for your second year. Gumtree is also very popular in Australia so it is worth checking on there too! Hostels provide notice boards, which usually have farm work opportunities on, and the hostel staff are often in contact with farmers directly so it is worth asking around.
It can be a pain finding work as often people are sent to hostels (near the farm) with a promise of work, only to be waiting around for weeks until there is space etc. The best way to get a farm job if possible is through word of mouth, so keep asking around! The farmers will usually want you there within a week of you enquiring so it is best to make sure you are flexible on start dates.
Can You Work On Any Farm?
You can work on any farm that holds an ABN (Business number) and is in a certain regional area. You can double-check the farms postcodes on government websites to see whether that area is classed as regional. Major cities or well-known towns are usually not eligible; most places in the Northern Territory and Queensland can sign you off. Sometimes you can work in jobs not associated with farms as long as it is in the correct regional area.
How Do You Get Sponsored?
If you are serious about staying in Australia longer it is worth looking into sponsorship. If you are on the Skilled Occupations List (SOL) you are able to apply for permanent residency straight away. There is also a Consolidated Occupations List (CSOL) by which a state can sponsor you, as and when they need the skills. These lists change every year so it is worth keeping up to date.
The other way to be sponsored is with a company. This company has to have eligibility to sponsor (not just anyone with an ABN can sponsor you, they have to be registered etc). Find out before you start a job if there is an opportunity to sponsor, if not it is probably better to know sooner rather than later.
Depending on the length of time you have on your visa a company will usually hire you for 6 months and then offer sponsorship, it can be sooner, but you will need to prove you are worth keeping! A company can sponsor you for 4 years on a Temporary Skilled Work Visa (Subclass 457)(This seems to be the most common work visa, however there are loads more worth researching). If you are in a job and sponsored by a company on this visa it is very hard to change, unless you stick to a very similar role in a different company. As far as I am aware, it is much easier to get sponsored if you have a degree however not unachievable if you don’t.
Do you have any specific questions about the Working Holiday visa that you didn’t see here? Leave me a comment below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.
Come and join the adventure…
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