The Working Holiday Visa has long been recognised by the Australian Government as a huge contributor to their tourism industry and is ideal for those who wish to holiday and travel in the land of Oz. Officially known as visa subclass 417, industries such as agriculture, hospitality and horticulture all benefit from the labour while thousands of backpackers benefit from the Australian way of life and exploring the vast country.
This is the most popular visa for backpackers as it allows you to do any kind of temporary or casual work while in Australia. You will be restricted to working no longer than six months with any single employer and while there you also cannot do any studying nor training for over four months. Once the visa is granted you have 12 months to enter the country, after which you are allowed to stay for 12 months from that entry date. Don’t worry, you won’t be forbidden to leave the country as you can come and go as many times as you want during your 12 month stay, how times have changed… However, if you do leave Australia during your 12 month stay you cannot claim that time back so spend it wisely.
What are the financial requirements?
During the application process you will be required to provide evidence that you have enough money to support yourself initially during the breezy, holiday part of your stay. This amount is generally regarded to be at least AUD$5,000 (around £2,700) but may vary depending on how long you stay in Australia and how much traveling you intend to do. You should also have enough money to leave Australia or already have a return or onward ticket sorted. To prove it you may be asked to provide a certified copy of bank statement or that air ticket out of Australia.
How do I extend my visa?
Enjoying your stay in Australia are you? If you wanted to extend your visa by another year you can simply apply for a second Australian Working Holiday Visa. However, in order to be eligible for that you have to work as a specified worker in a designated area of Australia for 88 days. The work is usually farmwork in rural Australia and you can learn more about that here in our piece about Second Year Working Holiday Visas. Thoughtful eh?.
Will I be eligible?
There are certain requirements, for one you have to be between the ages of 18 and 31 when you apply. Unless you’re Irish as citizens from the Emerald Isle were one of the first to benefit with Canada and France from recent changes to the age limit when it was increased to 35. Other requirements include that you be a passport holder from an eligible partner country with at least six months remaining until renewal, you also need a valid one during your stay. The list of countries also includes Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hong Kong (SAR), Italy, Japan, Korea Republic of (South), Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Taiwan and of course, the United Kingdom. If you are wondering about how all those American travelers still end up in Australia, while they are not eligible for the Australian Working Holiday Visa, they can apply for the Australian Work and Holiday Visa (subclass 462) instead. Finally, dependent children will have to stay at home and should not be accompanied during your stay in Australia.
How do I get one?
Before you apply, you should consider consulting a registered migration agent who would have an in-depth knowledge of handling such applications and even speaking to a visa consultant to assess your eligibility. If you want to do it yourself then applying directly through the Australian Department for Immigration and Border Protection is relatively simple plus you will save yourself some money. Even for the most straightforward of applications it can take up to eight weeks to process an Australian Working Holiday Visa so do be patient. This can take even longer if you have a criminal record or require a medical as part of the application so stay fit and stay out of trouble. The visa itself costs around £280 though there may be additional costs to cover a health assessment, police certification or other tests.
If you want to travel and work in Australia before you pass the age of 30 then the Australian Working Holiday Visa is the one to consider. Just ensure you meet the eligibility requirements, have enough money to get by and your passport has enough time on it and you’re ready to go. Who knows? You might even want to apply for the second year.