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Working Holiday Visas

The largest island in the world, a three-month tourist visa doesn’t seem long enough to explore Australia. Have you ever dreamed of being a dive instructor on the Great Barrier Reef, working on an outback cattle ranch, or living and working by the Sydney Harbour? Many Stray travellers choose to see more and do more in Aussie by applying for a Working Holiday Visa. On this page we’ll give you all the details on how to get one, how to find work, and how to apply for a 1-year extension, plus how to get some of your hard earned cash back when you leave!

Visa Requirements

About the 1 year extension

Arrival information

Departure information


What is the Working Holiday Visa?

This visa allows you to stay in Australia for 12 months from the first time you enter the country. Whilst in Australia, you can work while you travel. You may not work for more than 6 months with one employer, and you can study for a maximum of 4 months. 

 

Extending your visa

You can apply for a 1-year extension to your visa! Do this by working for 88 days (or three months) in specified work in regional Australia. See details about applying for an extension here (anchor)

As of 1 July 2019, you may be eligible to apply for a third-year visa (yay), if you have completed 6 months of specified regional work during your second year. The 6 months of work must be carried out after the 1st of July, so the earliest you can apply for this extension will be January 2020.

 

Requirements for a Working Holiday Visa

(subclass 462)

To apply for the visa, you must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Be aged between 18-30 years old (35 years old if you are from Canada or Ireland)
  • Be a citizen from one of the eligible countries
  • Have a valid passport with at least 6 months until expiry
  • Have no criminal convictions and meet certain health & education criteria
  • Have proof of sufficient funds (generally $5000 AUD)
  • You must be a first-time applicant for this visa
  • You must be outside of Australia at the time of application

 

Requirements for a Working Holiday Visa

(subclass 417)

This visa is for a different set of countries and has slightly fewer choices when it comes to working for a visa extension.

To apply for the visa, you must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Be aged between 18-30 years old
  • Be a citizen from one of the eligible countries
  • Have a valid passport with at least 6 months until expiry
  • Have no criminal convictions and meet certain health & education criteria
  • Have proof of sufficient funds (generally $5000 AUD)
  • You must be a first-time applicant for this visa
  • You must be outside of Australia at the time of application

 

How long does it take?

Your initial visa application may take up to 8 weeks to process. We recommend applying for this visa with plenty of time to spare, as you may be required to gather supporting information, such as a medical certificate. In this case, your application may take longer.

 

How much does it cost?

The cost of applying for your Working Holiday Visa (subclass 417) is $450AUD. There are also small credit card/processing fees involved. The second-year visa extension is the same price.

Additionally, you will need to show proof that you have at least $5000AUD in your bank account upon arrival. While the wages in Australia are good, the cost of living can be expensive, and there is no guarantee that you will find work immediately. We strongly recommend having enough money to cover yourself for three months without work, as a worst-case scenario. 

 

Where can I find work?

There are a variety of jobs available for backpackers, from waitressing and bartending to fruit picking and farm work. Which work is available will depend on where you base yourself – in big cities you might find an au pair job, whereas in more rural places it will be easier to source farm work.

We recommend deciding early on whether you’d like to apply for the 1-year extension. If so, you may choose to do the required work early on. 

 

Websites you can use to find work:

Working Holiday Jobs Australia

SEEK website

Backpacker Job Board

Gumtree Jobs

 

Important Tip:

If you’re keen to work as a bartender or do any job where you serve alcohol, you will need to get a Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) certificate. This usually involves completing a short course and test. Note that each state in Australia has different requirements, so ensure that you take your course in the state that you wish to work.

 


About the 1-year extension

You need to engage in paid work for 88 days/three months in Regional Australia, to qualify for the second-year extension. Jobs that are included in the work specified by the Australian Government include:

  • plant and animal cultivation
  • fishing and pearling
  • tree farming and felling
  • mining
  • construction

Once you’ve completed your 88 days of specified work in regional Australia, you can apply for your second-year visa. This can take up to 6 weeks to process, so you’re strongly advised to submit your application at least 28 days before your first-year visa expires.

Research your employer and use job seeker boards to ask for advice from other travellers. Some employers pay better than others, and the working conditions can vary from place to place.  It is important that you check with a potential employer that the work will qualify as your specified work in the regions. 

You will need to supply evidence to the Australian Government that you have completed this work. This can be payslips, tax returns etc. Discuss this with your employer.

 For more information on specified work and qualifying regions, see the Immigration website. 

 

Top Tip:

If you meet the criteria for the second-year visa extension, you don’t have to stay in Australia for 2 consecutive years. You can leave (maybe to Stray New Zealand?), as long as you return to Australia within twelve months of your visa extension being approved. Your second visa will be automatically activated when you re-enter the country.

 


What to do when you arrive

Once you’ve secured your first working holiday visa, booked your flights and got the hang of Aussie slang, you’re ready to go! You’ll need to hit the ground running if you want to get work straight away. Here’s what you’ll need to do.

  1. Get a SIM card – employers won’t bother calling you on an international number that will cost them fees. Grab a free SIM card from the airport, load it up with at least some calling minutes and put that number on your CV/Resume.
  2. Open a bank account – so you can get paid! Some banks require a fixed address before you can open a bank account, which of course is an issue for backpackers! However, some banks allow you to open an account before you arrive in Australia – check out ANZ and NAB.
  3. Get your Tax File Number (TFN) – you can apply for this online, but it may take a few weeks to process.
  4. Find somewhere to live – renting a share house will be a lot cheaper than staying in a hostel long term. Check Gumtree for advertisements of a free room but be aware that you will probably need to pay a bond, which can be quite a big upfront cost. Alternatively, look for a job that includes accommodation (most regional work does).
  5. Start the job hunt!

 

Travelling with Stray and working

Travelling with Stray is a great way to explore the East Coast and work at the same time. Grab a Mick Pass or Tour and head from Sydney to Cairns.  Because you can hop on and off the bus for 12 months, you can use the Stray bus to make your way up the country at your own pace, hopping off and working as you go. If you'd prefer to cruise from Cairns to Sydney, try the Trev Pass or Tour! We reckon it’s the perfect way to combine working and travelling, plus we stop in plenty of regions that qualify for your 88 days work!

 


When you leave Australia

If you worked at all while in Australia, there’s a good chance that you are owed some money when you leave! Woohoo!  There are two ways that you can claim back some of your hard earned cash:

 

Claiming back your tax refund

If you only worked part of the year, or were taxed incorrectly by your employer, you may be eligible for a tax refund. The Australian tax year ends on June 30, so you will need to file a return after this time. If you plan to leave Australia before June 30, you can file a return early.

Visit the Australian Taxation Office to find out how to lodge a tax return

 

Claiming back your Superannuation

Your employer is required to put aside 9.5% of your earnings into a Superannuation fund. When you leave Australia permanently, you can claim this back as cash. You’ll need a few important pieces of information, like your Australian Tax File Number (TFN), and your superannuation scheme number.

You can begin the claims process for your Superannuation as soon as you have left Australia. We work with Back Pay to help get your Superannuation back into your pocket. If you don’t know your TFN, or where your Super is located, Back Pay can do all the work for you.

Get your Superannuation back