Planning to stay and work while visiting Australia? These FAQ will get you up to speed on the Working Holiday Maker visa.
If aged between 18 and 30 and hold a passport for a country or region participating in Australia's Working Holiday Maker program, your customer may be eligible to apply for a 12-month visa which enables them to work in Australia while here.
What is a Working Holiday Visa?
The Australian Government's Working Holiday Maker Program, which includes the Working Holiday visa and the Work and Holiday visa, is a cultural exchange program which enables young travellers to have an extended holiday and earn money through short-term employment. If working in Australia's regional areas, in certain circumstances they may even be able to extend their stay for an additional 24 months.
The Australian Government Department of Home Affairs manages all permanent and temporary immigration matters for Australia including visa applications. Their website runs through everything you need to know about how the Working Holiday Maker program works, participating countries, the type of visa needed to enter Australia, eligibility and obligations and how to apply: Visa Finder
What are the requirements?
The Working Holiday Maker program has two types of visas: Working Holiday visa (Subclass 417) and Work and Holiday visa (Subclass 462) depending on the country of residence. See below for lists of countries eligible for each visa.
If intending to participate in Australia’s Working Holiday Maker program, they must apply for the visa before they arrive. These types of visas allow them to stay and work in Australia in all types of full-time, part-time, casual, shift and voluntary work for up to 12 months. They can leave and re-enter Australia any number of times while the visa is valid.
They can also study for a maximum of four months in Australia in addition to working during their holiday.
They will need to meet certain health, character and financial requirements and declare that they will respect Australian values and obey Australian laws before a visa is granted. They should also have a return or onward ticket or the funds for a fare to depart Australia. Health insurance from their own country is also recommended.
The Working Holiday Maker program is not suitable for those seeking permanent employment or full-time study in Australia. If the primary reason for coming to Australia is to seek employment or study, they should enquire about a business visa or student visa which may better suit their needs.
Advise your customer to read the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs visa requirements carefully to determine eligibility and obligations before applying. There is a non-refundable charge when lodging a visa application.
What are the benefits of a gap year/Working Holiday Visa?
There are a range of personal and professional benefits to doing the Working Holiday Maker program.
A gap year is an incredible opportunity for self-discovery, growth and learning. As they travel, they'll meet new people, learn about new cultures and develop new skills and interests.
If not yet sure what career path they should take, a gap year is an excellent chance to try their hand at different jobs. If totally sure where their career is headed, this could be an ideal opportunity to get real-world experience in their field. Whether it’s paid or volunteer, it will enhance their CV and provide them with valuable contacts in the industry.
When finishing their gap year and begin applying for jobs in their home country, they may find they now possess certain qualities that help them stand out from other applicants. Prospective employers will see they have courage, curiosity, maturity, open-mindedness and independence - all because they spent time travelling, discovering, learning and exploring.
At the very least, they’ll experience an incredible part of the world, make lasting friendships and leave with cherished memories.
Which visa should they apply for?
Apply for the Work and Holiday visa (Subclass 462) if they hold a passport from:
Argentina, Austria, Bangladesh, Chile, China, Czech Republic, Hungary, Indonesia, Israel, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Peru, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, Uruguay, the USA and Vietnam.
Apply for the Working Holiday visa (Subclass 417) if they hold a passport from:
Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Taiwan and the UK.
Arrangements are also being negotiated with other countries, so check the Department of Home Affairs website for the latest updates.
Can they apply for a second Working Holiday Visa?
If they wish to stay longer and continue their working holiday, they may be able to apply for a second visa which will allow them to stay for an extra 12 months.
To be eligible to apply, they must hold or have previously held a working holiday visa, and have completed three months specified work in regional areas of Australia while on their first working holiday visa.
How can they stay for up to three years?
There are a few conditions, but the most important is that they’ll need to complete six months of specified work during their second year to qualify. Previously, WHM visa holders were required to work in specific areas of Australia to qualify, but to make this easier to achieve, WHM visa holders are now able to work in a wider geographical area across Australia. They can also now stay with the same agricultural employer for up to 12 months (previously six months). This gives them the chance to experience Australia’s beautiful countryside – or experience an outback adventure – while getting to know the people in Australia’s incredible countryside at the same time.
Information about harvest work opportunities in regional Australia can be found at the Australian Government’s Harvest Trail website.
What other options are there?
The Australian Government has strict laws regarding employment of non-citizens and penalties for breaking the law. Ensure your customer doesn't try to work without the right visa. If their Working Holiday visa expires and they have not left Australia or applied for another visa, they could risk being detained and possibly removed. They may also not be allowed to return to Australia for a period of time.
There are other visa options if they wish to stay temporarily or permanently in Australia at the end of their working holiday.