There are so many good reasons to extend a Working Holiday visa. Here’s how to sort it.
Say your customer is six months into their stay in Australia and are really enjoying life here – so much so they can’t imagine going home. Don’t panic! It is possible to extend a Working Holiday Visa. All they need to do is plan a little in advance, put in the paperwork and get ready to spend another 12 months in the sun.
What are the benefits of staying a second year?
With so much to do and so much to discover, it’s not surprising that many working holiday makers want to stay in Australia for a second year. Beyond making more friends and unforgettable memories, staying for an additional year can help build their skills further.
Whether they choose to work or volunteer during their time in Australia, they're building marketable skills that can help them secure a job on return. Not only will they enhance their problem-solving and communication skills, but also customer service, efficiency and even food production. Staying for a second year allows even more experience to be added to their CV.
What is required to stay on for a second year?
If, early on in their stay, they have an inkling that a year might not be long enough to satisfy their Aussie wanderlust, there’s one really important consideration to factor into the equation: they must complete three months of specified work while the first WHV is still valid.
That work will have to be completed in regional or northern Australia, and it has to be paid in accordance with Australian legislation and awards. What does that mean? They’ll need pay slips and will contribute tax and superannuation payments. Voluntary work doesn’t count and neither does anything informal, such as cash-in-hand work.
The work falls into four categories:
- Plant or animal cultivation in northern Australia and other specified regional areas
- Fishing and pearling in northern Australia
- Tree farming and felling in northern Australia
- Tourism and hospitality in northern Australia
In total, they need to complete the equivalent of three months’ full-time work, or a total of 88 days. They can either do this as a single block – as a full-time or part-time worker – or in several shorter blocks. The main thing to remember is they can’t complete it in a shorter timeframe than three months (by say, working double shifts for six weeks). If they want to find out more about the types of jobs they can take on, where to find vacancies, and the specific geographical locations that are acceptable, read more here.
What sort of work should they choose?
Your customer can choose from several different industries, and from different locations around Australia, to carry out their three months’ work. Imagine guiding tours through the beach town of Broome, pouring the perfect flat white in a trendy Darwin cafe or working as an outback jillaroo or jackaroo - a trainee on a sheep or cattle station. They’re all possibilities.
Plant or animal cultivation
Many people choose to work in plant or animal cultivation (often referred to ‘farm work’). This can include fruit picking and fruit packing, which is popular for several reasons – generally no prior experience is required, and the different seasons mean there is work available throughout the year, in different (and often beautiful) locations. Fruit picking is what people refer to as ‘piecework’ – as usually paid by how much is picked – so if a hard worker, they could earn up to AUD $1000 per week.
But that’s not the only kind of farm work available. They could spend their days tending to and milking gentle dairy cows, working as a jackaroo or jillaroo on an outback cattle station, or assisting on a vineyard and learning about the intricacies of viticulture.
Fishing and pearling
If they love the ocean, and seafood, they may wish to consider working on a fishing boat as a crew member or cook. The tiger prawn season lasts from about August to December, so showing up to wharves in Cairns and the Northern Territory in about July can be a good idea, since most skippers hire via word of mouth. Usually they'll receive a percentage of the catch as their wage. If working the entire lucrative banana prawn season (about 10 weeks) in Cairns, it’s not uncommon to earn around AUD $15,000.
Another option is working the pearl harvesting season in places like Broome and the Coburg Peninsula, northwest of Darwin. It starts in April and runs until October. Most boats head out for 10 days to two weeks at a time, with crew earning about AUD $150 a day, with free accommodation and meals.
Tree farming and felling
Forestry jobs vary from collecting seeds to cutting felled trees into logs, and are available at most times of the year. Prior experience is often required, but for those with little experience, pay starts at about AUD $19 an hour, with loadings paid for weekend work. Work is often advertised on Australian job sites, otherwise there are some Australian recruitment agencies that specialise in this area.
If they have existing skills with heavy machinery, they may wish to work in a mine. There are plenty of opportunities for FIFO (fly in fly out) workers, many of them in some of Australia’s most incredible outback locations, such as Western Australia’s Pilbara region. The pay can be excellent, with on site accommodation usually provided, as well as earnings of up to AUD $3000 a week. They’ll need some important paperwork, including clearance from the Australian Federal Police and a copy of their legal record from the police in their home country, to apply. Holding additional certification, such as a current manual drivers license, or a first aid certificate, or having experience in a job that requires physical and psychological fitness (for example, employment in the military) will further help the employment search. Be aware that cooking and cleaning work on mine sites isn’t eligible work when looking to extend a Working Holiday Visa.
Work in construction – either residential or commercial – can range from preparing sites and erecting scaffolding to painting new buildings. Untrained work as a labourer in construction pays a minimum of AUD $22.50 an hour, but workers are entitled to a higher rate for working overtime. If lucky enough to have qualifications in carpentry, plumbing or electricity, they can expect a base rate of about AUD $30 an hour.
No matter which industry they choose, suggest they research different ways to get a job and how much they can earn.
How do they apply for their second year visa?
They’ll need to apply for a Second Working Holiday visa (subclass 417) online using an ImmiAccount. Again, they’ll need to attach scanned, colour copies of their identity documents and pay AUD $450. They’ll also need to provide proof of completing the three months of specified work: pay slips or bank statements showing pay going into their account (or a piece rate agreement with their employer if paid that way); group certificate; payment summaries; tax return; or an employer reference. Filling out Form 1263 will help their application be processed faster.
Is it possible to add a third year?
Recent changes to the working holiday visa program mean that, from 1 July 2019, anyone in their second year of a Working Holiday Visa can apply for an extra 12-month extension if they complete an extra six months of specified work in regional areas of Australia.