Can I work more than 6 months?

“Can I work more than 6 months for one employer while on Working Holiday Visa in Australia?”

We receive this question a lot. There are many situations when you need to stay for more than 6 months with your employer. Maybe even your employer wants you for more. Whatever the reason is – you can not work for the same employer for more than 6 months. In the best-case scenario, you could request an extension of your employment from the Australian Government, anyhow, these extensions are granted under very specific exceptional circumstances. Even then you’ll be allowed to continue your work for less than a month! The only workaround is if your employer’s company have a branch in another city and you relocate in it.

We’ll show you one real-life example on the subject: A client of ours asked us a question regarding his current employment. He is obviously happy with his current employer, thus he would like to work for him a bit more. Here is how the conversation went.

  • Mike: Welcome to the Visa First live chat! How can I help you today?
  • VisaFirst client: Hey – I have been working for almost 6 months in a company and because of the visa status, I have to stop after the 6 month period. My boss has offered me another position in the company. Can I take that for another 6 months or must I move on completely?
  • Mike: You can work for that company only if you change offices. For example, if you are working in Sydney and the company offers you a job in Perth.
  • VisaFirst client: What if its….a bar..and they offered me the position of manager? I can’t take it…and no he’s not willing to sponsor me 🙁
  • Mike: The working holiday program is designed for young people to travel across Australia. And that is why there is a condition for 6 months of employment. In order to stay in the same city, you will need to change the employer.
  • VisaFirst client: Grand. One more question – If I started on the 8th March, when are my 6 months finished,  in August or September?
  • Mike: September.
  • VisaFirst client: Thanks a mill.
  • Mike: You are welcome!
  • VisaFirst client: Bye now…this is weird…but cool.
  • Mike: Thank you for chatting with us today. If you are happy with our service please tell your friends. If not please let us know so that we can provide a better service!

So, you can see the person can not continue to work for the same employer as long as he is in the same city. He can work in another branch of the company, but it has to be located in another area. Working Holiday Makers are entitled to short term occupation only. They are no able to build a career and remain in Australia with a Working Holiday Visa.

According to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship

You can do any kind of work in Australia and may work with the same employer for up to six months.The six month work limitation applies to full-time, part-time, casual and shift work.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us at

Updated: December 2012


Hello, I’m on my first Working Holiday Visa. I’ve been working for the same company for 5 months, and I’m leaving the company in a couple of weeks. I’m thinking to start my own business(consultant). I have two questions regarding to this. First, is there any problem to start my own business (I plan to get ABN) when I’m WHV holder? Second, can I work for the company as a contractor? Thanks so much for your advice! Thanks, K

So who actually checks and what is the penalty for offense?

Hi, I worked for my boss on tax file for 4 months and after this we all switched to ABN? Is this in breach of my VISA if I now continue to work here although I'm in ABN?

no iam already in my 2nd Year visa. i worked the last 2 month from my first year visa in the Company i am still working for(the 6 month start counting from the beginning as soon my 2nd visa started, as far as i know) but can i still extend the work in my company after the 6 month in my 2nd Year. I also know the will aprove it if you travel during the work. and my company did sent me around s, since the last few month ive been working in 5 different mines all over WA and north Queensland. Also my company would confirm they need me to finish a started Project, for a couple month. what are u reckon?

Hi Benz, are you currently on your 2nd working holiday or you are going to extend your first now?

Hi! i am on my 2. working Holiday visa. I worked the last 4 month from my first Year of my WHO at the employer i am still working with. As far as i know i can work again 6 month in my second year. My question is now if i can still extent it, because i am working in the mining industry where they send me to diffrent mines(been in WA than in QDL, now back in WA on a diffrent place) i just want a couple more month. is there a way? Thx

Sorry to say that Rebecca, but there is no way to extend your work with the same employer. The only way this to happen is if your employer has branch in another city. Regards!

Hi I'm on a holiday working visa, working for a company, I would have been working for them for 4 months and they have asked that I do another job for them lasting 6 months, the 2nd job, trades under the same name but different award due to different financial backing, would I be able to do the show still? I'd like to keep this private if you need more information.

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