How can I get a Working Holiday Visa for Australia?
Something about Australia has made it irresistible to young travellers for decades.
Perhaps it’s the never-ending list of iconic sights to see. Maybe it’s the unbeatable weather. Or could it be the abundance of job opportunities for backpackers?
Whatever it is, every year thousands of young travellers from around the world apply for Working Holiday Visas in a bid to make their dreams of sampling life ‘down under’ a reality.
But what is a Working Holiday Visa? And how can you get your hands on one if you have ambitions of living and working in Australia?
In this blog, we’ll cover all of the key points to know about these visas as well as answer some of the most common questions that are asked on the subject.
Welcome to the ultimate Encyclopedia of Australian Working Holiday Visas!
What is an Australian Working Holiday Visa?
If you’ve ever dreamed of a gap year in Australia, a Working Holiday (or ‘Backpacker’) Visa is the perfect launching pad for a year of work and travel down under.
The Australian Government’s Working Holiday Maker Program is a cultural exchange program which enables young travellers to have an extended holiday and earn money through short-term employment.
Visa holders can sample the Australian way of life, living and working in OZ for up to 12 months.
You can also use the visa to study in Australia for up to four months.
There are two types of visas in the Working Holiday Maker Program:
Working Holiday visa
Work and Holiday visa
But don’t worry. Everything will become clear!
How can I tell if I am eligible for an Australian Working Holiday Visa?
You can apply for an Australian Working Holiday Visa if you are a citizen of one of the qualifying countries (listed further below) and:
You’re aged between 18 – 30 (or 35, not yet 36 if you’re Canadian or Irish)
You have a valid passport
You have sufficient funds to support yourself when you arrive in Australia
You must also meet certain health, character and financial requirements and declare to respect Australian values and laws before you will be granted with a visa. You’ll also need the funds to purchase a ticket to depart Australia.
What is the age limit for an Australian Working Holiday Visa?
If you’re aged 18 – 35 (age range is dependent on your country of citizenship), you will be eligible to apply for a visa.
Which countries have Working Holiday agreements with Australia?
The following countries have Working Holiday Visa agreements with Australia.
You can apply for a Work and Holiday (Subclass 462) visa if you’re from:
And you can apply for a Working Holiday (Subclass 417) visa if you’re from:
Republic of Ireland
Republic of Korea
How can I apply for an Australian Working Holiday Visa Application?
You can apply for your Backpacker Visa directly with the Australian authorities.
Having said that, visa applications can be tricky.
And if you’d like a hand with the visa paperwork, why not contact the Visa First team!
We will guide you through the entire process and even boost your chances of a successful application (we even have a visa approval success rate of 99.7%).
In addition to securing your visa, we can also provide you with everything you need for your life in Australia.
How much does it cost to apply for an Australian Working Holiday Visa?
The price of securing your Australian Working Holiday visa with Visa First starts from €385.
How long does it take to apply for an Australian Working Holiday Visa?
The normal processing time for an Australian Working Holiday Visa is between three days and three weeks.
Can I apply for an extension to my Australian Working Holiday Visa?
12 months not enough for you?
If you want to stay in Australia after your first Working Holiday Visa ends you can apply for a second Working Holiday Visa which will entitle you to stay in Australia for an extra 12 months.
To be eligible for a second visa, you must have completed at least three months of work in regional areas of Australia while in the country on your first visa.
How long does it take to process a second year Working Holiday Visa application?
The typical processing time for a second year Working Holiday Visa is between three working days and three weeks.
Can I get a third-year Australian Working Holiday Visa?
The Australian Government recently announced a number of changes to the Working Holiday Maker (WHM) Program – the most significant of which allows Backpackers to extend their life down under into a third year.
In order to stay in Australia for a third year, you must complete at six months of rural agricultural work during your second year in Australia.
Note: The 6 months work must all be carried out on or after 1 July 2019, so a successful application cannot be lodged before January 2020.
How long can I work in Australia with a Working Holiday Visa?
A Working Holiday Visa entitles you to carry out short-term work in Australia to help pay for your holiday.
Usually, you can only work for the same employer for six months.
Although, you can work for the same employer for more than six months without asking permission if you work in:
different locations and work in any one location does not exceed six months
plant and animal cultivation anywhere in Australia
certain industries in northern Australia
And remember if you want to secure a second Working Holiday Visa you must complete at least three months of work in regional areas of Australia while in the country on your first Working Holiday Visa.
Do I have to work on a farm while in Australia on a Working Holiday?
No, you don’t have to work on a farm during your Working Holiday.
But in order to apply for a second-year visa, you must have completed three months of specified work in regional Australia. And for a third visa, you must complete at least six months of rural agricultural work during your second year in Australia.
What is specified work?
Specified work is work that is undertaken in a ‘specified’ field or industry in a designated regional area.
Specified work includes:
Plant and animal cultivation, which consist of:
general maintenance crop work
harvesting and/or packing fruit and vegetable crops
maintaining animals for the purpose of selling them or their bodily produce, including natural increase
Fishing and pearling
Tree farming and felling
What areas of Australia are considered regional?
For the purposes of this Working Holiday Visa, regional Australia is any area outside of Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong, the NSW Central Coast, Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Perth, Melbourne or the ACT.
How much money will I need for an Australian working holiday?
Visa hopefuls are required to declare in their application that they have sufficient funds for a return fare when they are leaving Australia. Although there is no need to purchase the return airfare in advance.
You’ll also have to prove that you have enough money to support yourself during your Working Holiday. This would normally be around AU$5,000 (€4,200/£3,500/CA$5,500 – plus enough funds for the return airfare).
Will I need health insurance for my Australian Working Holiday Visa?
If you are moving down under on a temporary work or study visa, you won’t be covered by Australia’s public health system Medicare.
That said, many countries have a reciprocal health agreement with Australia which entitles their citizens to avail of services within the public health system while on a Working Holiday in Australia.
But it’s still definitely a good idea to invest in health insurance for your Working Holiday.
You never know when you might need it!
I’m 35 years old. Can I apply for an Australian Working Holiday Visa?
It depends on your country of citizenship.
In order to apply for an Australian Working Holiday Visa you must be 18 to 30 years old, or 18 – 35 if you are Canadian or Irish.
If you’re a Canadian or Irish citizen and you apply for your visa while you’re 35, but you’re 36 when the processing of your visa is complete, you may still be eligible for a visa.
Can I leave Australia during my Working Holiday?
Yes. You can leave and re-enter Australia as many times as you like while your visa is valid.
I’m from the USA, can I apply for an Australian Working Holiday Visa?