Work, Volunteer and Study in Australia - Frequently Asked Questions

Join the droves of young people who choose Australia for a gap year, career break, working holiday or overseas study. Work, Volunteer and Study in Australia - Frequently Asked Questions
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Work, Volunteer and Study in Australia - FAQ

Join the droves of young people who choose Australia for a gap year, career break, working holiday or overseas study.

Work, Volunteer and Study in Australia - Frequently Asked Questions


Planning a working holiday in Australia? Here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions.

Can I work legally in Australia?
If you intend to work while you are on holiday in Australia, you must apply for the correct visa before you arrive. The Australian Government has strict laws regarding employment of non-citizens and penalties for breaking the law. This applies to all types of full-time, part-time, casual, shift and voluntary work.  See border.gov.au.

What is a Working Holiday Maker visa?
Australia offers a Working Holiday Maker program that allows young adults from participating countries to have an extended holiday in Australia and earn money through short-term employment. There are two types of Working Holiday Maker visas: Working Holiday visa (Subclass 417) and Work and Holiday visa (Subclass 462). The visa you should apply for depends on your country of residence. These types of visas allow you to stay and work in Australia for up to 12 months. See border.gov.au.

Is there an age limit on a Working Holiday Maker visa?
Yes. You must be aged between 18 and 30 years at the time of applying for your visa.

Which nationalities can apply for a Working Holiday Maker visa?
Countries currently participating in the Working Holiday and Work and Holiday programs include: Belgium, Canada, Republic of Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Taiwan, United Kingdom, Argentina, Bangladesh, Chile, People’s Republic of China, Indonesia, Israel, Malaysia, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, USA and Uruguay. See border.gov.au.

How much does a Working Holiday Maker visa cost? 
There is a non-refundable charge when you lodge your visa application, depending on the date of your application. For current working holiday visa application costs and a pricing estimator visit border.gov.au.

How long is a Working Holiday Maker visa valid?
Once you are granted a Working Holiday Maker visa, you will have 12 months to arrive in Australia. You are allowed to stay for a maximum of 12 months from the date that you first enter the country.

Can I leave Australia again once I’ve entered on a Working Holiday Maker visa?
Yes. You can leave and re-enter Australia any number of times while the visa is valid.

How long can I work on a Working Holiday Maker visa?
You can undertake temporary employment in Australia for up to six months with any one employer. You can also study for up to four months. For more information visit border.gov.au.

Can I stay longer?
If you hold (or have previously held) a Working Holiday (Subclass 417) visa and work in Australia’s regional areas, you may be able to extend your stay for another 12 months with a second Working Holiday visa. To be eligible you must have completed three months (or 88 days) specified work in regional areas of Australia while on your first Working Holiday visa.

What counts as ‘specified’ work in Australia?
There are many different industries you can work to complete your specified work requirement including seasonal farm work, forestry, fishing, mining and construction. This work must be completed in regional Australia and excludes Sydney, Newcastle, the Central Coast, Wollongong, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Melbourne and Perth.

What should I do if I have overstayed my Working Holiday visa?
There are heavy penalties if your Working Holiday visa expires and you have not left Australia or applied for another visa. You may also not be allowed to return to Australia for a period of time. The Community Status Resolution Service (CSRS) is a free service that can grant you a bridging visa while you resolve your immigration matter. A bridging visa is a short-term, temporary visa that allows you to stay in Australia lawfully until your immigration matter is finalised.

Are there any other options to stay longer, such as being sponsored?
There may be options if you wish to stay temporarily or permanently in Australia at the end of your working holiday. To find out appropriate visa and eligibility requirements visit border.gov.au.

How do I apply for a Working Holiday Maker visa?
Applications are to be made through the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. You can apply online, by post or courier after completing the relevant forms.

How long will my Working Holiday Maker visa application take?
A Working Holiday Visa (Subclass 417) and Work and Holiday visa (Subclass 462) can generally be issued in around six days. Second Working Holiday visas take around 14-21 days to process. Processing times may be affected by factors such as the completeness of applications lodged and additional checks performed by visa processing officers, such as those relating to health and character.

What kinds of work can I expect to do on my working holiday?
You can do any kind of lawful work on your working holiday visa including full-time, part-time, casual, shift and voluntary work.

Where can I find out about available jobs? 
Tourism Australia has partnered with online recruitment agency monster.com to create a website of job vacancies available for working holiday visitors.

Information about harvest work opportunities in regional Australia can be found at the Australian Government’s Harvest Trail website: www.harvesttrail.gov.au.

Can I study on a working holiday?
You can study for up to four months during your 12 month visa. The working holiday programs are not suitable for those seeking to study full-time in Australia. If your primary reason for coming to Australia is to study you should ask about a student visa, which may better suit your needs.

Do I need a student visa?
The Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) will grant you a student visa if your course is registered, or part of a registered course, on a full-time basis. Under a student visa, you’ll have access to Australia’s subsidised student health cover and can apply for permission to work part-time. For more information visit studyinaustralia.gov.au.  

How much money do I need to bring to Australia on my working holiday visit?For your Working Holiday Maker visa application you must demonstrate that you have access to sufficient funds to support yourself for the initial stage of your holiday. You should also have a return or onward ticket or the funds for a fare to depart Australia.

How much can I expect to earn? 
Australian laws set out pay rates and conditions of employment. To find examples of wages across a number of industries visit fairwork.gov.au.

Will I have to pay taxes? 
Taxes will be deducted from any money you make. You will also need to open an Australian bank account and obtain a tax file number before you start work.

How do I open an Australian bank account?
Opening a bank account can be done on arrival, just visit a bank with your passport and relevant documentation. The Australian Bankers Association provides helpful independent information to help you choose a bank account that best suits your needs. 

How do I apply for a Tax File Number?
If you have a valid visa already issued, which allows you to work in Australia, you can apply for an Australian Tax File Number online via the Australian Taxation Office.

Can I claim any superannuation earned while working in Australia?
If you are a temporary resident who works in Australia, you are entitled to receive a superannuation guarantee (also known as ‘super’) from your employer/s. 

Temporary residents can claim their super when all of the following criteria apply:
- They visited Australia on a temporary visa (excluding Retirement visa holders and Investor Retirement visa holders)

- Their visa has ceased to be in effect (expired or cancelled) 
- They have left Australia
- They are not an Australian or New Zealand citizen, or a permanent resident of Australia

This payment is known as a Departing Australia Superannuation Payment (DASP). See ato.gov.au for more information.

How do I claim my Departing Australia Superannuation Payment (DASP)?
The easiest and cheapest way to claim a DASP is using the ATO’s free DASP online application system. The system can be used to locate and claim super balances, whether held by a super fund or by the ATO. 

Note: New Zealand citizens leaving Australia permanently may be able to transfer their super to New Zealand under the Trans-Tasman Retirement Savings Portability scheme for individuals.

Can I volunteer in Australia?
Volunteering is a great way to get involved with a local community and deepen your Australian experience. WWOOF (Willing Workers on Organic Farms) place travellers on organic farms, where farmers provide flexible jobs in exchange for accommodation and meals. Expect to work half a day for a full day’s board. This model applies to a huge variety of other volunteer roles, from rescuing turtles in Cape York to organising arts festivals in Arnhem Land. You could also sign up as a Conservation Volunteer and work as part of a team to help preserve precious Australian eco-systems. Your meals, accommodation and travel to and from the project are provided.  There are also lots of global organisations offering volunteer research expeditions and volunteer holidays in Australia.

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