Planning a working holiday in Australia? Here are some answers to the most often asked questions, as well as guidance on where to find more information.
Working 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.
For detailed information on working in Australia, including on a Working Holiday Maker visa, and to find out appropriate visa and eligibility requirements visit the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s website at:
What is a Working Holiday Maker visa?
Australia offers a Working Holiday Maker program that allows young travelers 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. For details visit http://www.immi.gov.au/visitors/working-holiday/.
Is there an age limit on a working holiday maker visa?
You must be aged between 18 and 30 years at the time of applying for your visa. Find out more details at http://www.immi.gov.au/visitors/working-holiday/
Which nationalities can apply for a working holiday maker visa?
Countries currently participating in the Working Holiday and Work and Holiday programmes include the United Kingdom, United States of America, Canada, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Poland, Turkey, Republic of Cyprus, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan, Republic of Korea, Taiwan and Bangladesh.
To find out the countries/regions participating in the working holiday visa programme and the correct visa to apply for visit: https://www.immi.gov.au/visitors/working-holiday/visa-options.htm
How much does a working holiday maker visa cost?
There is a non-refundable charge when you lodge your visa application. For current working holiday visa application costs visit: http://www.immi.gov.au/Help/Pages/fees-charges/visa.aspx
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. For details visit: http://www.immi.gov.au/visitors/working-holiday/
Can I leave Australia again once I’ve entered on a working holiday maker visa?
You can leave and re-enter Australia any number of times while the visa is valid. For more information visit: http://www.immi.gov.au/visitors/working-holiday/.
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: http://www.immi.gov.au/visitors/working-holiday/.
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 specified work in regional areas of Australia while on your first Working Holiday visa. Check to ensure the work you are undertaking and the regional area of Australia is eligible under the guidelines. The length of time you can stay in Australia if you are granted a second Working Holiday visa depends on your current circumstances at the time you apply. 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. You can apply for a second Working Holiday visa either while you still have your first Working Holiday visa or at a later date. For more information visit: www.immi.gov.au/Visas/Pages/417.aspx
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: http://www.immi.gov.au/Work/Pages/Work.aspx or http://www.immi.gov.au/Visas/Pages/Find-a-visa.aspx
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. For more information and to apply visit: http://www.immi.gov.au/Visas/Pages/417.aspx or http://www.immi.gov.au/Visas/Pages/462.aspx
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. For more information visit: https://www.immi.gov.au/about/charters/client-services-charter/.
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. There are many opportunities in the tourism, hospitality and agricultural industries, to name a few.
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 programmes 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 enquire about a student visa which may better suit your needs.Visit: http://www.immi.gov.au/Study/Pages/Study.aspx.
I’d like to study in Australia, where do I find out more?
For more information visit www.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. For more information visit: http://www.immi.gov.au/Visas/Pages/417.aspx or http://www.immi.gov.au/Visas/Pages/462.aspx
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 http://www.fairwork.gov.au/Pages/default.aspx
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. Many banks will make this process simpler for visitors on a working holiday visa provided that they open the account within 28 days of entering Australia. The Australian Bankers Association provides helpful independent information to help you choose a bank account that best suits your needs. www.bankers.asn.au
Australia Post also provides banking services on behalf of banks and financial institutions, so you can use your credit or debit card for deposits and withdrawals, account balance enquiries, paying credit card bills and sending money overseas. www.auspost.com.au
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 website https://www.ato.gov.au/Forms/Permanent-migrants-or-temporary-visitors---online-TFN-application/
Where can I find out about other people’s Australian working holiday experiences?
A fact sheet about the working holiday maker programme is also available on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s website at: www.immi.gov.au/media/fact-sheets/49whm.htm.