Getting a second year Working Holiday visa
There are so many good reasons to extend your Working Holiday (417) visa. Here’s how to sort it.
Say you’re six months into your stay in Australia and you’re really enjoying life here – so much so you can’t imagine going home. Don’t panic! It is possible to get a second year on your Australian Working Holiday visa. All you need to do is plan a little in advance, put in your 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 get a second Working Holiday visa to extend their stay in Australia. Beyond making more friends and unforgettable memories, staying for an additional year can help you build up your skills.
Whether you choose to work or volunteer during your time in Australia, you’re building marketable skills that can help you secure a job when you return home. Not only will you learn problem-solving and communication, but also customer service, efficiency and even food production. Staying for a second year allows you to add even more experience to your CV.
What is required to stay on for a second year?
If you think a year might not be long enough to satisfy your Aussie wanderlust, there’s one really important consideration to factor into your equation: you must complete three months of specified work while your first Working Holiday visa is still valid.
That work needs to be completed in a specified area of regional Australia, and it has to be paid in accordance with Australian legislation and awards. What does that mean? You’ll need pay slips and will contribute tax and superannuation payments. Informal work, such as cash-in-hand work, does not count as a second-year visa job.
The required work falls into six categories:
- Plant or animal cultivation, often called 'farm work'
- Tree farming and felling
- Fishing and pearling
- Paid and volunteer disaster recovery work
In total, you need to complete the equivalent of three months’ full-time work, or a total of 88 days. You can either do this in a single block – as a full-time or part-time worker – or in several shorter blocks. The main thing to remember is you can’t complete it in a shorter timeframe than three months (for example, working double shifts for six weeks). If you want to find out more about the types of jobs you can take on, where to find vacancies, and the specific geographical locations that are acceptable, you can read more here.
What should I know before starting my specified work?
You can choose from several different industries and from different locations around Australia to carry out your three months’ work. Regional work has major upsides, like lifelong friends and exploring little-known places, but it’s important to choose work that’s safe and compliant with Australia’s Fair Work Legislation.
Before accepting a job in farm work or other types of specified work, there are some great questions to ask your potential employer. By asking the following questions, you can make an informed decision about the job.Show more
Which jobs count toward a second Working Holiday visa in Australia?
You can choose from several exciting second-year visa jobs in different locations around Australia to carry out your three months of specified work. Imagine plucking pearls from the aqua waters of Broome, harvesting grapes in the famous Barossa wine region or working as an outback jackaroo or jillaroo – 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 as ‘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 beautiful) locations. Fruit picking is what people refer to as ‘piecework’ – you’re usually paid by how much you pick – so if you work hard, you could earn above the minimum wage.Show more
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 around minimum wage, with loadings paid for weekend work. These types of second-year visa jobs are often advertised on Australian job sites like Seek and Jora.
Fishing and pearling
If you love the ocean, and seafood, you might 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, you’ll receive a percentage of the catch as your wage.Show more
If you have existing skills with heavy machinery, you 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. You’ll need some important paperwork, including clearance from the Australian Federal Police and a copy of your legal record from the police in your home country, to apply.Show more
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 often pays above minimum wage, and workers are entitled to a higher rate for working overtime. If you’re lucky enough to have qualifications in carpentry, plumbing or electricity, you can expect an even higher base rate.
Paid and volunteer disaster recovery work
Changes to the Working Holiday Maker program mean that working holiday makers can now count paid and volunteer disaster recovery work in declared disaster areas towards the “specified work” needed to apply for a second or third year Working Holiday visa. This work includes construction, farming, or any other work in association with recovery or restitution of land, property, farm animals or wildlife, as well as providing support services or assistance to people living, working or volunteering in the affected areas. You can also stay with a single employer for 12 months (previously six months) when working in bushfire recovery. Find out more about specified work here.
How do I apply for my second-year visa?
You’ll need to apply for your Second Working Holiday visa (subclass 417) online using an ImmiAccount. Again, you’ll need to attach scanned, colour copies of your identity documents and pay AUD $495*. You’ll also need to provide proof of completing your three months of specified work: pay slips or bank statements showing pay going into your account (or a piece rate agreement with your employer if you were paid this way); group certificate; payment summaries; tax return; or an employer reference. Learn more about how to extend your Working Holiday visa here.
*Correct as of November 2021
Is it possible to add a third year?
Changes to the working holiday visa program mean that anyone in their second year of a Working Holiday visa can apply for a 12-month extension if they complete an extra six months of specified work in regional areas of Australia. Learn more about the third year Working Holiday visa here.
Note: Tourism Australia is not the Australian government visa granting authority. The visa granting authority is the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs. For up-to-date information, please refer to their website: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-listing/work-holiday-417.
The content on this page is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult with an Australian qualified immigration lawyer or migration agent if you are seeking legal advice.