Watersports in Broome, WA © GoPro and Tourism Australia

Broome, WA © GoPro and Tourism Australia

How to get a second year Working Holiday visa

Second year Australian Working Holiday visa FAQ

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.

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: most people 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
  • Mining
  • Construction
  • 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.

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.

  • What will I be paid? If the employer pays based on piece rates, ask how wages will be calculated.
  • How many days and weeks of work are available?
  • Will I receive lodging? If so, what are the living conditions?
  • Will I have a contact for raising any issues?
  • Do you have a Work Health and Safety policy? If so, how will I be trained on job safety?

After you know a bit more about the job, make sure you understand your rights. If you want to learn more, or have any questions or concerns about your employer in Australia, visit the Australian Government's Fair Work website.

Finally, prepare yourself for your specified work. Research the climate, the equipment you need and what an average day looks like. Preparing yourself beforehand will ensure a smooth transition when you arrive on the job.

You’ll need to apply for your Second Working Holiday visa (subclass 417) online using an ImmiAccount. You’ll need to attach scanned, colour copies of your identity documents and pay AUD $510*. If work requirements apply to your country of citizenship, 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 April 2023

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. Most people will need to complete an extra six months of specified work in regional areas of Australia. Learn more about the third year Working Holiday visa here.

Jobs that count toward a second Working Holiday visa in Australia

Many people choose to work in plant or animal cultivation – often referred to as ‘farm work’. Fruit picking is popular for several reasons; generally, no prior experience is required, and there is seasonal work available throughout the year in different, beautiful locations. You’re usually paid by how much you pick – so if you work hard, you could earn above the minimum wage. Farm work can also include tending to and milking gentle dairy cows, working on an outback cattle station, or assisting on a vineyard and learning about the intricacies of viticulture.

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.

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 is your best bet since most skippers hire via word of mouth. Usually, you’ll receive a percentage of the catch as your wage.

Another option is working the pearl harvesting season in places like Broome and the Coburg Peninsula, northwest of Darwin. It starts in April and runs until October. Most boats head out for 10 days to two weeks at a time, with the crew getting free accommodation and meals in addition to their wages.

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.

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.