Where to find second year visa jobs and farm work in Australia
If you’re looking to extend your Working Holiday (subclass 417) visa, here are some top locations to do your 88 days of specified work.
You’ve come to Australia on a Working Holiday visa, and you’ve decided you want to spend an extra 12 months Down Under. What now? Before you can apply for your Working Holiday visa extension, you need to complete three months, or 88 days, of specified work in certain industries and locations.
You can work in industries like farming, fishing and construction, and from 2020, working holiday makers can also count bushfire recovery work in designated disaster areas towards their specified work requirement. Learn more here.
Whichever job you choose, you're sure to find yourself in some of Australia's most unique locations. Here are five popular places where you can find eligible jobs for your second-year visa – and have fun doing it.
Australia’s northernmost capital is well worth getting to know. Walk along Darwin’s main strip, Mitchell Street, and the first thing you’ll notice is the plethora of outdoor bars, which overflow with people from around the world.
There are fruit picking jobs aplenty around Darwin and the nearby town of Humpty Doo. Many people enjoy picking mangoes, with work available between September and November.
Winter can mean cold weather, but not in Cairns. Some may call this famous Queensland tropical city one of the best places to do farm work in Australia. It's not only a fantastic base for exploring the incredible beauty of the Great Barrier Reef, but it offers plenty of adventures, including white-water rafting, sky diving and explorations through the lush Daintree Rainforest. A major backpackers’ hub, you’ll find plenty of young travellers here (especially during the dry season, April to November), and lots of eligible work too, especially in fruit picking. The main crop around here is bananas, which are harvested year-round, so there's generally a good deal of farm work available.
The romantic outback beach town of Broome in Western Australia is a hugely popular choice for working holiday makers. This is one of the few bases in Australia where you can find a job in the pearling industry, with a harvest period from April to October. Not only is this when famous companies like Cygnet Bay Pearls are looking for extra staff (mainly backpackers), it’s also peak season for travellers and coincides with the dry season, which is characterised by warm days, clear skies and balmy nights.
The pretty beach town of Bowen is located on the Great Barrier Reef coastline in Queensland, and offers plenty of farm work, thanks to its perfect tropical climate. On average, Bowen receives eight hours of sunshine each day, year-round, and it’s only a 40-minute drive to Airlie Beach, the jumping-off point for exploring the stunning Whitsunday Islands. So there’s plenty of things to do on your days off! It’s possible to find fruit-harvesting work in Bowen any time between May and December, but the peak periods are May to November for tomatoes, September to November for melons, and December for mangoes. Packing fruit in the farm sheds is another option.
The bohemian surf mecca of Byron Bay in New South Wales is a popular destination to complete the program’s three-month work requirements, home to everything from cattle farms to macadamia fields. Finding work here can be competitive – make sure you arrive early in the season, or begin contacting employers before you even show up. If you’ve got access to a car, labouring jobs on building sites is also a good option, otherwise fruit-picking and packing is available during February and March, and again from May to December, when you could find yourself filling baskets of avocados, lychees, macadamias and more. And, of course, you can round your days off with explorations around the town’s cool bars, spectacular beaches and trendy hinterland villages.
Know before you go
Specified work has some great benefits; not only can you stay an extra year, but you’ll also get the opportunity to discover a different side of Australia. But before you accept a job, make sure you talk to your potential employer about wages, living conditions and safety protocols. If you want to learn more about workers’ rights, or have questions or concerns about your Australian employer, visit the Australian Government Fair Work website.
Are there other resources for finding farm work and second-year visa jobs?
The Department of Home Affairs website is the best resource for understanding your options for specified and farm work in Australia. You can also check the Harvest Trail, which allows you to search for farm jobs by location and crop. The Harvest Trail site also has an interactive map to explore eligible work at different times of the year. You may also be able to find work through job board sites such as Seek and Backpacker Job Board. Jobs posted here aren't limited to fruit picking; you'll also find opportunities on cattle farms, construction sites and mines.
What can I expect to earn?
The national minimum wage is currently AUD $21.38 per hour or AUD $812.60 per 38-hour week (before tax)*. Casual employees covered by the national minimum wage also get at least a 25 per cent casual loading added to their pay. Many jobs pay above minimum wage, depending on your experience.
Visit the Fair Work Ombudsman website for complete details on minimum wage and workers' rights.
*Correct as of July 2022
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.