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 extend your 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?
There can be lots of reasons you want to hang around longer. No doubt you’ll have made some great friendships you’re not willing to give up yet. Perhaps you’ve been doing work that just isn’t available at home. Hey, we can all see why you’d love crewing a yacht in the Whitsundays or travelling to different parts of the country perfecting your barista skills. Then there’s the realisation Australia is a huge country and you want more time to explore all it has to offer. Any or all of these excuses sound good!
What is required to stay on for a second year?
If, early on in your stay, you have an inkling that 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 WHV 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. Voluntary work doesn’t count and neither does anything informal, such as cash-in-hand work.
The required work falls into five categories.
- Plant or animal cultivation
- Fishing and pearling
- Tree farming and felling
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 is 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 (by, say, 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’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 $450. 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; a piece rate agreement with your employer if you were paid this way; group certificate; payment summaries; tax return; or an employer reference. Filling out Form 1263 will mean your application will be processed faster.
What sort of work should I choose?
Many people opt for farm work during their time in Australia. Because of its popularity, and also because farm work is seasonal (for example, mangoes are ready to go in the Northern Territory from late September, while harvest time for the grapes of the Barossa Valley is February to April), you will need to be organised in your search for employment. It’s a good idea to pinpoint the region, or specific area that you want to work in, and begin contacting places you’d like to work before their season of work starts. You may even wish to arrive in a nearby town before the season starts, as many do, so that you’re first in line for work. Visit the Harvest Trail website for more details.
Be aware some places will offer you accommodation on the farm while you’re working and for others you’ll need to stay offsite. Whichever the circumstance, you’ll likely be surrounded by other young travellers. Once you’ve finished your three months, you can apply for an extension to your visa.
How much can I expect to earn when doing my farm work?
If you work on a farm doing a variety of tasks, you may receive a combination of accommodation and food, as well as monetary payment for your work (between AUD $200 and AUD $400 a week). If you’ve got a special skill, like tractor driving, that can increase to AUD $750 a week. Fruit picking is what people refer to as ‘piecework’ – you’re paid by how much you pick. If you work hard, and for as many hours per day as possible, you could earn up to AUD $1000 per week.
What alternatives to farm work are there?
If you’re more interested in other kinds of work, there are several options available. Unlike farm work, forestry jobs are available at most times of the year, either on job sites or by speaking to recruitment agencies. If you have existing skills with heavy machinery, you may wish to work in a mine. Work in construction – either residential or commercial – can range from preparing sites and erecting scaffolding to painting new buildings.
Alternatively, you may wish to consider working on a fishing trawler 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.
Is it possible to add a third year?
Recent changes to the working holiday visa program mean that, from 1 July 2019, anyone in their second year of a WHV can apply for an extra 12-month extension if they complete an extra six months of specified work in regional areas of Australia.