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?
With so much to do and so much to discover, it’s not surprising that many working holiday makers want to stay in Australia for a second year. 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, 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 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 (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.
What sort of work should I choose?
You can choose from several different industries, and from different locations around Australia, to carry out your three months’ work. Imagine plucking pearls from the aqua waters of Broome, learning about viticulture while 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 ‘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 often 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 up to AUD $1000 per week.
But that’s not the only kind of farm work available. You could spend your days tending to and milking gentle dairy cows, working as a jackaroo (or jillaroo) on an outback cattle station, or assisting on a vineyard and learning about the intricacies of viticulture.
Fishing and pearling
If you love the ocean, and seafood, you may wish to 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. If you work the entire lucrative banana prawn season (about 10 weeks) in Cairns, it’s not uncommon to earn around AUD $15,000.
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 crew earning about AUD $150 a day, with free accommodation and meals.
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 about AUD $19 an hour, with loadings paid for weekend work. Work is often advertised on Australian job sites, otherwise you will find some Australian recruitment agencies that specialise in this area.
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, as well as earnings of up to AUD $3000 a week. 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. Holding additional certification, such as a current manual driver’s license, or a first aid certificate, or having experience in a job that requires physical and psychological fitness (for example, employment in the military) will further help your employment search. Be aware that cooking and cleaning work on mine sites isn’t eligible work when you’re looking to extend your Working Holiday Visa.
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 pays a minimum of AUD $22.50 an hour, but 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 a base rate of about AUD $30 an hour.
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 $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 (or 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 help your application be processed faster.
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 Working Holiday Visa can apply for an extra 12-month extension if they complete an extra six months of specified work in regional areas of Australia.