Planning to work on your visit to Australia? Here's what you need to know.
If you're aged between 18 and 30 and hold a passport for a country or region participating in Australia's Working Holiday Maker program, you may be eligible to apply for a 12-month visa which enables you to work in Australia while you are 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-finder.
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.
What are the benefits of a gap year/Working Holiday Visa?
There are a range of personal and professional benefits to doing the Working Holiday Maker program.
A gap year is an incredible opportunity for self-discovery, growth and learning. As you travel, you'll meet new people, learn about new cultures and develop new skills and interests.
If you’re not yet sure what career path you should take, a gap year is an excellent chance to try your hand at different jobs. If you’re totally sure where your career is headed, this could be an ideal opportunity to get real-world experience in your field. Whether it’s paid or volunteer, it will enhance your CV and provide you with valuable contacts in the industry.
When you finish your gap year and begin applying for jobs in your home country, you may find that you now possess certain qualities that help you stand out from other applicants. Prospective employers will see that you have courage, curiosity, maturity, open-mindedness and independence - all because you spent time travelling, discovering, learning and exploring.
At the very least, you’ll experience an incredible part of the world, make lasting friendships and leave with cherished memories.
What are the requirements?
The Working Holiday Maker program has two types of visas: Working Holiday visa (Subclass 417) and Work and Holiday visa (Subclass 462) depending on your country of residence. See below for lists of countries eligible for each visa.
If you intend to participate in Australia’s Working Holiday Maker program, you must apply for your visa before you arrive. These types of visas allow you to stay and work in Australia in all types of full-time, part-time, casual, shift and voluntary work for up to 12 months. You can leave and re-enter Australia any number of times while the visa is valid.
You can also study for a maximum of four months in Australia in addition to working during your holiday.
You will need to meet certain health, character and financial requirements, and also declare that you will respect Australian values and obey Australian laws before a visa is granted. You should also have a return or onward ticket or the funds for a fare to depart Australia. Health insurance from your own country is also recommended.
The Working Holiday Maker program is not suitable for those seeking permanent employment or full-time study in Australia. If your primary reason for coming to Australia is to seek employment or study you should enquire about a business visa or student visa which may better suit your needs.
Read the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs visa requirements carefully to determine your eligibility and obligations before you apply. There is a non-refundable charge when you lodge your visa application.
Which visa should I apply for?
Apply for the Work and Holiday visa (Subclass 462) if you hold a passport from:
Argentina, Austria, Bangladesh, Chile, China, Czech Republic, Hungary, Indonesia, Israel, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Peru, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, Uruguay, the USA and Vietnam.
Apply for the Working Holiday visa (Subclass 417) if you hold a passport from:
Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Taiwan and the UK.
Arrangements are regularly negotiated with other countries, so check the Department of Home Affairs website for the latest updates.
Can I apply for a second Working Holiday Visa?
If you wish to stay longer and continue your working holiday, you may be able to apply for a second Working Holiday visa which will allow you to stay for an extra 12 months.
To be eligible to apply, you must hold or have previously held a Working Holiday (subclass 417) visa, and have completed three months specified work in regional areas of Australia while on your first Working Holiday (subclass 417) visa. Check to ensure the work you are undertaking and the regional area of Australia is eligible under the guidelines.
You can apply for a second Working Holiday visa either while you still have your first Working Holiday visa or at a later date. Find out more information about applying for a second Working Holiday visa.
Previously, WHM visa holders were required to work in specific areas of Australia to qualify, but to make this easier to achieve, WHM visa holders are now able to work in a wider geographical area across Australia. You can also now stay with the same agricultural employer for up to 12 months (previously six months). This gives you the chance to experience Australia’s beautiful countryside – or experience an outback adventure – while getting to know the people who live there at the same time.
Information about harvest work opportunities in regional Australia can be found at the Australian Government’s Harvest Trail website.
What other options are there?
The Australian Government has strict laws regarding employment of non-citizens and penalties for breaking the law. Don’t try to work without the right visa. If your Working Holiday visa expires and you have not left Australia or applied for another visa, you could risk being detained and possibly removed. You may also not be allowed to return to Australia for a period of time.
There are other visa options if you wish to stay temporarily or permanently in Australia at the end of your working holiday.