Working Holiday Visa for Australia Tips

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Have you dreamt of lending a hand on a farm in a foreign country? Or being of service in an area impacted by natural disaster? Young adventurers from around the world have a unique opportunity to spend a gap year working in the Land Down Under. We’re here to tell you all about the working holiday visa for Australia.

What Is a Working Holiday Visa for Australia?

This is a special type of authorisation that allows young adults from specific countries to spend 12 months in Australia working in seasonal jobs. It’s mutually beneficial, as these travellers earn money to fund their stay, and sectors vital to the nation’s economy get a steady supply of workers.

Once you’ve spent a year in the programme, having worked for at least 3 months, you can apply for a second and a third year.

How Can I Apply for an Australia Working Holiday Visa?

The most important thing to consider when applying for the Working Holiday Visa is that you have to apply from outside Australia. You can’t apply while you’re already there, say, on a short-term tourist authorisation.

You’ll need to apply pretty far in advance – a good rule of thumb is to do so at least 3 months beforehand. The majority of applications are processed in 45 to 90 days. If you’re missing any information, it could take longer.

Here’s the step-by-step process to follow.

1. Round up all your documents. You’ll need:

  • Your current passport.
  • A copy of your birth certificate.
  • Any marriage or divorce certificates, if applicable.
  • Proof that you have enough money to support yourself during your stay and to buy a ticket home. You’ll need to show a minimum of AUD 5,000.
  • You may also need to provide police background check clearance certificates for the countries you’ve been living in since you turned 16.
  • Scan or photograph all your documents in colour.

You may be asked to submit a health exam, especially if you’re from a country with a high risk of ebola or tuberculosis. You don’t necessarily have to submit a health exam with your application, you can wait until you’re asked for it.

2. Complete the online application. This involves creating an account, filling out the form with your personal details, attaching the required documents, and paying the application fee.

While you wait for your decision, don’t make any arrangements to fly to Australia until you’ve received your approval.

3. If your visa is granted, you’ll be notified in writing. You’ll be given a grant number, the start date, and visa conditions. Hopefully your application won’t be refused, but if so, you’ll be notified as to the reason.

What Are the Work and Holiday Visa Australia Requirements?

Not everyone is eligible for this visa, as it’s specially targeted toward young people from specific countries. There are quite a few requirements to meet to be able to apply:

  • The age limit is between 18 to 30 years old. If you’re Canadian, French or Irish the age limit is 18 to 35.
  • You have to apply online from outside Australia.
  • You’re eligible for the Subclass 462 visa if you are a citizen of Argentina, Austria, Ecuador, Chile, China, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Indonesia, Israel, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Peru, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, Uruguay, the USA or Vietnam.
  • Alternatively, you can get the Subclass 417 visa if you’re a citizen of Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Taiwan or the UK.
  • You can’t bring any dependent children with you on this visa or include any family members in your application.
    If you’re applying for the first time, you can’t have had a working holiday visa before. If you have, you need to apply for a second working holiday visa, or even a third, if applicable.
  • You need to demonstrate you have enough money to stay the full year, which is around AUD 5,000, plus the cost of your return ticket.
  • You’ll need to meet the health and the character requirements and be willing to obey Australian laws as well as comply with the conditions of your visa.
  • It’s possible you won’t be eligible if you’ve previously had an Australia visa denied or cancelled.

Can You Be Self-Employed on a Working Holiday Visa Australia?

You can indeed be self-employed. If you want to return for a second or third year, though, you’ll need to demonstrate that you’ve worked for an employer as well, as self-employment doesn’t count as eligible work under this visa.

To comply with tax requirements as a working holidaymaker, first you have to apply for what’s called a Tax File Number (TFN). Many working holidaymakers also decide to be self-employed during their stay. If you want to do this, you need to register for an Australian Business Number (ABN), which identifies your business to the government and any potential clients. So to do freelance work, you’ll need both a TFN and an ABN.

You’ll also need to plan ahead for your taxes. Since you’re a nonresident, the money you earn is taxed at a higher rate than residents, which amounts to 15% on your first AUD$37,000. Be careful with the income limits, as anything you earn above AUD $37,000 makes your tax rate jump to 32.5%!

Normally if you only work for an employer, they withhold taxes for you. However, being self-employed, you pay all your taxes yourself at the end of the year. Keep this in mind because you’ll need to put aside that money each month to make the payment when you file your end-of-year taxes. You’ll declare both the income you earn as a working holidaymaker (under a TFN) and your freelance income (under your ABN) on the same tax return.

Can You Get a Second Working Holiday Visa for Australia?

Enjoying your gap year away in the Land Down Under? It’s absolutely possible to apply for a second year. It doesn’t matter when you apply, you can complete your application while you’re still in your first year, or you can apply to come back later.

If you stay in the country between your first and second year, you’ll need to apply for what’s called a “bridging visa” to allow you to legally stay while your application is being processed.

You just need to have had a subclass 417 or 462 visa and have completed 3 months of specified work during your first year. Double check that your region and your work experience are eligible, as not all industries are.

For example, working as an au pair doesn’t count as specified work in either subclass 417 or 462. But working in tourism or hospitality in northern Australia is eligible for subclass 462, but not 417. The reverse is true for construction work – it’s eligible in subclass 417, but not 462.

What Is the 3rd Year Working Holiday Visa Australia?

Just like you can apply for a second year, you can also apply for a third and final year. The most important prerequisite is that you’ve completed 6 months of specified work during your second year. The types of eligible specified work remain the same.

If you’ve made it this far, it’s clear you’ve had a great experience in Australia. However, beyond a third year, you’d need to either apply for a different type of authorisation or make plans to leave the country.

Do You Need to Fill In a Tax Return After Completing an Australia Working Holiday?

Yes, you do need to complete a tax return if you earned more than AUD $37,000 during the entire year – that is, between July 1 and June 30. Even if you do earn less than that, it’s a good idea to lodge a tax return, as you can claim a tax refund if you’re due one.

What Are the Australia Working Holiday Visa Tax Rules?

You do have to pay taxes when you work in Australia on a working holiday. As mentioned above, you’ll need to create a TFN, or Tax File Number, to identify you in the system.

While you work as an employee, your employer will deduct taxes, generally 15%, directly from your pay. At the end of the financial year, which is June 30, you’ll report this information on your tax return.

If you earn more than AUD $450 per month, your employer will automatically be paying into what’s called superannuation, which is another way of saying retirement savings scheme. This is mandatory for everyone, but you can access the money after you leave Australia.

Where Can I Find Australia Work and Holiday Visa Jobs?

Although there are some specific websites that list vacancies for eligible working holiday jobs, you can also simply find work the traditional way, through job board websites or job placement agencies.

If you’re planning to return for a second or third year, you need to make sure your job meets the definition of what’s called “specified work” and that it’s in an eligible area.

These are the approved industries for specified work:

  • Plant and animal cultivation
  • Fishing and pearling
  • Tree farming and felling
  • Mining
  • Construction
  • Bushfire recovery work in affected areas

And as for the job itself, it has to be performing a primary function in the sector. For example, doing book-keeping for a tree farming company doesn’t count, but actually caring for the trees does count.

Each job is slightly different as far as industry standards, but performing multiple shifts in one day does not count as two days of work. Counting your days of work is important as you need a minimum of 3 months to apply for a second year and 6 months to apply for a third year.

The idea behind a working holiday visa is to supply labor to necessary sectors on a temporary basis. So in most cases, you can only work for the same employer for 6 months.

What’s the Work and Holiday Visa Australia Age Limit?

You must be between 18 and 30 years old, except for Canadian, French and Irish citizens who can be 18 to 35 years old. There’s a little bit of leeway, though. If you complete your application while you’re 30 but then you turn 31 before you’ve received a decision, you can still be eligible. The same applies if you’re 35 and applying from Canada, France or Ireland – if you turn 36 before the decision is made, you can still be granted a visa.

What’s the Australia Working Holiday Visa Cost?

To apply, the cost is AUD $485.00, and the cost is the same no matter whether you’re applying for your first, second or third year. Factor in extra costs like health exams, fingerprinting and police background checks, which will vary based on where you live.

FAQs

Would you like to know more before applying for your pass Down Under? Then here are some of the most popular questions and answers!

Can I Get a Working Holiday Visa Extension for Australia?

If you’re having a blast on your work-holiday and you want to stay longer, you can apply for a second or a third year or a different type of visa. Unfortunately, you can’t extend an existing working holiday authorisation.

Can I Go on a Working Holiday in Australia After Age 35?

Sorry, if you’re over age 35, this is not the right programme for you. The age limit was only increased to 35 for Canada, France and Ireland, and there may be more countries added to the list in the future. However, anyone over 35 would need to apply for another type of authorisation – there are many others to choose from!

What Are the Working Holiday Visa Australia Eligible Countries?

There are 2 subclasses for this authorisation, called 417 and 462, and the requirements are essentially the same. The main differences have to do with which types of work are eligible and which countries apply for each one.

You’d apply for the Work and 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
United Kingdom

Otherwise if you’re from these countries, you would apply for the Working Holiday visa (Subclass 462):

Argentina
Austria
Ecuador
Chile
China
Czech Republic
Greece
Hungary

Indonesia
Israel
Luxembourg
Malaysia
Peru
Poland
Portugal
San Marino

Singapore
Slovak Republic
Slovenia
Spain
Thailand
Turkey
United States
Uruguay
Vietnam

Do I Need Working Holiday Visa Australia Health Insurance?

Yes, it’s highly recommended that you get a health insurance policy. You never know what unforeseen medical expenses may come up during your stay. Medical treatment in Australia can be expensive, so having insurance can help limit you from having exorbitant medical bills.

There are a few countries that have what’s called a reciprocal healthcare agreement with Australia. If you’re from one of these countries, you may be eligible for Medicare.

  • Belgium
  • Finland
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Slovenia
  • Sweden
  • United Kingdom

What Are the Australia Work and Holiday Visa Conditions?

The maximum time you can stay is 12 months, which are counted from the date you first set foot in Australia.

It’s no problem for you to leave and re-enter the country as many times as you want during that timeframe, so if you want to travel around the Asia-Pacific area during your stay, you can, or even take a break to go home to visit your family.

You can work for the same employer for up to 6 months, then you’ll need to switch to a different one. There are certain exceptions to the rule, and you can work more than 6 months for the same employer if your job is:

  • In different locations and work in any one location does not exceed 6 months – for example, a hotel chain in which you work in 2 different hotel locations.
  • Doing plant and animal cultivation.
  • Working with bushfire recovery efforts.
  • Supporting critical sectors during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes agriculture, food processing, healthcare, elder care and childcare.

Your 6-month clock resets if you’re approved for a second working holiday visa or if you get what’s called a bridging visa. In this case, you can even go back to your original employer.

Have There Been Any Recent Working Holiday Visa Australia Changes?

The most recent changes to the programme have to do with bushfire recovery and COVID-19 essential workers. The 2019-20 bushfire season required extra hands, so the programme was updated to allow both paid and volunteer work in declared disaster areas. As far as COVID-19, the 6-month limit is waived for those who are providing essential services.

Keep an eye out for possible updates, as the Department of Home Affairs may make changes to the Working Holiday Maker (WHM) programme at any time.

Can I Cancel a Working Holiday Visa Australia?

Yes, you may cancel your working holiday visa by completing a form called 1194. Maybe you’ve decided you don’t want to do the type of work required, or you’d prefer to apply for a regular tourist authorisation. Or maybe something has come up and you need to move your travel dates. Unfortunately, your application fee won’t be refunded.

How Can I Stay in Australia After My Working Holiday Visa Expires?

Be careful about staying after your authorisation expires or trying to work without the right authorisation. There are strict laws around this, and penalties for those who overstay their visas. You could be detained and not allowed to return for a while.

If you’re in your first year, you can apply for a second, and then a third year. Beyond that, you’ll need to look into other types of authorisations, depending on whether you want to work or study.

Is There an Australia Working Holiday Visa for Indian Citizens?

Did you know that Australia only offers this programme to citizens of countries that offer reciprocal arrangements to Australians? That’s why the number of eligible countries is limited.

Currently, there isn’t an agreement in place for Indians to get a working holiday visa because India doesn’t offer the same type of programme to Australians.

There has been news in the last year that the Department of Home Affairs is negotiating a Work and Holiday visa arrangement with India, along with several other countries, but the details have not been finalised.

In the meantime, if you’re Indian, consider applying to the General Skilled Migration programme to be able to legally work in Australia.

Of course, before you apply for a working holiday visa, you may wish to spend some time in Australia first. Find out about Australia’s ETA (Electronic Travel Authoririsation) tourist visa and apply online with Byevisa.