An Australian working holiday visa is a popular option amongst young travellers and backpackers as it offers opportunities to explore Australia while undertaken employment to offset some of your travel expenses. If the concept of earning a little money while holidaying in Australia is of interest to you, it’s worth noting that the emphasis should be on the Holiday and not the working.
When visiting Australia on a working holiday visa, the work should be incidental to travel, with the primary purpose of the visit being your vacation. The Australian government is pretty keen to police this and imposes some restrictions to ensure this remains the case.
This includes a limit on the maximum time you can work for the same employer to no more than six months if you want to work longer than six months with one employer you need to request permission from the Australian government.
You can work for the same employer for more than six months without seeking permission if you work in different locations and work in any one location does not exceed six months. An example of different locations might be working for two hotels in the same chain at different premises or working for independently-owned franchises in different workplaces.
You also do not need to seek permission if you are working in plant and animal cultivation anywhere in Australia (e.g. fruit picking).
How to qualify for an Australian Working Holiday Visa?
Applying for an Australian working holiday visa is a relatively simple process. However, some criteria will impact your ability to apply successfully. Those being:
• Your age
• The country you currently live in
• How much money you have
What is the age limit for an Australian Working Holiday Visa?
To qualify for an Australian Working Holiday Visa, You must be between the age of 18 to 30 years old (inclusive) – except for Canadian and Irish citizens who can be up to 35 (inclusive).
If you apply for the visa while you are 30, but turn 31 before the Australian government has made a decision, you might still be granted a visa.
Similarly, If you are Canadian and Irish citizens and apply for the visa while you are 35, but turn 36 before the Australian government has made a decision, you might still be granted a visa.
Both these latter scenarios are subject to the discretion of the Australian Government.
What are the eligible countries for an Australian Working Holiday Visa?
To apply for an Australian working holiday, you need to be considered a citizen (hold a valid passport) from one of the following eligible countries:
- Republic of Cyprus
- Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China (including British National Overseas passport holders)
- Republic of Ireland
- Republic of Korea
- Taiwan (other than an official or diplomatic passport)
- The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
- The United States
*Greece will be effective 1st July 2019 – See this post for more detail: Greece Added As Participant To Australia Working Holiday Visa Program
If you are not a resident of one of these Eligible countries, you will be unable to qualify for an Australian Working Holiday Visa.
If your country is not on this list then, unfortunately, (at the time of typing) a working holiday in Australia is not a valid option for you.
For residents of countries such as India, we covered why the working holiday visa is not an option. You can read more about this in our article: “Australian Working Holiday Visa For People from India?“
How much money do I need to qualify for an Australian Working Holiday Visa?
The Australian government advises that you must be able to demonstrate that you have enough money to support yourself while you are in Australia as well as having sufficient funds to leave Australia (i.e. pay for flights) at the end of your stay.
A sufficient amount is regarded as being a minimum of A$5,000 (£2,600) plus the cost of fare after leaving Australia.
This amount may vary depending on the length of stay and how much travelling is intended during that stay.
As part of your working holiday visa application, you will be asked to provide evidence that you have sufficient money for your stay in Australia
Applying for an Australian Working Holiday Visa
The Australian government make applying for an Australian working holiday visa quite a simple process by enabling applicants to apply online.
For online visa applications, you will require an Australian immigration account (also known as an “Immi Account”. You can create your immi account here https://online.immi.gov.au/
Once you have created an account, you can apply for your working holiday visa via the following link https://online.immi.gov.au/visas/applyNow.do?form=WHM
Please note that you must be logged in to your immi account for the latter link to work.
What happens after you apply?
You wait, but thankfully, not for too long.
The Australian government processes approx. 75% of all Working Holiday Visa applications within about three weeks with slightly more complicated applications (those where information may have been omitted or additional clarifications sought) taking up to about six weeks.
Once your visa application has been processed, the Australian government will let you know of their decision in writing.
In this letter, you will be advised your visa grant number, the date your visa starts and any visa conditions. This is an important document so keep a copy of the decision with you when in Australia. We recommend that you email yourself a soft copy of this letter to a web-based email account such as Hotmail or Gmail so you can access remotely when in Australia.
If your Australian working holiday visa application is refused for any reason, the Australian government will tell you why your visa application was denied and any rights you might have to request a review of the decision.
Working Holiday Visa Tax and Healthcare
Since 1 January 2017, a so-called backpacker tax has applied to the income of working holiday visa holders at an initial rate of 15%.
There are almost no limits to what employment a working holidaymaker can undertake, and although traditionally most of the jobs have been in hospitality or harvest work, many work in finance, education, health care and other industries.
Working holiday visa holders are generally not covered by the Australian Medicare health insurance scheme, but they may have limited access because of a reciprocal agreement between Medicare and their home country.
Is a working holiday visa ticking your own boxes? Post in our comments below.