Planning to work on your visit to Australia? Here’s what you need to know.
If you’re aged between 18 and 30 (or 35 in some cases) 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.
JUMP TO QUESTION
- What are the benefits of a gap year in Australia?
- Can I work, study and volunteer on an Australian Working Holiday visa?
- Which visa should I apply for?
- What is the age limit for a working holiday in Australia?
- What is required to complete the Working Holiday visa application?
- How much does it cost to apply for an Australian Working Holiday visa?
- How long does it take to apply for an Australian Working Holiday visa?
- How long does it take to receive a response?
- Can I leave and re-enter Australian during a working holiday?
- How long does an Australian Working Holiday visa last?
- Can I apply for a second Working Holiday visa?
- How can I stay for up to three years?
- What other options are there?
- Where can I find more information?
- Recent changes to the Working Holiday visa
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF A GAP YEAR/WORKING HOLIDAY IN AUSTRALIA?
There are a range of personal and professional benefits to doing the Working Holiday Maker (WHM) 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.
CAN I WORK, STUDY AND VOLUNTEER ON AN AUSTRALIAN WORKING HOLIDAY VISA?
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.
These types of visas allow you to stay and work in Australia in all types of full-time, part-time, casual and shift work for up to 12 months. Voluntary work is also allowed. You can study for a maximum of four months in Australia in addition to working during your holiday.
WHICH VISA SHOULD I APPLY FOR?
Apply for the Work and Holiday visa (Subclass 462) if you hold a passport from:
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 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.
WHAT IS THE AGE LIMIT FOR A WORKING HOLIDAY IN AUSTRALIA?
The Australian Working Holiday visa is open to applicants aged between 18 and 30. Citizens of Canada, France or Ireland are eligible until the age of 35. Check working holiday age limits and eligibility on the Department of Home Affairs website.
WHAT IS REQUIRED TO COMPLETE THE AUSTRALIAN WORKING HOLIDAY VISA APPLICATION?
The Working Holiday visa application requires identity documents such as your passport and financial evidence that proves you have the funds to stay in Australia, usually AUD $5,000. You’ll need to meet certain health and character requirements, and you may also be asked to provide a police certificate. All documents must be in English, and any scan or photograph of documents must be clear and in colour. See the most up-to-date document checklists for the Working Holiday visa (subclass 417) and Work and Holiday visa (subclass 462) for more information.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO APPLY FOR A WORKING HOLIDAY VISA?
After you have collected all the necessary documentation, it doesn’t take long to complete the application. Give yourself a few hours to ensure you complete the application accurately. Learn more about the application process for the Working Holiday visa (subclass 417) and the Work and Holiday visa (subclass 462) before applying.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO RECEIVE A RESPONSE?
Processing times vary. Many applicants will hear a response in as little as two weeks, while others may wait more than 40 days to receive a response. Check the latest processing times for the Working Holiday visa (subclass 417) and the Work and Holiday visa (subclass 462) on the Home Affairs website.
CAN I LEAVE AND RE-ENTER AUSTRALIA DURING A WORKING HOLIDAY?
Yes. You can leave and re-enter Australia any number of times while the visa is valid.
HOW LONG DOES AN AUSTRALIAN WORKING HOLIDAY VISA LAST?
Your first Working Holiday visa lasts for 12 months. However, there are options to stay for two or even three years on your working holiday if you complete regional or farm work specified by the Australian Government. Learn more about specified work for the Working Holiday visa (subclass 417) and Work and Holiday visa (subclass 462).
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 or subclass 462) visa, and have completed three months specified work in regional areas of Australia while on your first Working Holiday visa. Check to ensure the work you are undertaking and the regional area of Australia is eligible under the guidelines, as specified work eligibility differs between subclass 417 and subclass 462 visas.
You can apply for a second Working Holiday Maker visa either while you still have your first visa or at a later date. Find out more information about applying for a second Working Holiday visa (Subclass 417) or a second Work and Holiday visa (Subclass 462).
HOW CAN I STAY FOR UP TO THREE YEARS?
There are a few conditions, but the most important is that you’ll need to complete six months of specified work during your second year to qualify. You can check the list of requirements for specified work under Work and Holiday (subclass 462) visas here and Working Holiday (subclass 417) visas here.
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.
The Department of Home Affairs can make changes to the Working Holiday Maker (WHM) program at any time, including changes to age limits, specified work requirements and cost.
In 2020, the Government announced changes to the Working Holiday Maker (WHM) visa program to assist communities to recover from the bushfires of the summer 2019/20 season. This change allows both paid and volunteer work, when the work aids in recovery in a declared disaster area, to count as ‘specified work,’ and can be used to qualify for a second or third Working Holiday visa. The change gives working holiday makers the opportunity to help local communities and extend their stay in Australia at the same time.
Since 2018, working holiday makers can count ‘specified work’ in wider geographical areas across Australia and 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.
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.