How to Get a Work Holiday Visa in Australia

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G’day Australia! Who wouldn’t want to visit the home of kangaroos, koalas, and more surfers than you can shake a didgeridoo at?! Not to mention Uluru, the Great Barrier Reef, barbeques and…umm… did I mention the surfers?

Girly swooning and stereotypes aside, there are hundreds of reasons to head Down Under and a work holiday visa is a great way to do it.

This post will deal with the requirements if you’re planning on heading to Australia; if New Zealand is your plan then head to my sister post How to Apply for a Work Holiday Visa in New Zealand.

So, What is a Work Holiday Visa?

Work/Holiday visas let young people (between 18 and 30) from countries with reciprocal agreements stay in Australia for up to a year* to travel and support themselves with casual or temporary work. The main purpose of your trip has to be travel, so there are various limitations depending on which country you’re applying to visit and where you’re from.

*you may qualify for a second year if you undertake three months of labor in specified fields

If you’re from the USA, Bangladesh, Chile, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Thailand, or Turkey you can apply for the Work and Holiday Visa (Subclass 462)

If you’re from Belgium, Canada, Republic of Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Taiwan and United Kingdom you can apply for the Working Holiday Visa (Subclass 417)

So Who’s Eligible and How do You Apply?

Many of the application criteria for the Work and Holiday Visa (Subclass 462) and the Working Holiday Visa (Subclass 417) visas are the same or, at least, very similar but there’s a breakdown below. I found all my information here at the Visa Bureau and the Immigration Department of Australia – there are comprehensive FAQ sections on both sites if I haven’t covered either your nationality or a particular query.

Work and Holiday Visa (Subclass 462) for United States citizens

  • To be eligible for an Australian Work and Holiday Visa (subclass 462), the application must be made overseas and the applicant must:
  • Be aged between 18 and 30 years (inclusive) of age and unaccompanied by dependent children;
  • Hold a United States passport;
  • Meet educational requirements (You must have graduated from High School or completed an equivalent qualification; for example, a bridging course to university);
  • Are not accompanied by dependent children;
  • Have not previously entered Australia on a Work and Holiday Visa (subclass 462) or a Working Holiday Visa (subclass 417);
  • Have adequate health insurance for the duration of their stay in Australia;
  • Be able to show sufficient funds for a return or onward fare and an adequate amount of funds for the first part of their stay; and
  • Be of good character and meet the health criteria.

Working Holiday Visa (Subclass 417)

To be eligible for an Australian Working Holiday Visa, the application must be made overseas and the applicant must:

  • Be aged between 18 and 30 years (inclusive) of age and unaccompanied by dependent children;
  • Be an eligible passport holder (see below) with at least 1 year until renewal on their passport;
  • Be able to show sufficient funds for a return or onward fare and an adequate amount of funds for the first part of their stay; and
  • Be of good character and meet the health criteria.

Things you need to know:


Duration:

  • The visa allows you to make your initial entry into Australia no later than 12 months from the date that the visa was granted.
  • The visa permits you to stay in Australia 12 months from the date that you first enter Australia.
  • You may leave and re-enter Australia as many times as you wish during your 12 month stay. However, if you depart Australia during your 12 month stay you are not able to recover the period of time you have spent outside Australia.

Work/Study conditions:

  • Australian Work and Holiday visa holders are permitted to do any kind of work of a temporary or casual nature. The main purpose of the visa is holiday and travel, so work for longer than 6 months with any one employer is not allowed.
  • Australian Work and Holiday visa holders are permitted to study for up to 4 months while in Australia on the Work and Holiday Visa.

Processing time:

  • An Australian Work and Holiday Visa application can take up to 8 weeks to process. This time may be extended by the presence of a criminal offense on the application or the need for a medical.

Financial Requirements

  • You must have access to sufficient funds (usually a minimum of AUD$5,000, although the amount may vary) to support yourself for the initial stage of your holiday in Australia. You may be asked to show evidence of this on arrival.
  • You should either have a return or onward ticket or the funds for a fare to depart Australia if you’re traveling on a one way ticket.

Have you done a work holiday visa in Australia? Any tips?

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About Author

England is a very small country, and Clare's got some big ideas and even bigger plans for her twenties (aka the "Decade of Adventures"). So far she's volunteered in a South African township, got her degree, interrailed around Europe, done a triathlon, taken the Trans-Mongolian Express and lived in China... but that's just the start. Right now she's working in a chocolatier, having UK based shenanigans and planning her biggest adventure yet. Mount Everest and Australia had better watch out! Check out her blog at http://blue-dress-and-backpack.blogspot.com

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