Australia Working Holiday Visa Guide

Cover image for Australia working holiday visa guide - view from eureka tower over Melbourne

Australia Working Holiday Visa Guide

I got sick and tired of trawling the internet to find out information on working holiday visas in Australia, with little success.  I’ve created an all-in-one Australia working holiday visa guide, so you don’t have to waste your time searching for information.

Deciding to apply for a working holiday visa in Australia could be one of the best decisions you make in your life.  Australia is a country with countless adventures and experiences.  No two encounters are the same.  One day you’ll be spotting koalas on Magnetic Island, another you’ll be whizzing along the beach in a 4×4 on Fraser Island and that’s just the travelling side of a working holiday visa.  For the working side of your visa, you might choose to settle down in a world renowned city like Melbourne or Sydney.  You may wish to experience rural Australia and work in a bar in the outback.  The possibilities are endless.

If you haven’t already applied for your working holiday visa, what are you waiting for, do it now!

The following Australia working holiday visa guide will go through everything you need to know, from applying for your visa, settling in Australia, getting a second year, all the way to leaving Australia and claiming your tax and superannuation back.

First things first…

What is a Working Holiday Visa & Who Can Apply?

A working holiday visa is basically what it states in the name.  It’s a temporary visa for applicants who wish to holiday and work in Australia.

There are two types of working holiday visas, subclass 417 and 462.

417 visa eligible countries – Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Taiwan and the United Kingdom.

462 visa eligible countries – Argentina, Bangladesh, Chile, China, Hungary, Indonesia, Isreal, Luxemburg, Malaysia, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, USA, Uruguay and Vietnam.

The main difference between the two visas is the way which a second year is obtained.  I will discuss these methods further in the ‘Getting a Second Year’ section of this Australia working holiday visa guide.

Who Can Apply?

Anyone between the ages of 18-30 can apply for their working holiday visa (417 or 462 visas), as long as they have a passport from one of those countries listed above.  Another condition is that you cannot have a dependent child accompanying you at any time.

**April ’17 – The upper age limit is currently being assessed by the Australian government.  There are talks in place to increase the limit from 30-35.**

How Much Does it Cost?

Both the 417 and 462 visas are available for a charge of 440 AUD (336 USD) each.  **Price April ’17**

How to Apply

It’s extremely easy to apply.  Travel agents may say otherwise, but why get someone else to apply for your visa when they will charge you a fee for doing so.  Head to the page for your chosen visa on the Australian department for immigration website and click ‘apply now’.  Then just fill in the details and you will receive an email confirming your visa.  It really is that easy.

Checklist of Thing to Do Prior/When Arrived

Apply for Tax File Number

This can be ordered prior to your arrival if you have an Australian address where you trust mail to be delivered to.  Simply head to the ATO website and fill out the form. Hey presto, your TFN will be at your nominated address within 21 days.  A TFN is necessary so that you pay the correct rate of tax.  Don’t worry if you can’t order this before you get to Australia.  You have 28 days to advise new employers of your TFN.

Apply for Medicare (If Eligible)

If you are eligible for Medicare and you have a Medicare card after signing up for the scheme, the costs for essential medical treatment in and out of hospital will be covered and certain prescription medicine will be available at the general rate.

Residents of the following countries are entitled to Medicare benefits: Belgium, Finland, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Ireland, Slovenia, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Apply in person at your local Medicare centre.

Click Here to see what information Medicare required for an individual to enrol (varies for different countries of residence).

Open a Bank Account

Easily done.  Prior to your arrival, apply online for an account with Commonwealth Bank.  Just nominate a branch where you will be able to walk into when you arrive.  When you’re in Australia, head into that branch with your passport and collect your debit card.

Open a Superannuation Account

I didn’t do this and it ended up being an unnecessary hassle to consolidate all my superannuation accounts into one.  You will need to have just the one account when it comes to claiming back your super, or you would need to make multiple claims for each fund.  Just save the fuss and open an account.  You can open a super account on arrival in Australia in a branch or online.

New Sim Card

You’ll need an Australian number for your time in this country.  It’s simple enough to sort out a sim card.  My choice, a month to month plan with Optus.  If you top up 30 AUD, you receive 3GB of data, unlimited calls, texts and standard international calls (15 countries including; USA, UK & Canada),  Just head straight into any of the stores to purchase a sim card.  Other major mobile providers include; Telstra and Vodafone.

Check out my full guide on how to get off to the perfect start for your working holiday visa in Australia.

What Kind of Jobs Can You Do?

There are no restrictions on the kind of jobs you can do.  I worked as a customer service advisor and an admin assistant, my girlfriend worked as an early years room leader and her friend works as a midwife.  As long as you have the skills to do the job and the employer has no problem hiring someone on a working holiday visa, you can do that job.

The reason I mention ‘the employer has no problem hiring someone on a working holiday visa’, is down to the restrictions on the visa in terms of employment length.  You can only work for one employer for a maximum of 6 months.

There are certain requirements for some jobs which are popular with backpackers i.e. Any job serving alcohol you will need an RSA (responsible service of alcohol) and for a construction job, you will need a white card.

How to Find a Job

How to find a job in Australia depends on what kind of job you are looking for and where you are looking for a job.

The main useful job websites in Australia are; Gumtree, Backpacker Job Board, Indeed and Seek.

My top tip when it comes to finding a job as a backpacker is to be proactive with your search and applications.  If there is a number on the job advert to call, give that number a ring, instead of just sending your CV/resume over.  If you can go into the workplace and it’s a more casual environment, like a local bar, go in and hand them your CV/resume.

Employers or recruitment agencies are much more likely to notice you if you are proactive.

How to Find a Place to Live

It can be tricky attempting to balance finding a job and finding a place to live, at the same time.  However, they are both necessary.  A job should be your main priority.  Without a job, you have no income, which in turn means, you won’t have any money for rent.

While you’re looking for somewhere to live more permanently, there are short term options available.  These short-term options come in the form of a hostel dorm bed or a room in an AirBnB.

When it comes to looking for a more permanent option, there a few handy websites which make it much easier to find a room.  These websites are; Gumtree, Flatmates and specific Facebook groups (e.g. Fairy Floss Real Estate for Melbourne accommodation).

Don’t forget, you will need a bit of cash behind you when renting a room.  Upfront costs are usually 1 months rent and a bond (which usually equals 1 months rent).

Getting a Second Year

I mentioned earlier that the main difference between the two visas is the way in which a person becomes eligible for a second year.  I will explain below how to become eligible for both the 417 and 462 visas.

417 visa – Complete 88 days (does not have to be consecutive) of regional work.  The department of immigration chooses regional postcodes in Australia.  If you work in one of these postcodes,  that counts as regional work.  Technically you do not have to do ‘farm work’ to be eligible for your second-year visa.  As long as you complete 88 days of work within a regional postcode, it can be any kind of work.  Although working on a farm is the most common regional type of work.

462 visa – Slightly more particularised than the 417 visa.  In order to obtain your second-year visa, you must complete three months of specified work in a particular postcode in northern Australia.  The approved industries for specified work include; plant and animal cultivation, fishing and pearling, tree farming and felling and tourism and hospitality.  Although that list may sound daunting, the good thing is, farming comes under plant cultivation and hospitality work can include working in a bar or hotel.

Once you’re ready to apply for your second-year visa, head over to the Australian department of immigration website and go through the application process.

Claiming Your Tax & Superannuation Back

Once you know how, claiming back your tax and superannuation is as easy as tieing your shoelace.  OK, maybe not that easy, but it’s easy enough to do it all yourself and avoid paying a company to do it for you.

My question is, why would you pay a company to do something for you when you can do it yourself for free of charge and hassle-free.

Luckily for you, I’ve done the monotonous work of researching the Australian Tax Office website, finding out exactly how to claim your tax and superannuation back when you leave Australia.  I’ve broken the information down into a fool proof step-by-step method, which I have followed myself to claim my own tax and super back.

Check out my full guide to claiming your tax and superannuation back when you leave Australia.

For more information and destinations in Australia Click Here.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask me in the comments section.

 Have you considered a working holiday visa in Australia before? Are you currently on a working holiday visa? Did you find this Australia working holiday visa guide helpful?

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1 Comment

  • Nyla

    In my humble opinion, I would venture to say I would still do it for the experience and because I WOULD still be making money, but Australia will lose a large chunk of their foreign workforce which does a large number of their agricultural work and other jobs locals don t regularly go for.

    27/05/2017 at 3:43 am
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