The Working Holiday Visa: an ideal visa for young travelers who like to backpack, but at the same time want to earn some money to afford their adventure. There are a number of countries where you can get a Working Holiday Visa, and Australia is one of these. We had a Working Holiday visa for two years in this country, so we gained a fair bit of knowledge about it. Of course, the rules change constantly, but in this blog we will tell you all about the WHV and our experiences! We will also discuss the option to extend your visa to the 2nd year WHV.
What is a WHV exactly?
A Working Holiday Visa is a temporary visa, valid for one year, especially for backpackers wishing to combine their trip through Australia with working. The purpose of the visa is to make traveling more affordable, as you can earn well. It's also the best opportunity to discover a bit more of the Australian culture and to see a lot of the beautiful Australian landscapes! Furthermore, it is the ideal way to meet other travelers, since a lot of backpackers use the WHV.
When do you qualify for a WHV
The terms and conditions that you must meet in order to get the WHV are:
- You must be at least 18, but less than 31 years old. If you are 30 years old when you apply for the visa, but you will be 31 when you receive it, then you are entitled too. As long as you apply before your 31st! (NOTE: at the moment the government of Australia is busy with expanding the age limit to 35! Unfortunately, these plans have still not officially been through)
- You must make your application outside of Australia.
- You have not received a WHV before.
- You need to have a passport from a country that has a Working Holiday agreement with Australia. For all eligible countries, see the government website.
- Your passport must be valid for the duration of your trip.
- You must be able to prove that you have enough money during your Working Holiday. You must have 5000 AUD in your account.
- You must be able to show that you can afford a ticket out of the country (at the end of your stay).
- You may not have (dependent) children with you during your stay.
- You must comply with the Health requirements. This simply means that you are healthy to travel.
- You must comply with the Character Requirements. This means you don't have a criminal record.
When you meet all the above requirements, you can apply for a Working Holiday Visa subclass 417. You easily apply online, via this website. The visa fee is 440 AUD.
Important: you can apply for your visa up to 12 months before departure. In other words: when your visa is approved, you will have up to 12 months to enter Australia. The 12 months that you are allowed to stay will start when you arrive.
- With this visa you can stay in Australia for up to 12 months.
- You are allowed to work legally in Australia during the 12 months, but up to six months for the same employer.
- You can study for a maximum of 4 months in Australia.
- Within the 12 months you can leave and re-enter Australia any number of times.
- You have to pay taxes on your income.
- You can ask your superannuation back when you leave Australia.
What you have to prepare for the visa
Things that are useful to prepare for applying for the visa and before departure:
- Make sure your passport is valid long enough and make a scan of it.
- Make sure you make a print screen from your bank account as proof that you have enough money. They can ask for this at the airport.
- Make sure you have translated your CV into English (if your mother language is different than English). This saves you a lot of time over there and you can start applying for jobs right away!
- If you want to do work within your profession, it can be useful to have your diplomas already translated into English.
- It's also smart to have references from your previous jobs in your home country. In Australia they use this regularly.
It can sometimes be that, after applying for your visa, you are informed that you have to undergo a health examination. This depends on the time that you may have spent in another (higher risk) country, your country of birth and what activities you want to undertake in Australia (for example if you want to work in childcare or nursing). The examination often consists of a visit to a doctor specially appointed by the Australian government and an X-ray. Sometimes you also have to get a blood test. The result may take a while, so keep that in mind when applying for your visa! In the Netherlands, the examination costs you 200 euro (!) and unfortunately, this can only be done by one doctor, Dr. Ritz in Amsterdam.
Extend your visa: 2nd year WHV
What if you find a year working and traveling in Australia way too short? Then you can extend your Working Holiday with another year, but for this you have to meet a number of conditions:
- You have met all the conditions of the first year visa (see above), which also means applying before your 31st.
- You have not had more than one Working Holiday Visum in the past.
- You have done specific work for at least three months during your first year in Australia. In the past, volunteering was enough for this, but nowadays it MUST be paid work, where you can show wage slips! What exactly is specific work? See this website!
- You can apply for the visa both inside and outside of Australia. However, if you have applied for your second visa inside Australia, you must also be in Australia to get the visa approved.
The second WHV is, like the first WHV, subclass 417. The visa again costs 440 AUD and can be applied for here.
Farm work during your first WHV
To get a second Working Holiday Visa, you will have to do specific work indoor first year. Farm Work also counts as specific work and this is also the work that most backpackers do to get their second WHV.
You can think of:
- Picking fruit
- Taking care of animals on a farm: helping on a so-called cattle farm
- Handyman on a farm: maintenance and repair to fences etc.
- WOOFFing: work in exchange for accommodation and food
Australia has thousands of farms, most of which are incredibly large, so there is plenty of work! You can find farm work on WWOOF.com, Fruit Picking Jobs, or the government site.
What other work can you do on your first WHV?
Of course there is plenty of other work you can do as a backpacker. There are numerous typical backpacker jobs to find in Australia. For example, think of:
- Au Pair in a real Ozzie family
- Hospitality work
- At different events around Australia
- In healthcare
- At a camper rental company or another company focused on tourism
The possibilities are really endless and it will be fairly easy to find something in Australia. As long as it doesn't matter what you do, there is always something! Useful sites to find work are:
- Gumtree: the Australian eBay. You can find a lot of jobs here.
- Jobs4travellers: Job board with typical backpacker jobs.
- Backpacker jobboard: another Job board for backpackers.
- Au Pair World: Ideal if you want to become an au pair.
One of our many farm jobs
Tax and Superannuation
As a backpacker you, unfortunately, also have to pay taxes on your income, just like the rest of Australia. Fortunately, you can reclaim this after the 'tax year' (this runs in Australia from July to July). The cheapest way to do this is through the government through this site.
Important!: Since the 1st of January 2017 the 'Backpacker Tax' is introduced. People on a WHV actually should pay 32,5% tax, but fortunately this is reduced to 19%. Still a lot, because previously the first earned 18,200 AUD were completely exempted from tax!
And then you also have Superannuation. Superannuation is simply put the pension in Australia. You automatically accumulate this when working in Australia, but (unless you live there permanently) as a backpacker you obviously have nothing to do with this. That is why you can, thankfully, reclaim part of this pension when you have left Australia. You can reclaim your superannuation on this website. You can also choose to reclaim your tax and superannuation through an organization such as Tax Back. They will arrange everything for you.
What to arrange when you just arrived
When you have just arrived in Australia, it is important to arrange a number of things, such as: opening a bank account, applying for a Tax File Number etc. Read more about this in our article with everything you need to arrange when you just arrived in Australia.
Where to stay
Need a hostel in Australia? Find all hotels in Australia here and get 10% off when you book through this link!