Australian Work & Holiday Visa

I can only really help based on my own personal experience, so for those attempting to get an Australian working visa from outside the United States, you may have to do some further research (soz).

For those trying to get a working visa from within the US, the one you’re looking for is the Subclass 462 Work and Holiday visa. It costs $355 (USD) and the process to apply online took me about 10 minutes. About 20 minutes after submitting my application, my visa was granted. Very quick, I know.

What you’ll need to be able to apply for the visa:

  • A valid passport
  • A valid form of identification other than your passport (i.e. birth certificate, state ID, driver’s license, etc.)
  • A debit card (and $355 in da bank)

The Australian Government Department of Immigration and Border Protection website also says you’ll need:

  • Two recent passport-sized photos with your name written on the back
  • Evidence of sufficient funds of $5,000 AUD ($3,766 USD)
  • Evidence of sufficient funds to buy a plane ticket out of Australia (additional to the $5,000 AUD mentioned above)

I’m only mentioning these because I don’t know if things have changed since I applied for my visa. I was never asked to provide proof of sufficient funds nor did I need recent passport photos, but a friend who applied more recently said she did have to provide proof so idk.

What the subclass 462 Work and Holiday visa allows you to do:

  • Stay and work in Australia for up to 12 months
  • Work in Australia (6 months per employer)
  • Study for up to four months
  • Leave and re-enter Australia as many times as you want as long as the visa is valid

And you lucky ducks are also allowed one other thing that wasn’t available to me when I first arrived Australia…

  • Apply for a second Work and Holiday visa if you have worked for three months in northern Australia in tourism and hospitality or agriculture, forestry and fishing

Now, what does that last bullet mean exactly?

Basically, if you work for three months in Queensland (north of the Tropic of Capricorn) or Western Australia (also north of the Tropic of Capricorn) doing farm work or tourism/hospitality, you can stay in Australia for another year. For all of my friends that wanted to extend their visa to two years, they’ve always had to do farm work. The addition of tourism/hospo jobs is new to me, but like I said this opportunity for the subclass 462 visa was newly implemented. It makes a second year in Australia much more easily attainable if that’s something you’re considering. With farm work, people either love it or hate it, but either way it’s an experience.

Also keep in mind that if you apply for your second year in Australia (as in, physically in the country), you have to be in Australia when your second visa is granted. If you apply for your second year outside of Australia, you have to be outside of Australia when your second visa is granted. For your first W&H visa, you must apply outside of Australia. Easy enough, right? Right.

What does 6 months per employer mean?

Six months per employer means six months per employer. Only. That’s right, just when you’re starting to get really good at your job and creating lasting friendships with coworkers for half a year, they’re going to forcibly rip you away from all of it. ‘But they love me and I love them!’ you’ll say. And they’ll say, ‘We don’t give a shit. Bugger off.’  And then you’ll cry a little bit like I did.

Again, the visa has changed a bit since I first got it, and although you’re not able to work at the same venue for more than six months, you are now able to stay within the same company as long as it’s on different premises. This might not sound like it’s any better, but if you find a company as amazing as the one I did for my first job, then you know you’ll be treated well regardless of which venue you work at within the company.

But is it possible to get around the 6 months thing? Please? Pretty Please?

There’s an official way, which requires you to send a form (Form 1445 to be specific) to the Australian Government’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection. They will then decide whether or not to let you keep working for the same company, but keep in mind that even if they do grant you permission, it isn’t usually extended for longer than a month. Just one month. After going through all the work of filling out the dang form! Not worth it (imo).

The unofficial way is to get a job that pays ‘cash in hand’ (or ‘under the table,’ as they like to say back home). Since the government is able to monitor you through your payroll company, if there’s no record in the books, then there’s no limit to how long you can work. The thing to look out for with a cash in hand job is that they can get away with paying you less than minimum wage, which is kind of poopie. But hey, a job’s a job.