Shannon and Matt, 21 yo, are a British couple originally from the small town of Shrewsbury, West Midlands, England. They are on a Working Holiday Visa. Extremely motivated and prepared, they worked and saved a lot back in England to be able to make the best of their Aussie experience. 18 months later, Matt just got offered a sponsorship in Australia. Shannon accepted to answer a few questions so she could share her experience with the community.
First months in Australia
“We saved a lot before we left for Australia so we could have a couple of months travelling before finding work.”
Matt and Shannon travelled up the East coast for a while and then flew to Western Australia to find a job.
“When our funds started running low we started looking into doing our farm work. We booked ourselves into a working hostel, ready to do our 88 days. However there wasn’t much work going and the hostel prices kept increasing due to getting closer to Christmas. We decided to put an add on gumtree, which is great as we received so many job opportunities around Australia.”
88 days on a mining camp
We always think about farm work to complete the unfamous and compulsory 88 days to get a second year visa. However there are heaps of other possibilities such as construction, mines, factories, etc. These jobs usually offer a much better pay than farm work and aren’t much more difficult to find. Matt for example, is a carpenter by trade. While in Australia, he has been looking for a job in his trade and many people have been willing to offer him one.
“We found a job in Port Hedland, Western Australia on a mining camp. We stayed there for 4 months, getting our days signed off for our second year visa.”, Shannon explains. Matt worked at building new accommodations for the camp. Shannon worked in the kitchen, in construction cleaning and then got to work at the laundry.
They saved enough to keep travelling after completing their days. They were paid hourly at a rate of $25/hour. “We saved enough to carry on travelling down the West coast and through South Australia up to Brisbane until the end of our first year visa.”
A second year as a carpenter and in a winery
They apply for their second year visa and looked for a new place to work at, without any precise plans.
“We received our second year visa and decided we needed another job, so we put another add on gumtree and Matt got offered a job as a carpenter, in Griffith, while I got a job at a local winery. A normal day at the winery can include many things, for example re-stickering bottles, putting dividers in boxes or just general checking that the bottles and stickers are up to standards. It’s not very exciting and can get very repetitive but the pay makes it worthwhile. I am on $28ph and increases depending if you are working on afternoon or night shift.”
A potential sponsorship
“We have been working in Griffith for 5 months, and managed to get ourselves a 2 bedroom unit, which is lovely. We are unsure how long we’re going to be here, as still being classed as a backpacker you can only work for 6 months with a company. However Matt has been offered a sponsorship so it’s something we are looking into! As I’m a casual I can get around 16-40 hour per week whereas Matt can be doing up to 60 hours, paid $35/hour!”
Since July 2019, WHV makers can work for more than 6 months with the same employer, without asking permission if the work is:
– in different locations and work in any one location does not exceed 6 months
– in plant and animal cultivation anywhere in Australia
– in certain industries in northern Australia only
If you want to work longer than six months with one employer in any other circumstance you need to request permission.
Staying in Australia or going back to England
Matt got offered a sponsorship recently. However Shannon and him are still unsure if they are going to stay in Australia. Expatriate for 2 years is different than doing it for a very long time and it would be a pretty big step.
“To begin with I couldn’t imagine going back home to England, as Australia had so much more to offer. I was meeting loads of new people, exploring new places and just having the time of my life. After 18 months away though you do start missing the normalities of life, like seeing your family and friends whenever you like. I’m 50/50!”, Shannon told us.
” I love everything about Australia apart from the fact it homes some of the most deadly animals in the world. Where ever you go the locals are always welcoming, the white sand and crystal clear sea, and the fact they never shy away from having a drink or 10 no matter what time of day it is. No amount of explaining or pictures do it justice, it’s just something everyone should experience.”
Thank you so much guys for your time and for sharing your amazing experience with us!
If you are willing to share your experience with other backpackers contact us on:
Updated on 24/09/2019 – Initially published on 14/02/17