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Important changes to the Working Holiday Visa in Australia

Important changes to the Working Holiday Visa in Australia

You are on a Working Holiday Visa or are interested in applying for one? Here you will find all relevant changes and news for Working Holiday traveller.

​​Working Holiday visa arrangements for UK passport holders​ (2022)

Australia and the UK have agreed to put in place new arrangements under the Working Holiday Maker (WHM) program. When the new arrangements commence:

  • UK applicants for Working Holiday (subclass 417) visas will increase to 35 years,
  • UK passport holders will be granted up to three Working Holiday visas without having to meet any specified work requirements.

The new arrangements will start for WHMs within two years (from 17/12/2021), on a date agreed on between Australia and the UK.

Tourism and hospitality in northern or remote and very remote Australia (2021)

Tourism and hospitality work carried out from 22 June 2021 in northern or remote and very remote Australia will be considered eligible specified work for the purpose of a second or third Working Holiday visa.

Work in a range of occupations that directly provide a service to tourists, including:

  • tourist guides and operators
  • outdoor adventure or activity instructors
  • tourist transport services
  • hospitality workers, such as in hotels or other accommodation facilities, restaurants, cafes, bars and casinos.

COVID-19: WHV changes (2020)

Critical COVID-19 work in the healthcare and medical sectors is eligible for a second and third year. The work carried out must be critical to Australia’s response to COVID-19 after 31 January 2020. For example:

  • medical treatment, nursing, contact tracing, testing and research
  • support services including cleaning of medical, health care and quarantine facilities and equipment directly involved in the response to COVID-19

When applying for a second or third year, you must include evidence to demonstrate how your work supports Australia’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Third-year visa for subclass 417 and 462 visa holders (2019)

Before 1st of July 2019, it was only possible to extend your Working Holiday for a second year if you completed 88 days (3 months) of work in certain regions and specific job sectors. Since July, Working Holiday Makers on their second-year visa can extend their visa for another year. To be eligible, they have to work in a specified job for 6 months in a specified regional area.

To sum it up, you will need to do 88 days of farm work in your first year to qualify for a second Working Holiday visa. Then you work 6 months during your second year to apply for a third year. The type of work you will have to do to be eligible for the third year visa are the same as the specified work for the second year visa.

Important note

The 6 months work must all be carried out on or after 1 July 2019. So a successful application for a third year cannot be lodged before January 2020.

Specified work in disaster-affected areas (2019 – 2022)

Temporary changes to working holiday visas have been introduced following bushfires and floods in some areas of Australia. This is to encourage backpackers to help rebuild communities ravaged by the fire and floods while being able to renew their working holiday visas. Workers helping in disaster-affected areas of Australia are able to count those days to renew their WHV.

Bushfire recovery work

Work must be carried out on or after 31 July 2019.

  • construction, farming, or any other work in association with recovery or restitution of land, property, farm animals or wildlife
  • support services or assistance to people living, working or volunteering in the affected areas

Flood recovery work

Work must be carried out on or after 1 January 2022.

  • clean-up, construction or any other work in association with restitution or restoration of services, land, waterways, property or infrastructure
  • providing support services or assistance to people living, working or volunteering in the affected areas

Volunteer work in disaster-affected areas will also count for the days required to renew your WHV. It will count for a second and third year.

For more information, read this article: WHV specified work in disaster affected areas.

Increasing the age limit to 35

The age limit for Working Holiday Makers is 30 or 35 years old depending on the countries.

Canadians, French and Irish citizens can apply for a first or second, third year Working Holiday visa until they turn 35 years old. Previously, the age limit for obtaining a Working Holiday visa was 31 years old.

From 1 July 2022 the age limit for Italian and Danish citizens wanting to work and travel in Australia will increase by five years – from 30 to 35 years of age.

The age limit to apply for UK passport holders should also increase to 35 years of age in the coming months.

For all other countries, the age limit remains 31 for now. They might come to an agreement though, we will definitely keep you posted.

Work more than 6 months for the same employer (2018)

Since 2018, it is possible to work more than 6 months for the same employer in the agricultural sector.

These jobs include:

  • The harvesting and/or packing of fruit and vegetable crops
  • pruning and trimming vines and trees
  • general maintenance crop work
  • cultivating or propagating plants, fungi or their products or parts
  • immediate processing of plant products
  • maintaining animals for the purpose of selling them or their bodily produce
  • immediate processing of animal products including shearing, butchery, packing and tanning
  • manufacturing dairy produce from raw materials.” (Homeaffairs)

This new regulation applies to every state and territory of Australia and to every Working Holiday maker in the first or second year. Workers will, therefore, be able to stay with the same employer for up to 12 months.

The goal here is to increase the workforce available to work in seasonal agricultural jobs. It is not necessary to obtain permission by the government, the regulation has come into effect immediately.

Source: Homeaffairs

Updated 03/06/2022

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28 COMMENTS

  1. hello,
    i’ve done 6 months of regional work during my 2nd year visa which ended in july 2015. I am french and under 35. So do you think i am eligible for a 3rd year visa?thank you!

  2. Hello, i’m currently on my 1st year visa now, 462.
    can I apply my 2nd and 3rd year visa at the same time if i’ve already done my 3month and 6month on my 1st year? Thank you 🙂

  3. Hi there! I’m wondering if horse agistments which prepare & sell yearlings for Australian sales as well as rear foals count for the visa? Even if there are no stallions on the property?

  4. Can I work two part time jobs (ie 2 days for one employer and 3 days for another) in an eligible industry?
    If so would I count the weeks or would I have to count individual days.

  5. I want to know if i can get a 2nd working holiday visa? I had one about 5 years ago, i stayed in australia for the year then left when it ran out because i decided not to do rural work and stay any longer.

    But someone told me now ive been out of australia over 3 years i could simple apply for 417 year 1 again. Is there any truth in this?

    I also have luxury or being from Ireland . First time i came out on a british NI passport. If i applied again with Irish passport (i have both) would this technically be seen as a seperate application from previous and allow entry as using different passport, allowing me to start first year of 417 again?

    Thanks Rodney Hill

    • Hi Rodney,
      Technically if you havent done your 88 days for renewal, you shouldn’t be able to apply for a second WHV. It is not true that you can apply for a new visa after 3 years out of Australia.
      Regarding your application, one of the first question is ‘Has the applicant been granted and entered Australia on a first WHV before’…

  6. Hi,
    I seen on the government site that you can work part time or casual work in a regional area amd it doesn’t matter how many days or hours you work within the 6 months. Is this true?
    Thank you
    Lisa

  7. For my 3rd visa I have worked in total 167 days. I do farm work with the same employer. On the official sites there is the mentioning of 179 calendar days. Are my 162 days working enough to get the 3rd visa?

    • Hi Marc
      To be eligible for a third WHM visa, you must have carried out at least 6 months of specified work on or after 1 July 2019. ‘6 months’ is taken to mean a period equivalent to the 6 shortest ‘calendar’ months of the year, that is, a minimum period of 179 calendar days, including weekends or equivalent rest days during your period of employment. Please make sure you have counted your weekends and rest days in the count. Cheers

  8. Hi,
    So if i work 35+ Hrs a week it’s counted as 7 days ? And if the next week I do only 30 hrs then it’s counted from the days I did for example 5 days (6hrs a day) ? 7 + 5 ?
    Can I just count the weeks together or does it need to be continuously 35+ hours to be counted as 7 days?

    And another question: I’m working as a housekeeper in a hotel in Darwin.
    Is it so that I can work anywhere in NT and it’s accepted for the second year visa ? Does the company I work for need to be verified to be something or is it enough that I have my payslips ?

  9. Hey,

    I am a UK citizen living in Northern Ireland. This means I have dual-nationality of Irish and British.

    I have an Irish passport that I would be using to apply for my first WHV. Does this mean I still have to do 3 month specified work if I want to apply for a 2nd WHV even though I’m a UK citizen?

  10. Hi,
    If i entered Australia on a 417 visa but only stayed for 3 months and therefore completed no work at all, will I be eligible to apply for the second working holiday visa once the new arrangements come into place (even though I’ve completed no work at all)
    Thanks 🙂

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