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UK – Australia free Trade Deal & changes to Working Holiday Visa

UK – Australia free Trade Deal & changes to Working Holiday Visa
Photo by Stephen Tafra on Unsplash

In June 2021, Morrison and Johnson held a joint press conference to announce the in-principle agreement, which could boost the Australian economy by up to $1.3 billion each year. Indeed, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Prime Minister Scott Morrison agreed on historic trade deal during G7. Morrison said it was the most ambitious agreement that Australia had struck since its deal with New Zealand. Australia is seeking here an ambitious free trade agreement with the UK to increase trade in goods and services, two-way investment, economic growth and job creation. Among the measures announced, the age for UK Working Holiday Visa makers will be increased to 35, specified work may no longer be required and new agriculture visa will be introduced. Here are the information you need to know about this agreement.

Working Holiday Visa changes for UK passport holders

Age limit increased

Actual travel restrictions aside, British travellers aged up to 30 are eligible for a working holiday visa in Australia. This visa allows them to travel and work in the country for up to 12 months. Eligible Working holiday makers can also extend this visa by applying for a second, and then a third working holiday visa. To be eligible for a second or third year, they must complete three months (88 days) and six months (179 days) respectively of specified rural work in mainly farming, fishing, construction.

Following the signature of the agreement, the age limit for UK working holiday visa will increase to 35 years old. UK passport holders will therefore be able to lodge an application for a visa up until the day before their 36th birthday.

Specific work requirement removed

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the rule forcing UK backpackers to work on Australian farms in renew their visas had been removed.

Currently, Working Holiday visa holders can stay three years in Australia under three separate visas granted for 12 months each. These arrangements will not change. When the new arrangements commence, a visa may be be granted for up to 3 years without the need to undertake farm work.

You can choose to apply for a first, second and third visa at any time as long as you the eligible age requirement. You do not need to stay in Australia for three years in a row.

IMPORTANT: If you have already spent one or two years in Australia on a Working Holiday (subclass 417) visa before the new arrangements commence, you will be able to apply for the remaining visas under the new arrangements. This will enable you to access the maximum of three years in Australia.

Photo credit: The Conversation

Commencement of the agreement

The Australia-UK FTA has not yet entered into force.

The new arrangements will start for WHMs within two years. The new arrangements will apply to all Working Holiday (subclass 417) visa applications for UK passport holders lodged from the date of implementation.

For more information, see Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Consequences of the agreement on visa holders

In order to understand the consequences of the agreement on current and future WHV makers, here are a couple of scenarios extracted from the immigration website

If you cannot apply because of the age limit

Amanda came to Australia on her first Working Holiday visa in 2015 and returned to the UK in 2016. Amanda is now 32 years old. She cannot apply for another Working Holiday visa as the age limit for applicants is 30 years.

When the new arrangements commence, Amanda will be able to apply for second and third visa. She can apply from in or outside Australia, up to the age of 35 years. She will not need to meet any specified work requirements.

If you had to leave Australia because of the pandemic

Bridget was in Australia on 20 March 2020 when COVID-19 travel restrictions started. She was on her first Working Holiday visa (a ‘COVID-19 affected visa’). She returned to the UK without completing any specified work. Her visa ceased before 31 December 2021.

Alternatively, when the new arrangements commence, she will be able to apply for a second and third visa (in addition to the offshore nil VAC visa). She will not need to meet any specified work requirements.

If you came to Australia in the past without completing specific work requirements

Doug held a first Working Holiday visa in Australia in 2017. He returned to the UK before the COVID-19 pandemic. If he wishes to apply for another Working Holiday visa before the new arrangements start, he will have to meet the specified work requirements.

When the new arrangements commence, he will be eligible to apply for second and third Working Holiday visas, up to the age of 35 years. He will not need to meet any specified work requirements. He can apply from in or outside Australia.

Other changes included in the Free Trade agreement

As part of the deal, the Australian government will scrap tariffs on a range of British goods. This includes whisky, pharmaceuticals, cars, machinery and tractors. Britain will also gain greater access to Australian markets for services.

Britain has agreed to liberalise Australian imports of beef, sheep meat and sugar, increasing their tariff-free threshold and tapering tariffs over time. The agreement will also mean a raft of professional qualifications gained in one country will be recognised in the other.

Sources:
www.dfat.gov.au
www.smh.com.au
www.news.com.au

www.abc.net.au
www.abc.net.au


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28 COMMENTS

  1. Hi,

    With this due to come into force in July 2022, will any application I do now fall under the old rules or the new one? My ideal moving date would be the end of 2022.

    Also, is there any talks of the 6 month working for the same employer limit being scrapped?

    Thanks,

    Gary

  2. Hi, thanks for writing this article!

    Do you know if the Farm work requirement will be removed by July 2022 Also?
    I can’t seem to find any info on a timeline anywhere.

  3. Hello,

    Great article and very positive stuff. How confident are you with the proposed date of July 2022?

    I saw on the government website that it said it “should be in place within 5 years”, I appreciate you don’t have a crystal ball, but obviously there is quite a difference in the two timescales.

    I’m currently 32 and will be 34 by July 2022, so I have time, but I’m also conscious that if the date drags on I will be eating into my chances of applying before I’m too old. Saying that, it says at the top of the article that I can still apply at 35? so assuming as long as I apply before I’m 36 ill be ok?

    Thanks alot.

    Mike

  4. Hi

    Where could I find more info. I am 30yo British, just had my 2nd WHV approved. Due to depart end of 2022. Would i be able to get a 3rd year if the agreement came into place to up to 35yo whilst I am in Australia? Nervous about giving my life up here if I only get one year in Aus due to my age.

    • Hi Victoria,
      We cannot give you a definite answer on this but it seems you ll be able to get a third year after that TBC. You can always call the immigration but as the FTA is not into force as yet, I doubt they ll be able to give you more info. Cheers

  5. Hi,

    I was in Australia in 2017 on a WHV but didn’t complete my farm work. I am hoping to travel back in 2022 as soon as possible.

    Do you think the new rules of no farm work will include those who previously held a visa before the changes came into effect and therefore make me eligible again?

  6. Hello,

    Do you know when the next update is due about the visa situation?

    I’m hoping its not long and they are on track for the July deadline.

    Thanks

    Hazel

  7. Hello,

    Thank you for your info! I’m wondering if you know the process for application for the WHV for the UK in this instance. Say the changes do come into effect July 1st 2022 as predicted, would we be able to apply for the visa beforehand in anticipation, or wait until after July 1st to begin the application? Also, do you have any idea of the usual process time for these visas? There is a course I’d like to do in the uk, however it starts in September and I’m not sure whether that would be enough time to get the visa sorted. Thank you!

  8. Hi,

    I was in Oz in 2020 for 2 years on WHV from Ireland. I have dual citizenship and also have a British passport. Do you know if I would be able to apply on my British passport when the new deal begins and have another 3 years?

  9. Hi, how certain are you that you can transfer over from the current whv to the new one please? I’m 31 at the end of June and I’m unsure about heading out before then and activating my current visa incase the one in July is for first time visa holders only. Thanks

    • Hi Hannah,
      If you have already spent one or two years in Australia on a Working Holiday (subclass 417) visa before the new arrangements commence, you will be able to apply for the remaining visas under the new arrangements. This will enable you to access the maximum of three years in Australia.

  10. Hi I’m wondering if anyone could help me. I did my first working holiday visa in 2017/18. I didn’t at the time but now I regret not doing my farm work and I would love to go back. Would I be able to apply for a 2nd year visa when these new rules scrapping regional work comes into play in July ?

  11. Hi, I was going to go in late July this year on new visa terms but did not know visa changes were coming later in the deal, if I go in January 2023 and still on ‘Old terms’ visa would it be safe to do the full year without farm work or best to do farm work just in case the new term visa has not come into play?

    • Hi Aaron,
      When the new arrangements commence, you will be eligible to apply for second and third Working Holiday visas, up to the age of 35 years. You will not need to meet any specified work requirements. You can apply from in or outside Australia.

  12. Hi,

    I applied for a WHV due to go to Australia in August. I presume I’ll still have to do my 88 days as I’ve lodged it before the application date but then would I get an additional 3 years on the new visa? (so 4 in total).

    Thanks

  13. Hi I’m 31 in November and am hoping to get to Australia before then. Is it best to wait for the regulations (this could be up to 2 years) or go over on a WHV now before turning 31 and renewing when the new deal comes in? Would I still need to complete farm work? I’ve been waiting to go over since 2020 but with the pandemic not been able to and I feel time is running out! Thanks

    • Hi Belinda,
      As we do not know when the agreement will come into force, it can be safer to apply before turning 31. But it is really a personal decision for you to take. When the new arrangements commence, UK passport holders will not have to do their specified work when applying for a second or third Working Holiday visa. Cheers

  14. Hi,

    This article is very concise and well written. However, I was just wondering about sourcing for claims surrounding Brits being able to return to Australia for their third year, even if they have previous used a 417 visa under the old scheme. I can’t find any official source that confirms this is the case.
    Maybe you could point me in the right direction?

    Thanks

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