Following the recent climatic disasters that have hit the country, the Australian government has introduced changes to the law to allow backpackers to help get the country back on its feet while renewing their WHV. The new visa policy allows WHV/PWP holders working in areas affected by fires, floods or cyclones to use the days they worked to renew their Working Holiday Visa. The definition of eligible jobs has also been revised to ensure that construction work in disaster areas is included. We tell you everything you need to know in this article
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Changes to the renewal of the WHV
The Australian government has unveiled temporary changes to working holiday visas to encourage backpackers to help rebuild communities ravaged by fire and flooding while still being able to renew their working holiday visas.
As a result of these changes, volunteer work carried out in disaster areas now counts towards the days required to renew your WHV visa (for a second and third year). Jobs must be carried out in one of the disaster areas listed by the government. Similarly, not all jobs are eligible (see below).
Volunteer work counts towards renewing your WHV
To renew your Working Holiday Visa for a second year, you must carry out 88 days or 3 months of specified work. To renew your Working Holiday Visa for a third year, you must carry out 6 months of specified work.
Voluntary work helping to rebuild properties and businesses devastated by recent climatic disasters is taken into account for WHV visa renewals.
Many organisations are looking for volunteers. This would motivate young people to get involved while having the opportunity to renew their Working Holiday Visa. BlazeAid is one of them if you are keen to volunteer.
These jobs must be carried out in specific areas listed by the government. Here is the list:
Eligible postcodes and jobs
Eligible postcodes for bushfire work
Following the tragic fires that hit Australia in 2019-2020, the government allows backpackers to participate in the recovery of the country while renewing their WHV. We talk about “assisting bush recovery efforts” or “disaster recovery work”. Bushfire recovery work must be carried out after July 2019.
Natural disaster declared areas
Recovery work carried out from 31 December 2021 in the following areas of Australia declared affected by other natural disasters, such as flood, cyclones or severe weather events, are eligible for specified work for the purpose of a second or third Working Holiday visa. This applies to applications lodged on or after 2 February 2024 and undecided applications on this date.
Approved specified work
Specified work in assisting bush recovery efforts or flood recovery work is any type of work described in the list below:
- Construction, farming, or any other work in association with recovery or restitution of land, property, farm animals or wildlife
- Providing support services or assistance to people living, working or volunteering in the affected areas
Examples of construction work that qualify as specified work include:
- demolition of buildings, trench digging, land clearing and earth moving
- residential and non-residential construction or renovation/repair, including of roads, footpaths, bridges, parking lots, fencing, railways, dams, irrigation systems, sewage and storm water drainage systems