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Working Holiday Australia: Visa waiver or refund announced by the government

Working Holiday Australia: Visa waiver or refund announced by the government

In October 2020, the government announced its 2020-2021 Federal Budget. Among the measures, some concerned Working Holiday Visa Makers and especially visa refunds or waivers for those who could not enter Australia due to the inward Travel Ban and those who had to leave Australia because of the pandemic. Here are the measures announced so far.

Visa Refunds and Waivers

Following the release of the Federal Budget for 2020-2021, the government has clarified some points in October 2020 with regards to Refunds and Waivers. The government has decided to offer some solutions for those who could not enter Australia or had to cut short their stay because of the pandemic. Indeed, those measures concern working holiday visa makers, tourists, students, temporary skilled workers and temporary skilled workers.

Working holiday Visa Holders (417 & 462)

For those who had to leave the country earlier

Travellers on working holiday visas who had to leave Australia early due to the pandemic will be eligible for a waiver, or a refund depending on their situation. A waiver means that you will be able to apply for the same visa for free when you decide to return to Australia.

On the government website, it is noted that there is no maximum time that a former WHM visa holder must have spent in Australia before departure to be able to apply for a waiver or refund. Which seems to mean that even if you have spent 6 or 8 months in Australia, if you had to leave the country because of the pandemic, you will be able to apply for a new visa free of charge. However this does not apply for departures that occurred prior the beginning of the pandemic. You must have left the country because of Covid 19.

Therefore if you had to leave Australia early due to COVID-19 you will be eligible for a waiver, when you decide to return to Australia if you choose to, otherwise, you can get a refund. If you are not eligible to lodge a further application because you have passed the age limit for a WHM visa, you will be able to receive a refund instead.

It is important to note that the age limit has not been extended. So those who are unable to return because they have passed the age limit to apply for a WHV, they will be able to get a refund. For info you must be 18 to 30 years old (inclusive) to apply except for Canadian, French and Irish citizens up to 35 (inclusive).

For those who were not able to enter the country

WHV makers who were not able to enter Australia because of the closed borders will be able to lodge a new application free of charge. They will be able to have a new visa for free if they still under the age limit or will get a refund if they have passed it.

Refunds and waivers are available for current WHV holders who are not able to travel to Australia because of travel restrictions.

For those who have passed the relevant age limit, you won’t be able to apply for a new visa. However, you will be able to get a refund.

Visitors and students

For tourists that could not enter the country and whose visa expired, they will be eligible for a waiver. So for those whose visas expired or will expire between March 2020 and December 2021, they will be able to apply for a new visa for free.

  • For students needing a further Student visa to complete their studies or to remain in Australia, they won’t have to pay for their next Student Visa.

Process for refunds and waivers

No procedures have been communicated to deal with Refunds or Waivers at the moment. We will update you as soon as any news comes to hand, so stay tuned !

For the waivers process, we believe you will have to tick a box in your new application. For refunds, we do not know for sure if the form 1424 can be used for the specific covid situation. If you are really desperate to get your money back, you can always complete and return the 1424 but we do not know if it will work.

New visa or refund must be applied for before end of 2022. 

Apply for a 408 Visa

The 408 visa is still available for all WHVs, and temporary visas holders currently in Australia. This visa has no age restriction and allows you to work legally in Australia but only in critical sectors. The visa duration will depend on your situation and can be from 3 to 12 months. The 408 visa application must be made within 28 days before your current visa expires. The application is free.

Please note that you can apply for the 408 Covid Visa when you have no other visa option (meaning you cannot apply for a 2nd or 3rd year visa as you have not completed the specified work requirement).

Home Affairs
2020-2021 Federal Budget Report

Ministry of Home Affairs

The ultimate guide to work and travel around Australia with a Working Holiday Visa! Get all the tips and advice from other backpackers. The first travel guide written by Backpackers for Backpackers in Australia!!!


  1. Hi! My WHV was valid from January 2020 till January 2021. I arrived in Australia in January and I left in August (7 months in), due to the corona measures in Victoria. Will I be eligible for a waiver when I decide to return to Australia? I’m only 21 years old so my age shouldn’t be a problem!

    Thanks for your help! 🙂

  2. Hi, I am returning to the UK but still have 9 months left on my 2nd year visa. As I can’t return due to COVID will I be able to reapply for my 2nd year visa once international travel is open again?

  3. Hi I am been unable to travel to Australia due to travel restrictions and my working holiday visa is due to expire in Feb 2021 how do I apply for a refund?

  4. Hello, acquired my Working Holiday visa befor the pandemic, but as such is the case I will not be able to apply for a waiver since I’ve gone past the 30 year age limit. Have they provided a refund form? I haven’t found one yet. Thanks.

  5. Hi, has anyone tried to apply for a VAC refund yet due to coronavirus travel ban? I have reviewed the refund form 1424 but there is no option to select travel ban as the reason for the refund?

  6. Hi there,

    I have completed the 1424 form and gathered the required documents, so I can apply for a refund.

    But I have no clue where to send these documents. I’m searching for an hour now.

    Do you how where I can send the files?

      • Thanks a lot for your help 🙂

        I’ve looked it up at the suggested website, and it saids to send the form 1424 to my nearest office. I don’t understand, because I never set a foot on Australia. Do they want me to send it to a random office in Australia, like Queensland or something?

        Isn’t there like a general email address from the Department of Home Affairs I can use to send the form?

        Or would you suggest to wait for an update from the government, since I have time until the end of 2022 to request a refund?

  7. Hi there,

    I sent off my 1424 form off for a refund back in October 2020 and have heard nothing back, no email/contact or refund confirmation. I had originally booked my Subclass 417 Working Visa back in January 2020 with STA Travel (who have now ceased trading) and there is no info on their website/contact number or anything, what would you suggest? thanks

    • Hi Ellis
      The thing is we are not even sure the 1424 is the correct one to use for the pandemic situation. The government has not given the process to follow for waivers or refunds as today. You can contact the immigration to follow up on your request, that s all that can be done atm unfortunately 🙁


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