The Australian Working Holiday Visa is a temporary visa allowing young people aged 18 to 30 (or up to 35 for some nationalities) to travel and work in Australia for up to one year. You can renew this visa up to two times (under conditions). Australia attracts many travellers for its culture and its relaxed way of life, its climate and of course for the incredible and varied landscapes. This article will tell you everything you need to know about the Working Holiday Visa.
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What is the Australian Working Holiday Visa (WHV)?
The Working Holiday Visa (subclass 417) and Work and Holiday Visa (subclass 462) is a temporary visa for travellers who wish to travel, work and/or study in Australia. It is available to young people between 18 and 30 years old (35 for French, Irish, Canadian, Italian, Danish and British applicants).
It is limited to one year and renewable for two further years under certain conditions. Once your visa is granted, you have one year to enter Australia.
The visa available to applicants (417 or 462) depends on their country of citizenship. The program is usually reciprocal, allowing young Australians to travel and work under similar arrangements in partner countries.
The cost of the visa is currently $635 (Sept 2023).
Travellers on a Working Holiday Visa are taxed on the wages they receive if they work in Australia. They are taxed at a rate of 15% if their income does not exceed $45,000 a year. Superannuation (retirement contribution) is paid on top of their salary and is 11% of what they earn. They can access their superannuation when they leave Australia, but it is taxed at a rate of 65%.
Warning: Be careful not to confuse the Working Holiday Visa and the Work and Holiday Visa!
The conditions to get a Working Holiday Visa
The conditions to meet
- Be under 30 (or 35 depending on your nationality)
- Have a valid passport
- Be outside Australia when you apply for your 1st visa and when it is issued
- Not be accompanied by dependent child(ren)
- Be insured for your stay
- Have enough money to support yourself
- Not having previously had a WHV (except for renewal)
You must be between 18 and 30 years old (inclusive) to apply for a Working Holiday Visa, unless you are French, Canadian, Irish, Italian or Danish, in which case you must be between 18 and 35.
The age limit for UK citizens has been increased to 35 since 1 July 2023, following the Australia UK Free Trade Agreement.
If the age limit for your nationality is 30, you can apply for the visa right up until the day before your 31st birthday. You can then travel to Australia on your WHV after you turn 31. For French, Canadian, Irish, Italian, Danish and British nationals, you can apply up until the day before your 36th birthday, and travel to Australia on your WHV after you turn 36.
Depending on your nationality you might be eligible for a 417 (Working Holiday Visa) or 462 (Work and Holiday Visa).
Your passport must be valid. You will need to enter your passport number when applying for a visa. This step will register your visa, linked to your passport.
To make your first WHV application you must be outside Australian territory.
The cost of obtaining or renewing a Working Holiday Visa is $635 (Sept 2023 rate).
You must also prove that you have sufficient financial resources to remain living in Australia for an extended period and to leave Australia at the end of your trip.
The sum required is $5,000. When applying for a visa online, you will need to prove that you have this amount in your account with a bank statement or a screenshot of your online account. You can also add a Word document where you certify that you have this amount in your account.
In theory, it is mandatory to take out travel insurance for a Working Holiday Visa in Australia. The government strongly recommends taking out insurance during your WHV, and more generally for all long-term trips.
The pandemic showed us that you never know what’s around the corner and it’s better to be safe than sorry!
You must not have previously travelled to Australia on the following visas:
- Working Holiday visa (subclass 417)
- Work and Holiday visa (subclass 462)
Australia has fairly strict health standards. Questions about your health will be asked when you apply for a visa. Depending on your answers and your country of origin, medical examinations may be required.
To be eligible you must:
- Not have and not have had tuberculosis
- Not having been in contact with a person with tuberculosis
- Not have taken an X-ray indicating an abnormality in the lungs
To be eligible, you must not plan treatment during your trip for:
- A blood disease
- Heart disease
- Hepatitis B, C or other disease of the faith
- HIV / AIDS
- Kidney disease
- Mental illness
- Respiratory disease
To find out if the validation of your visa is subject to obtaining a medical examination, you must:
- Log into your account ImmiAccount
- Go on your request
- Click on the “View health assessment” link in the “Applications Status” section
- If you need to take a medical examination you will find a link “Organize health examinations”
- Click on the link and complete your medical history
To be eligible for the WHV, you must meet legal and personality criteria. Thus, in certain very specific cases, your request could be considered as non-eligible. You could, therefore, be ineligible if:
- You have a criminal record
- You have been found guilty of ‘escape from an immigrant detention centre , or sentenced for an offence you have committed:
- While in immigration detention
- While escaping from immigration detention
- After an escape, but before being returned to immigration detention
- You are or have been a member of a group or organization, or were or have an association with a person, group or organization suspected of being involved in criminal conduct
- You have been involved in trafficking of persons, genocide, a war crime, a crime against humanity, a crime involving torture or slavery , or a crime considered to be of grave international concern, whether you have been convicted of such an offense
- Your past and present criminal or general conduct shows that you are not of good character, there is a risk that while you are in Australia:
- You are engaging in criminal conduct
- You harass, molest, intimidate or stalk another person
- You vilify a segment of the Australian community
- You incite discord in the Australian community or any part of it
- You represent a danger to the community Australian or any part of it
- You have been convicted, convicted or a charge has been proven for one or more child sexual offences
- You have been subjected to an adverse security assessment by the Australian Security Intelligence Organization
- You are subject to an interpol search which proves that you represent a direct or indirect risk to the Australian community or a segment of the Australian community
Documents to provide (optional)
These elements can be verified by questions at the time of your visa application. Depending on your answers you may be asked to:
- Provide a police certificate
- Fill out the personal data form 80 for the assessment of your personality
- Complete a statutory declaration of character
- Provide a military certificate (if you have served more than one year)
- Provide a letter of good conduct from an employer.
In case of refusal for legal reasons
If your visa is refused for the reasons set out above, you can appeal to the Administrative Appeal Tribunal (AAT).
Commitment to respect Australian values and laws
At the end of your visa application, you must certify that you have learned about Australian values and that you agree to respect them. These are the principles and values of Australian society.
Working Holiday Visa – Your rights
The WHV allows you to work in Australia freely, whether full-time, part-time, casual or even as a freelancer. However, with the same employer, you are limited to a period of 6 months. If you want to extend with the same employer you will need to contact to the government and ask permission. This 6-month limit applies for full-time, part-time, casual and volunteer jobs. In addition, the 6 months are calculated from the start date of your contract. The working time that you have accumulated is not taken into account.
You can nevertheless work with the same employer for more than 6 months under certain conditions.
On 19 January 2022, the 6-month work limitation was temporarily relaxed. The relaxation of this condition was initially in effect until 31 December 2022, and it has been extended until 30 June 2023.
Any work that is carried out before 1 July 2023 will not be counted towards the 6-month limitation period. This means that from 1 July 2023 onwards, Working Holiday Visa makers may work for any employer for up to an additional 6 months even if they worked for that same employer before 1 July 2023.
Possibility to study
Your other rights
- Stay in Australia for a period of 12 months with the possibility of leaving and entering the territory as many times as you wish.
- You have the possibility to renew your visa twice under certain conditions.
Working Holiday Visa 417 – How to apply
You are under 30 years of age inclusive (35 for some nationalities) and want to travel and work in Australia? Here is how to apply for a Working Holiday Visa:
- Login to HomeAffairs
- Go to “Apply”
- Create an account “Create an ImmiAccount”
- Click the first link of the table “First Working Holiday Visa”
- Complete the form (about 15 min).
- Pay online $635 non-refundable (price as at Sept 2023)
- Once payment is made, you will receive a Transaction Reference Number (TRN) that you need to keep – You can track and follow your application online through your immi account.
The timeframe for obtaining a visa is quite variable. It is sometimes granted within minutes or less than 24 hours, but in other cases it can take a month to a month and a half, or longer.
Note that under certain conditions, you can obtain a second and then a third working holiday visa for two additional years in Australia!
Renew your Working Holiday Visa in Australia
You can apply for a second or third Working Holiday Visa to extend your stay in Australia if you wish.
The requirements to apply for a second Working Holiday Visa
1. Be between 18 and 30 at the time of application (or 35 for Irish, Canadian, French, Italian, Dutch and British citizens)
2. Have a valid passport
3. Have completed three months or 88 days of specified work in regional Australia while on your first Working Holiday visa. Eligible jobs include agriculture, horticulture, fishing, mining, construction or hospitality in eligible regions of Australia.
Eligible regions and jobs
To find out the list of eligible regions, see: Eligible regions to renew your WHV. Some regions are EXCLUDED from the list, including the surroundings of large cities (Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, etc.). It is therefore important to check carefully before starting a job.
To find out which jobs are eligible for renewal, see our dedicated article: Eligible Jobs to renew your WHV.
The request for the second WHV, can be made from Australia or outside the country. If you are applying from Australia, you will need to stay in the country pending the immigration decision. If you are applying outside the country, you will have to wait for the decision before you can re-enter the country.
And if you get a second Working Holiday visa, don’t forget to extend your health insurance.
Please note that from 1 July 2024, UK passport holders will no longer be required to work in eligible areas and jobs to renew their WHV.
Do a third year WHV
Working Holiday Visa holders can apply for a third visa. In order to apply, you must complete 6 months of specified work in regional areas during your second WHV (417 or 462). The types of jobs and eligible regional areas are the same as for obtaining a second visa. The price of the visa is the same as for a first and second WHV – $635.
Note: The 6 months of eligible work in rural areas must have been completed after July 1, 2019.
Prepare for your Working Holiday Visa
How much time do you need to prepare for your trip?
The amount of time people usually give themselves before heading off to Australia varies. Some people like to plan a year in advance, while others make snap decisions and head off as soon as three months after applying for their visa.
We recommend giving yourself about six months to save money, plan, get your documents in order, and get a better deal on your flight tickets by booking with time to spare.
What do I need to pack for my Working Holiday Visa?
Australia is known for its warm and sunny weather, so you’ll want to pack plenty of t-shirts, shorts, and other light clothes. You’ll also need to protect yourself from the sun with hats, sunglasses and sunscreen. However, bear in mind that some parts of Australia do get quite cold. If you’re going to Melbourne in winter, for example, you’ll need to bring a coat, warm jumpers etc.
Bear in mind that you will be limited by your airline’s baggage allowance. Check your weight allowance for hand luggage (generally 7kg or 10kg) and check in luggage (this is usually 20kg but can go up to 30kg if you pay extra). If you are flying to Australia with two different airlines, they may have different baggage allowances, so don’t get caught out by this!
If you have lots of clothes or other items you can’t bear to leave at home but can’t fit in your suitcase, you can use a service like Send My Bag to send luggage to Australia.
Documents to pack for Australia
- Passport (valid for longer than the length of your stay)
- Copy of your Working Holiday Visa
- Your travel insurance policy
- Driver’s licence
- Photocopy of your ID
- Photocopies of your birth cert, college degrees and other official documents you may need
How to budget for your Working Holiday Visa
Before you apply for your WHV, you need to ensure that you have enough savings for your big adventure. Make sure you budget for your visa application costs, your travel insurance and your flight tickets as well as the minimum funds in your bank account requested by the Australian government, which is $5000.
Australia has a high cost of living, so you’ll need to be certain that you have enough money to support yourself until you get on your feet. If you plan on working in the country, it could take you a few weeks or even months to get a job, so the more savings you have, the better. Budget at least $400-$600 a week for accommodation, food, public transportation and going out. For your accommodation on arrival, the best options are hostels and Airbnb to give you time to find a roommate. If you plan on renting in a flatshare or getting your own place, bear in mind that you will also need to pay a bond or deposit. The most bond you can be required to pay is an amount equal to 4 weeks’ rent.
If you plan to go on a road trip when you get to Australia, you’ll need to buy a car. You can find low-end cars from $3,000 and equipped campervans in the $7,000 range. The prices vary depending on the time of year and the city you’re based in.
Read also : Budget for a WHV
What to do on arrival on your Working Holiday Visa?
When you arrive in Australia, you’ll need to get yourself set up for work, accommodation, and so on.
Check in at your accommodation
It’s a good idea to stay in a hostel for the first few days or weeks, to meet other travellers, make friends and get recommendations about the area. If you plan on staying in your city of arrival longer-term, you can find apartments and house shares in Facebook groups or on websites like Gumtree and Flatmates.
Buy a Sim card
The main mobile phone networks in Australia are Telstra, Optus and Vodafone. The quality of their national coverage varies, especially once you leave the major cities. Telstra has the best coverage in the Outback and more regional areas.
Read also : Phone Plans in Australia
Open a bank account
The main banks in Australia are Westpac, ANZ (Australian and New Zealand Banking Group), NAB (National Australia Bank) and Commonwealth. With some banks, you can actually apply to open your bank account from your home country. You then just need to show ID at your bank of choice when you arrive to complete the process.
Get your Tax File Number
Transfer your money
You will need to transfer your money from your home currency to Australian dollars. It is better to use a money transfer service like CurrencyFair or Wise, to avoid getting stung by unfavourable exchange rates and fees from your bank.
Read also : How to transfer money to Australia