Australian Working Holiday Visas
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Australia is a vast country and not one that you can visit and see in a few weeks. If you are looking to see the whole place and experience the true Australia, but are short on funds, then luckily you may be eligible to apply for an Australian working holiday visa
What’s is a working holiday visa
The working holiday visa permits residents from certain countries to visit Australia for a period of up to 12 months and supplement their travel funds and experiences by working. The main intention for your visit should be tourism but you are free to work for each employer for a period of up to 6 months at a time or work for many employers during your 12 month stay or study for up to 4 months
Who’s eligible for the Visa?
If your aged between 18 and 30 (not yet turned 31) and are lucky enough to come from Belgium, Canada, Republic of Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Taiwan or United Kingdom you can apply for a sub class 417Australian working holiday visa.
If you live in Chile, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Thailand, Turkey or the USA you can apply for a subclass 462 Australian working holiday visa.
In order to apply you must be of “good character” so if you have a criminal record then depending on your crimes they may refuse to grant your visa. You must also be of good health.
If you have spent a long time in a country that they consider to be of high risk of tuberculosis or planning on working in certain industries, such a healthcare, then they may request that you provide a chest x-ray, HIV test and a medical to show that you don’t have TB or any other nasty diseases.
Showing them the big TB jab mark on your arm that you get at around 13 if you’re from the UK is not proof enough!
You must be outside Australia when you apply.
What’s all this I hear about needing to have AU$5000?
Life’s a beach- This is true but it does cost money as you will need to buy food, need somewhere to stay and be able to support yourself until you find work. In order to ensure this then you MAY be required to provide evidence that you can lay your hands on AU$5000 (or the equivalent in your home currency).
When you land in Australia you will have to present your passport at immigration in the airport where they will check your visa. At their discretion they MAY ask you to provide evidence that you can support yourself financially during your stay in Australia and that you are going to leave at the end and not vanish into the bush.
For this reason it’s a good idea to carry a copy of a bank statement, travellers cheques or visa cards to show that you have funds available. In addition a return plane ticket or evidence to show that you can afford one is a good idea.
The reason we say MAY is because it is unusual that you will be asked provided you use your common sense. If you have spent 3 months in Thailand and arrive at immigration in Thai trousers, Jesus sandals and a ripped T-shirt they may well question that you have funds to support yourself. If you arrive dressed normally and not like a homeless person then the chances of you being asked will be greatly reduced. Please note though that it is a legal requirement for the visa so please take this advice as that…advice!
What does the visa allow me to do?
Holders of either sub class visa can enter Australia for a period of up to 12 months and come and go as they please, e.g. you can head over to New Zealand for a few weeks and then come back or nip home to see your Gran and come back!
Your main purpose of visiting should be tourism but for those hard up backpackers you can also work for up to 12 months. The only constraint on this is that you can only work for a single employer for a maximum of 6 months before you would have to look for a new employer. There is nothing to stop you working for 12 different employers for the whole 12 months but as the main reason is tourism you cannot work for the same employer for more than 6 months!
If lying on the beach and seeing the sights is not your thing then the working holiday visa will also allow you to study for up to 4 months.
How long is the Working Holiday Visa valid for and when should I apply?
You can apply for your visa up to 12 months before you intend to arrive. Once granted you will have 12 months in which to first enter Australia and then 12 months stay from the date you first enter the country, so if your visa is granted on the 10 Jan 2010 you will have until 9 Jan 2011 to first enter Australia. If you first enter on the 9 Jan then you are permitted to remain until 9 Jan 2012 (or 12 months from the date your first enter.)
Should I apply before I go?
You must be outside Australia to apply for the visa but you don’t have to be in your home country. If you are heading off to Asia first and think you may be there for a while or even longer term then there is nothing stopping you applying for your visa at a later date, e.g. in Bangkok or Singapore at the Australian High Commission or even online.
The only draw back is that if you apply and have been in certain countries, typically Asia, the chances that they will request you to go for a medical are greatly increased so if you are heading down under within 12 months then just apply before you head off.
How much does it Cost?
The Australia Department of Immigration charge AU$230 application fee to process your visa. If you are required to undergo a medical then this is in addition to the application fee.
How long will it for me to get my Visa?
If you log your application online with the Department of Immigration and there are no problems with your application then they normally process it within 2 days. If your application gets referred to an immigration officer or is not straight forward the process can take up to 4 weeks.
How do I apply?
You can apply online directly with the department of immigration. You complete the online forms and pay the fee all in one go. It’s a good idea to check you have filled the forms out correctly to ensure that there are no glitches otherwise it may take longer to process.
If you like the easy life and do not want the hassle of having to ensure you have filled the forms out and not forgotten anything or missed anything then a great idea is to use a visa agent. They are the experts in processing visas on your behalf and remove all the hassle for you and ensure it is all correct. The last thing you want to do it get it wrong and then be held up whilst they process it or be declined and loose your application fee. A visa agent will ensure all is in order and submit your application. Many also offer welcome packs that include airport pick ups and accommodation when you land in to ensure you arrive safely and settle in, plus take care of all your essentials such as Tax file Number and bank account set up.
Loved it so much you want to stay longer?
Check out the links below for your options.
2nd Year working holiday Visas
Stay long term and make Australia home
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Disclaimer: Please note that the information on this page is subject to change and should not be used as a sole guide or assumed to be correct. For the latest information please refer to the Australian department of Immigration website