What You Need To Know About a WHV in Australia
So many young people flock to Australia every year in need of a break of their lives back home. We were them. We wanted to experience life Down Under. Get a job, make some dollars, and spend them again while seeing this beautiful country from head to toe. We applied for a WHV – or a Working Holiday Visa. This would give us the means to legally work in Australia. But there are lots of things to keep in mind before you set off on your adventure! Here are some things you need to consider before you start your gap year in Oz.
1 – Since January 1st, 2017 you can apply until your 35th birthday.
2 – Not all countries are eligible for a Working Holiday Visa – 417/462 in Australia, f.e. Mexicans can’t apply and citizens of the USA can not extend for a second year. You can find a list of eligible countries at the bottom of this page.
3 – You must be outside of Australia when you apply for your first Working Holiday Visa and also when the visa is decided. This means you can not come to Australia on a Tourist Visa before your WHV is granted.
4 – If you apply for your Second Working Holiday Visa from within Australia, you must be in Australia when the visa is granted. If you apply outside Australia, you must be outside Australia when the visa is granted. As soon as you apply from within Australia, you receive a Bridging Visa A, which allows you to stay in Australia until you are granted your second visa in case your first will expire in the mean time.
5 – Since January 1st, 2017 the price has decreased with AU$ 50, and whatever work you do, you will be taxed 15%. This means if your employer holds only 13%, you will have to pay extra at the end of the tax year, which is in June. If they hold back 20%, you will get money back from your tax return. Always ask your employer to hold back at least 15%, or the maximum, so you don’t have to pay unexpected taxes in July.
6 – As soon as your application is granted, you have 1 year to enter Australia, and from that date on your visa is valid for 12 months.
7 – You may leave and re-enter Australia as many times as you wish during your 12 month stay. However, if you depart Australia during your time here, you are not able to recover the period of time you have spent outside Australia. Your visa will not be put on hold if you decide to spend 3 out of your 12 months in Asia or New-Zealand.
8 – While on a WHV, you are permitted to do any kind of work of a temporary or casual nature. You can not be employed by the same employer for more than 6 months. You can also study on this visa, but no more than 4 months.
9 – To apply for a second year, you have to have worked in a designated area of Australia for 3 months, or 88 days. If you can stay with the same employer for 3 months, it’s enough, but if you change employers, you need the full 88 days. This means you have to work in a more primary industry like fishing and pearling, mining and construction, fruit picking and other seasonal farmwork. A full list of jobs can be found here. Make sure you have copy of form 1263 (download here) with you, this is needed to let your employers sign off the days you worked for them. This form is extra proof you can add to your application, together with all your payslips from these jobs.
10 – Be careful with jobs that won’t pay you by the hour, like piece rate at a farm, or work in exchange for food and accomodation. You will never get what you deserve and it will be harder to apply for your second year because you need to hand in copies of your payslips together with your application.
11 – Most farmjobs will pay you an awardwage of $22.13 per hour before taxes. Don’t take anything less. This is what you are supposed to get paid!
12 – To be able to work in Australia, you need to apply for a Tax File Number (TFN). Make this a priority when you arrive in Oz, because it can take up to 28 days before you will get your TFN and you need it to be able to work. But if you find a job before you receive your TFN, call the buro and ask them about it. Maybe they already have your number, but it hasn’t been send out to you yet. We called them up after 7 days and got our number over the phone. Be aware that you need to give them an address to send it to, you can use the address of the hostel you are staying in. Just don’t forget that this is the address linked to your TFN.
13 – The second priority if you intend to make some cash in Australia, is opening up a bank account. There are so many banks to choose from, but it might be wise to choose a bank that is well represented throughout Australia. since banks charge you $4 everytime you use the ATM from another bank institution than your own. The major banks you can find everywhere are Commonwealth, ANZ and Westpac.
14 – If you apply for your second year visa from within Australia, your first year visa will just be extended with another 12 months, so you have a valid visa for 24 months in total. If you apply from outside Australia, you will get a new 12 month Visa as soon as you enter Australia before you turn 35, and within a year after your second year visa was granted.
15 – Looking for farmwork? Don’t drive directly to the farms, eventhough that might sound like the best option. Most farms have quarantaine restrictions and they might get quite pissed off with you if you drive or walk up their turf with your possibly desease carrying tyres or shoes.. We speak from first hand experience and it’s really not a good start for a job application.
16 – Working while you’re in a new country might sound like the last thing you want to do, because you want to explore and see all there is to explore and see! We totally get that, but think about the fact that you are not the only person looking for farmwork. If you wait too long, you might not get your 3 months done in time. If you’re short on time, a working hostel might be your last chance to find work in time. They take a good chunk out of your savings, but they can get you a job if you’re in the right place at the right time (don’t look for a picking job in Queensland in January or around Melbourne in August – follow the seasons). Start your farmwork as soon as you can. You may “only” need 88 days, but it can take a lot more than 3 months before you finish depending on the amount of work, the weather or the season (it took us nearly 5 months to finish the 88days). And besides, afterwards you have a nice amount of money to spend on your travels around Oz.
17 – You’ll make a lot of friends and meet some awesome people along the way, but always be careful. You are still in a new country, and everyone is still a stranger FIRST. But as long as you keep this in mind and act with it, you are in for a great, crazy and amazing time! Enjoy!
Eligible Countries to apply for a WHV – subclass 417
*Holders of passports from The Republic of Cyprus are not eligible to apply for an electronic WHV, and must lodge their application with their resident Australian Government Office.
Eligible Countries to apply for a WHV – subclass 462
United States of America