Entering Australia requires a visa unless you are from New Zealand. There are many different types of visas but we are focusing on the Working Holiday for Australia. If you wish to just visit the country and not gain employment, you can apply for a tourist visa very easily.
What is a Working Holiday Visa?
The main purpose of the Working Holiday Visa is to allow a traveller to take an extended holiday while supplementing their funds for the trip through short-term work. This visa is very popular among backpackers and youth travellers. Getting a Working Holiday Visa is not the most difficult process in the world, but one that still needs to be done properly. You can choose to go through a travel service or you can send it in on your own. I personally went through STAtravel to do my application for me. They went through VisaFirst and I was able to get my visa in less than 48 hours. VisaFirst in my opinion is a great resource for sorting out visa questions and information, as the immigration websites can sometimes be extensive and confusing.
On that note, there are two types (417 and 462) of Working Holiday Visas for Australia. The basic requirements for both visas are you must be between the ages of 18-30 and come from a country that is eligible for the visa. There are no exceptions to these rules. If you are over 30 and wish to work in Australia you need to seek an alternative work visa. Below we will go through all the requirements.
What are the requirements?
Both subclasses of these visas have similar requirements including:
- Must be in-between the ages of 18-30 years at the time of applying.
- Must not have previously entered on a Working Holiday Visa (417) or at Work and Holiday Visa (462)
- Be applying no more than 12 months before you intend to depart for Australia
- Not be accompanied by any dependents
- Hold a passport from your country participating in the Working Holiday program
- Meet educational, health, financial, and character requirements
- Must be outside Australia when the visa is granted, if applying from outside Australia
- Must be in Australia when the visa is granted, if applying from in Australia
What do both visas let you do:
- Enter Australia within 12 months of receiving your visa and stay up to 12 months.
- Work up to 6 months in Australia with a single employer
- Leave and re-enter Australia an unlimited amount while visa is valid.
- Study for up to four months
For further explanations of these requirements CLICK HERE.
Applicants wishing to obtain the Working Holiday Visa from the following countries go for Subclass 417. 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 and United Kingdom.
Applicants wishing to obtain the Working Holiday Visa from the following countries go for Subclass 462. Argentina, Bangladesh, Chile, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Thailand, Turkey, the USA and Uruguay, on holiday and work visas in Australia.
You made it through your first year and looking for another year? Then you can go through the same process and apply for this visa. An extension on the Working Holiday visa subclass 417 can be obtained to extend your stay to 24 months if you meet the following requirements:
- You have completed 3 months of specified work in regional Australia during the time of your first Working Holiday (417) visa
- All the requirements listed above
Lodging The Application
The cost for lodging the application is $325 (as of January 2012) for both subclasses.
You can apply through a paper application or online. Seriously though, just save yourself the aggravation of paper and just do it online. Plus online applications can be processed and approved in 48 hours. You can apply online through the Australian Immigration website or you can do what I did and go through VisaFirst. I personally get anxious filling out any type of immigration related forms so I like having someone to walk me through it.
Depending on your application and where you are from, after lodging the application you may be asked to do a phone interview or supply additional documents like a background or police check. I only had a 20-minute phone interview where they asked about my education and if I did anything illegal in my life, then 40 minutes later I had a visa in my email. Make sure if you receive an electronic visa that you have a copy of it printed with you for customs at the airport and if you need to show it later to potential employers.
Phew! All done!
Congratulations you got your Working Holiday Visa successfully and now you are ready to go! You will be offered a package that includes getting your tax file number, sim card for a phone, help with finding a job etc. These programs can cost you from $300 and upwards. We will go through all of those steps and you will see how easy it is to do it all yourself for free or little cost.
For the over 30 crowd, click HERE to check out alternative work visas.