Australia Work Holiday Visa – Travel and Work in Australia on Your Gap Year

Australia Work Holiday Visa – Travel and Work in Australia on Your Gap Year

The Australian Work Holiday Visa (WHV) is to allow young people to travel and work at the same time if they need more funds to keep the adventure going. This will drive money into the local economy and allow travellers to make lifelong connections with their Australian and international coworkers. Hopefully, those people participating in the program will have an unforgettable experience and friendships that will last a lifetime.

Under Australia’s Working Holiday Maker (WHM) program, young people, aged 18 to 30 years from certain countries may apply for one of two visas:

  • Working Holiday (subclass 417), or
  • Work and Holiday (subclass 462)

The visa is available depending on your country of citizenship, but both visas enable you to travel in Australia for extended periods and to support yourself during your stay with short-term employment in any industry. 

The program is usually reciprocal, allowing young Australians to travel and work under similar arrangements in partner countries.

Australia is just one of several countries that offer a Working Holiday scheme to allow young people to travel for an extended period of time. For more Working Holiday options, check out our blog post!

Work Holiday (subclass 417) 

The Working Holiday (subclass 417) visa is a temporary visa for young people who want to holiday and work in Australia for up to 12 months.

This visa lets young adults between 18 to 30 years old have their first extended holiday in Australia and work in the country to help fund their trip.

During their 12 month stay, 417 visa holders can work as much or as little as they choose in full-time, part-time, casual, paid or voluntary work. However, the work is restricted to a period of 6 months with any single employer. 

To qualify for the visa, you must be a citizen of and hold a valid passport from one of these countries or jurisdictions:

  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • Republic of Cyprus
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China (including British National Overseas passport holders)
  • Republic of Ireland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Republic of Korea
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Sweden
  • Taiwan (other than an official or diplomatic passport)
  • the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Other Criteria

You must be 18 to 30 years old except for Canadian, French and Irish citizens who can be 18 to 35 years old. To qualify for the program, you should not have a dependent child with you while you are in Australia. 

You must have a valid passport from an eligible country and should be valid for the duration of your stay in Australia. 

You must also prove you can support yourself while you are in Australia and leave Australia at the end of your stay. This is usually about AUD 5,000 for your initial stay, plus the fare to where you are going after leaving Australia.

To apply, you need to register and login to an ImmiAccount.

Once your visa is approved, you can travel outside Australia and return as many times as you want while the visa is valid. You must remember that the time spent outside Australia after the visa is activated does not extend the visa.

Work and Holiday (subclass 462)

In 2003, a new visa category was developed. The Work and Holiday (subclass 462) visa category began with additional requirements for young people from countries that had not already entered into Working Holiday (subclass 417) partner agreements.

Since 2006 all new partner agreements have been negotiated under this category. Additional requirements are required to qualify such as tertiary qualifications and a letter of support from their home government. All countries (excluding the USA) have caps on the number of visas available per year under this program.

Countries with Agreement with Australia Under Work and Holiday (subclass 462)

Argentina, Austria, China, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Greece, Hungary, Indonesia, Luxembourg, Peru, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, Uruguay, Vietnam

Education requirement:

  • have a tertiary qualification or have completed 2 years of undergraduate university study

Acceptable tertiary qualifications:

  • Degrees
  • Graduate certificates
  • Diplomas

Not acceptable tertiary qualifications:

  • Certificates
  • Senior Secondary Certificate of Education

Chile

Education requirement:

  • have tertiary qualifications or have completed, or
  • been approved to do a third year of undergraduate university study

Acceptable tertiary qualifications:

  • Degrees
  • Graduate certificates
  • Diplomas

Not acceptable tertiary qualifications:

  • Certificate I to IV level qualifications
  • Senior Secondary Certificate of Education

Israel

Education requirement:

  • Senior Secondary Certificate of Education

You must also either have completed military service or be legally exempt from military service.

Malaysia

You must:

  • have a tertiary qualification or
  • have completed 2 years of undergraduate university study

Acceptable tertiary qualifications:

  • Degrees
  • Graduate diplomas
  • Graduate certificates

Not acceptable tertiary qualifications:

  • advanced diploma
  • diploma
  • Certificate I-IV
  • Senior Secondary Certificate of Education

Thailand

Education requirement:

  • a diploma or
  • a degree

United States of America

Education Requirement:

  • Senior Secondary Certificate of Education or equivalent.

Annual Quotas

CountryQuotaCountryQuota
Argentina3,400Peru​1,500
Austria​200Poland1,​500
Chile​3,400Portugal​500
China​5,000San Marino​100
Czech Republic​500Singapore2,​500
​Ecuador100​Slovak Republic​200
Greece500​Slovenia​200
Hungary​200Spain​3,400
Indonesia4,100Thailand​2,000
Israel​2.500Turkey​100
Luxembourg​100Uruguay​200
Malaysia1,​100Vietnam​1,500

How to Apply for an Australian Working Holiday Visa

Applications should be submitted online by creating an ImmiAccount. Attach the needed documents and pay for the application fee. Only those individuals who are not eligible to lodge an online application can submit their application in person at an Australian Visa Application Centre.

General required documents for 417 and 462:

  • Valid Passport
  • Copy of birth certificate
  • Character documents
  • An overseas police certificate from every country, including your home country
  • Medical Certificate (check if applicable to you)

*Additional documents may be required

Recent Changes in the Program

It has been years since Australia started the Work Holiday Maker (WHM) program and changes are imminent so the program can suit the needs of the young people and to better serve the local community.

If you still meet the age limit (ie. not about to turn 31), you also have the option to extend your visa for a second or third time as long as you meet the condition. 

To be eligible for a second WHM visa, you must have carried out at least 3 months of specified work, which is a minimum period of 88 calendar days.

To be eligible for a third WHM visa, you must have carried out at least 6 months of specified work, which is a minimum period of 179 calendar days.

To meet the requirement for a minimum period of specified work you must complete the same number of normal work days or shifts as a full-time employee in that role and industry would normally work. Check the list of approved work and industries under Specified Work to be eligible to extend your stay.

As a general rule, you must have undertaken all your specified work while holding your previous WHM visa. This means that for a second WHM visa,  you must have undertaken all specified work while holding your first WHM visa, and for a third WHM visa you must have undertaken all specified work while holding your second WHM visa.

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Are you ready to start your adventure in Australia? Talk to us in the comment section below.

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And because of the pandemic, don’t forget to get your travel insurance, which will cover you for flight disruptions and pandemic related matters.

IaM can help with your visa application to the United States, the UK & other countries

If you need help with a US visa, a UK Visa, or visa to Europe, including help with appointment booking obligations, IaM can help. For more information and advice on US immigration, UK immigration law and US visa applications or if you need any help or assistance please, reach out to your Visa Coordinator at IaM.

Charlie

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