Work hard and play even harder with the Working Holiday visa

2020-03-18 17:50:22
Work hard and play even harder with the Working Holiday visa
A three-month tourist visa doesn’t seem long enough to explore Australia. For most backpackers who want to stay more than a few weeks, it’s unlikely you’ll have enough travel funds saved to last you a whole year here, let alone two. That’s where a working holiday in Australia comes in. You’ll be able to earn money while you travel and extend your trip, giving you more than enough time to explore this breathtaking continent.

What is a Working Holiday Visa?

This visa allows young adults to have a 12 month holiday, during which they can undertake short-term work and study. 


Eligibility and Processing Time

There are 2 type of work holiday visa - the Working Holiday (subclass 417) visa and the Work and Holiday (subclass 462) visa. 


· You must be 18-30 years old (For some countries, it has been extended to 35)

· You must be a citizen of an eligible country

· You’ll need a valid passport with at least 6 months until renewal

· You must not have any criminal convictions

· You’ll need to prove you have sufficient funds (AUD5,000)

· Must NOT have held a working holiday visa before

· You must apply for this visa while outside Australia


Your initial visa application may take up to 8 weeks to process, so make sure to allow for plenty of time before booking your ticket. You may also be required to gather supporting information, such as a medical certificate. In this case, your application may take longer.


Extending your visa

You can apply for a 1-year extension to your visa! Do this by working for 88 days (or three months) in specified work in regional Australia. 


Work Holiday Maker (WHM) Program can now count paid or volunteer work completed after 31 July 2019, when they have assisted with bushfire recovery in a declared disaster area, as 'specified work' towards eligibility for a second or third WHM visa


The new rules also allow people to stay up to a year in a single job under the following categories, instead of just six months as was the case before.


· in different locations and work in any one location does not exceed 6 months

· in plant and animal cultivation anywhere in Australia

· in certain industries in northern Australia only

· assisting bushfire recovery efforts.


If you want to work longer than six months with one employer in any other circumstance you need to request permission.


Once you’ve completed your 88 days of specified work in regional Australia, you can apply for your second-year visa. This can take up to 6 weeks to process, so you’re strongly advised to submit your application at least 28 days before your first-year visa expires.


Research your employer and use job seeker boards to ask for advice from other travellers. Some employers pay better than others, and the working conditions can vary from place to place. You must check with a potential employer that the work will qualify as your specified work in the regions. 


You will need to supply evidence to the Australian Government that you have completed this work. This can be payslips, tax returns etc. Discuss this with your employer.


How much does it cost?

There are direct and indirect costs associated with the Australian Working Holiday Visa. The initial cost of the visa is probably going to be a lot cheaper than the indirect costs you’ll need to think about. The indirect costs should cover the money you’ll need to enter the country and live on before you start to earn income.


The costs vary year by year, but here’s a general guide:


1. The initial cost of visa: $485 plus a small surcharge for online credit card payments

2. Cost to enter Australia as proof of funds: $5,000


Our advice would be to save as much as you can before visiting Australia, especially if you haven’t got a pre-arranged job to go to. Australia isn’t cheap and while most employees are paid enough to keep up with the cost of living, it can be tough as a tourist to pay for things like accommodation if you don’t have enough savings or any income. As a rule of thumb, make sure you have enough cash to survive up to 3 months without finding a job to be on the safe side.


Remember that it will be more expensive to live in the big cities like Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, so if you plan on staying here a while make sure you budget well for your trip


Where can you get a job

From fruit picking to bartending, there are a large variety of jobs filled by backpackers on a working holiday in Australia. The most popular jobs include fruit picking, waitressing, farm work and other types of labour such as construction.


The types of jobs available will depend on where in Australia you are. So if you’re in Melbourne for a month or two, you might want to try office temping, working in a shop or waiting on tables. If you’re somewhere more remote, then farm work may be easier to find.


Tips on finding a rental

So, this depends on how long you’re planning on staying in any one location. If you’re only at each place for a few weeks, you might want to opt for staying in hostels or booking an Airbnb.


But if you’re staying longer, there are a ton of legit rental companies all over Australia. However, it can often be difficult to score a place if you’re not signing a year-long lease.


Alternatively, check to see if there are any housing boards or ads at local coffee shops! Gumtree is also another avenue to check, but used with care, as several scams can pop up.


When you leave Australia

If you worked at all while in Australia, there’s a good chance that you are owed some money when you leave! There are two ways that you can claim back some of your hard-earned cash:


1. Claiming back your tax refund

If you only worked part of the year or were taxed incorrectly by your employer, you may be eligible for a tax refund. The Australian tax year ends on June 30, so you will need to file a return after this time. If you plan to leave Australia before June 30, you can file a return early.


Visit the Australian Taxation Office to find out how to lodge a tax return


2. Claiming back your Superannuation

Your employer is required to put aside 9.5% of your earnings into a Superannuation fund. When you leave Australia permanently, you can claim this back as cash. You’ll need a few important pieces of information, like your Australian Tax File Number (TFN), and your superannuation scheme number.

You can begin the claims process for your Superannuation as soon as you have left Australia. 

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