Love the idea of living and working in Australia? A working holiday visa could be the perfect way to sample that famously laidback Australian lifestyle for more than just a two-week getaway.
Australia has countless attractions for young people and graduates, including beautiful natural landscapes, sunny weather and world-class beaches. It’s easy to see why so many people consider moving to Australia from the UK, drawn to its diverse, culture-rich and friendly cities, where you can find fantastic job opportunities.
What is the working holiday visa Australia?
The Australian working holiday visa scheme is designed for young people aged 18-30 wanting to visit Australia for an extended period of time¹. With this visa, you can earn money to pay for your holiday and get valuable experience of working abroad.
During your time in Australia, you’ll be able to legally¹:
- Do short-term work
- Study for up to 4 months
- Travel to and from Australia whenever you want.
The working holiday visa lasts a certain period of time, but you can apply up to three times. This means you can potentially extend your stay, or come back to Australia for another working holiday in the future (provided you meet the age requirements).
Unlike some other country’s working holiday visa schemes, which have a limited number of permits available and draw from a pool of candidates, anyone can apply for this kind of visa for Australia. You will of course need to meet the eligibility requirements and conditions, which we’ll look at next.
You can’t bring family or dependent children with you to Australia with this visa¹.
There are a number of requirements you must meet in order to apply for the Australian working holiday visa. These include age, nationality and other requirements such as health, character and financial resources. Let’s run through these now.
You must be between 18 and 30 years old¹ at the time of applying for your Australian working holiday visa. This is the age limit for most countries, but citizens from Ireland, Canada and France can be aged 18 to 35 years old.
Only citizens of certain countries are eligible to participate in Australia’s working holiday visa programme. The good news for British applicants is that the UK is on this exclusive list, which also includes Ireland, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, France, Germany and a number of other European countries¹.
So, this means you must have a passport from one of the countries on the list before you can apply for an Australian working holiday visa.
Here’s a quick overview of the other things you’ll need before you can apply¹:
- Proof that you have sufficient money (around $5,000 AUD) to support yourself for your initial stay, along with the fare for your journey home
- Health examinations (if applicable) – find out whether you’ll need to undergo health examinations here.
- Character requirement² – you may not pass this if you have a substantial criminal record. You’ll need to provide a number of documents to prove that you’re an applicant of good characters, such as a police certificate or a letter of good conduct from an employer.
- Previous visas – you can’t apply for the first working holiday visa if you’ve previously entered Australia with a Working Holiday visa (subclass 417) or a Work and Holiday visa (subclass 462). You may also be ineligible if you’ve ever had a visa canceled or a visa application refused.
You’ll also be ineligible if you or any of your family members owe any money to the Australian Government¹. This must be paid back in full before you can apply.
Lastly, you must sign the Australian values statement¹, which confirms that you’ll respect the Australian way of life and obey the country’s laws during your visit.
If you loved your time in Australia and want more of the same, you can apply for a second working holiday visa. In fact, you may also be able to apply for a third.
However, there are some conditions you’ll need to meet. As well as having previously entered the country on a first working holiday visa, you’ll also need to complete 3 months of ‘specified subclass 417 work’. In simple terms, this means working within an approved industry in a certain part of the country for at least 3 months. The full list includes:
- Tourism and hospitality in northern or remote Australia.
- Bushfire recovery work in affected areas.
- Critical Covid-19 works in the healthcare and medical sectors, anywhere in the country.
- Fishing, pearling, tree farming and felling, mining, and construction in regional Australia.
- Plant and animal cultivation in regional Australia.
With this approved work experience under your belt, you’ll be able to apply for a second working holiday visa (provided that you meet the other eligibility requirements).
If you’re looking ahead and thinking of applying for a third working holiday visa, you’ll need to complete 6 months of specified subclass 417 work to be eligible⁴.
If approved, your Australian working holiday visa will last 12 months⁵.
If you’d like to stay longer, you’ll need to plan your trip so that you complete the required months of specified work. This will make you eligible to apply for a second and then a third working holiday visa, each of which lasts 12 months⁵. This means that you can potentially stay in Australia for a total of 3 years.
You can do any kind of work with the Australian working holiday visa¹, which means that the whole of the country’s jobs market is open to you.
However, as the scheme is designed for short-term work, you can usually only work for the same employer for six months¹.
The only thing to bear in mind is that if you plan on applying for another working holiday visa, you’ll need to work within an approved industry for at least 3 months (second visa) or 6 months (third visa).
While working in Australia, you’ll be protected by Australian workplace law and will need to pay taxes when you work¹.
There’s an application fee to pay for the working holiday visa for Australia. This is $495 AUD for all three visa types⁵ – the first, second and third working holiday visa. You must pay this fee when submitting your application¹.
You may also have to pay additional costs for things like biometrics, health examinations and police certificates (if needed).