The Australian Working Holiday Visa program will be undergoing significant changes made by the government. One of the key changes will allow workers to work for more than 6 months for the same agricultural employer. It will also include the opportunity to get a third year working holiday visa, under certain conditions.

The current working holiday visa allows you to extend to a second year if you complete three months of work in certain regions and specifically the agricultural sector. The changes made by the Australian government will allow Working Holiday makers who are on their second year to extend their visa for another year after July the 1st 2019. To be eligible for this they must have worked in a specified job for 6 months in a specified regional area. In summary you must complete 88 days of farm work in your first year in order to qualify for a second working holiday visa. Then in your second year you must work in the farm industry for six months in order to apply for a third year. The type of work you will have to complete in order to be eligible for the third year will have to be the exact same as the specified work for the second year visa.

It has not been clarified yet whether this change applies only to future applicants for the Working Holiday visa or whether current Working Holiday makers can work towards their third year. This will be announced soon.

Agricultural jobs

Since 5 November 2018, it is possible to work more than 6 months for the same employer in the agricultural sector.

The jobs included in the agricultural sector:

“- The harvesting and / or packing of fruit and vegetable crops
– pruning and trimming vines and trees
– general maintenance crop work
– cultivating or propagating plants, fungi or their products or parts
– immediate processing of plant products
– maintaining animals for the purpose of selling them or their bodily produce
– immediate processing of animal products including shearing, butchery, packing and tanning
– manufacturing dairy produce from raw materials.” (06/11/2018 Homeaffairs)

This new regulation applies to every state and territory of Australia and to every Working Holiday maker in the first or second year. Workers will therefore be able to stay with the same employer for up to a year.

The Australian government’s goal here is to increase the workforce available to work in seasonal agricultural jobs. It is not necessary to obtain permission by the government, the regulation has come into effect immediately.

Increasing the age limit to 35

While Australia had announced to increase the age limit for Working Holiday Makers, however this change has only been accepted by Ireland and Canada. As a result, Canadians and Irish can now apply for a first or second-year Working Holiday visa until they turn 35 years old. Previously, the age limit for obtaining a Working Holiday visa was 31 years old for Canadians an Irish. For all other countries, the age limit remains 31 for now.

Additional regional areas

Since 5 November 2018, the Australian government have added regional areas in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia, and all of Northern Territory, South Australia, and Tasmania to the list of eligible work locations.