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"I'm not traveling to escape, but to discover"

Working Holiday Australia – Part 1: the Visa

First of all I have to say that this post could not be so accurate for everybody, because some of the details of the VISA depends on the agreements between your country and Australia.
So my experience is obviously based on my Italian passport. The same rules are valid for the following countries: Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Taiwan, United Kingdom.

One of the most recurrent questions that people ask me – after “How was your english when you got there?” – when I tell stories about my Australian experience, is “And did you work there? How can you find a job? How does it work?”.
So, with the Working Holiday Visa subclass 417 you can stay in Australia for 12 months, working and/or traveling for the time you want, without particular restrictions (I explain later).
You can apply for the Visa if you’re between 18 and 30 years old, and from the day you get the Visa, you will have 12 months to get there.
Once you arrive in Australia, the Visa starts and you can stay there for 12 months, leaving the country and coming back for all the times you want (during the 12 months).
If you get the Visa the day before your 30th birthday, and for one year you delay your travel for any reason, you can get there within the day before your 31st birthday, and your absolutely legal although your now 31.

To get the Visa you must have a valid passport and, possibly, a clean criminal record. The Visa costs 440,00 AUD (Australian Dollars), and you can pay online at the end of the application.
Usually they send you the confirmation email of your Visa within 10 days. I got it in six hours. And it was a public holiday that day!

During your time in Australia you can work for the whole time, if you want, but at least for six months to each employer. Anyway, if you’re plan is not just a vacation, but you’d like to move there, there’s a way!
The employers know this rule and, if you’re good for their work, you can get a Sponsor Visa, which makes you able to stay there for other six months, or even an year.

The most common way to get a second year of the Working Holiday Visa is to work in the rural areas for 88 days.
They intend 88 days of work, so it’s about 4 months and not 3. Usually the weekends are not included but some farmers count the weekend in the 88 days, so you can get your papers before. Obviously I recommend you to ask about this when you get a job there, to be sure.
Furthermore you’re not obligated to work in a farm; the important thing is to work in a rural area, faraway from the cities. Some diners, roadhouses, hostels, mines, camps in the outback offer you the possibility to get the “second year” if you’re working with them.
To apply for the second year Visa the restrictions of the first year are still valid, same for the price.

Another thing you can do with the WH Visa is to study, for a maximum of 4 months in any Australian school or university. This is very interesting if you want, for example, enrol at an English course to improve the language in the firsts months, and then work or travel.
Of course, if your idea is to get in Australia just to study there is a proper Visa, called Student Visa subclass 500. The “Student” costs 560,00 AUD and you can apply for it without any age limitation and for all the times you want during your life.
If you are in Australia with a Student Visa you can legally work for a maximum of 20 hours per week, but you must enrol to an Australian school, College or University before apply for the Visa.

To apply for the Visas and to have more detailed information, this is the site of the Australia Immigration office:


In the second part of this post, we’ll see how to find a job and which paper works you have to make once you’re landed in Australia.



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