A Guide to Extending your Australian Working Holiday Visa
For decades, Working Holiday (Subclass 417) visas have provided a unique opportunity for expatriates to explore Australia while gaining experience working in various sectors. ‘Working Holiday Makers’, or 417 visa holders, can work in any occupation or industry, and are generally required to work for one employer over the period of six months.
Working Holiday Makers are guaranteed the same rights and protection of Australian Citizens despite their visa status, and if visa holders undertake work in the specified areas, they may be eligible to apply for a second or third Working Holiday (Subclass 417) visa or Work and Holiday (Subclass 462) visa. However, there are some important work conditions which prospective visa applicants should consider:
Visa condition 8547 – six month work limitation for subclass 417 and subclass 462 visa holders
Work with any one employer for both Subclass 417 and Subclass 462 visa holders is generally limited to six months. However, Subclass 417 visa holders will be able to work for the same employer for more than six months providing the work meets certain specifications. For example, this means that Working Holiday Makers can work for two different hotels owned by the same chain, work for two different subsidiaries within a company, or work for separate, independently-owned franchises.
Importantly, the six month limitation resets if an applicant is granted a second Working Holiday visa, or if a bridging visa comes into effect. In addition to this, those who are working in certain industries in Northern Australia, and those who are working in the plant and animal cultivation sector anywhere in Australia, can work for the same employer for up to twelve months without seeking permission from the Department of Home Affairs. This provision supports regions most in need of overseas workers to help fill the gaps in employment.
Further to this, in response to the events which have unfolded in 2020, some additional special considerations have been made. From the 17th of February 2020, those who were working to assist bushfire recover efforts may receive special consideration, including in the areas of construction, farming, restitution of land, and providing support services to people living, working or volunteering in the affected areas.
Special provisions have also been made to those working in the critical sectors during the covid-19 pandemic since the 4th of April 2020. The sectors considered include the areas of agriculture, food processing, health, aged and disability care and child care. These new provisions have broadened opportunities for Working Holiday Makers, and simultaneously acknowledged the need for work in essential sectors at this time.
Expansion of Working Holiday Visa program
Working Holiday Makers who complete work in certain industries may be eligible for a second or third Working Holiday (Subclass 417), and Work and Holiday (Subclass 462) visas.
Notably, work as an au pair, and in aged and disability care, is specifically excluded from the ‘specified work’ for both Subclass 417 or Subclass 462 visas. Further to this, work in tourism and hospitality in northern parts of Australia may make an applicant eligible to satisfy the ‘specified work’ condition for Subclass 462, but not for Subclass 417.
You can find out more about the specified work conditions unique to Subclass 417 visas here:
As for Subclass 462 visas, you can find more information about what is required to satisfy the ‘specified work’ condition here:
Australia’s Working Holiday Maker program: a quick note
Working Holiday visas cannot be extended. This has placed several expatriate employees in a precarious situation given the current travel restrictions, with some visa holders struggling to secure a flight home, and others facing national border closures. Fortunately, there are some avenues through which Working Holiday visa holders may be able to extend their stay in Australia. However, it requires the above specifications are met.
If visa holders have completed 3-6 months of ‘specific work’ in Australia, in areas such as those discussed above, it may be possible to apply for a second or third Working Holiday visa.
You can find out more information and check your eligibility, and the impact of these new provisions, here:
Written by Helen Stewart-Koster
As per Jay Son
Lawyer / Migration Agent (MARN – 1912572)
NO BORDERS: #1 TRUSTED MIGRATION AGENTS
Email: [email protected]
Tel: +61 (07) 3876 4000