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How to Get an Australian Working Holiday Visa - Either First, Second or Third Year

Skilled workers, who are nominated by their employer, can live and work in Australia on the 417 Visa TZ Application. In this article, we will explain how the Australian working holiday visa scheme works, who is eligible, which jobs you can apply for, how much it costs, and whether it is possible to remain longer once your visa expires.

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For many people between the ages of 18 and 30, travelling to Australia for a working holiday is a right of passage. The working holiday visa scheme is specifically intended for young adults from certain eligible countries who want to have an extended holiday and work to fund their trip. If being able to live and work freely in Australia while enjoying all that it has to offer sounds enticing, this article is for you. In this article, we will explain how the Australian working holiday visa scheme works, who is eligible, which jobs you can apply for, how much it costs, and whether it is possible to remain longer once your visa expires.

What jobs can you do on a 417 visa?

Working holiday visa (also referred to as a subclass 417 visa) holders can do short-term work while in Australia. This work can be of any type, however, in most circumstances, a time limitation of six months for each job applies, except if the work is:

  • in different locations and work in any one location does not exceed six months
  • in plant and animal cultivation anywhere in Australia
  • in certain industries in northern Australia, only
  • from 17 February 2020, assisting bushfire recovery efforts
  • from 4 April 2020, ​in critical sectors during the COVID-19 pandemic​ , including agriculture, food processing, health, aged and disability care and childcare

If you know you are likely to want to apply for a second 417 visa (you can apply for three) after the first 12 months, you must work in specified regions and sectors, including:

  • plant and animal cultivation in regional Australia
  • fishing and pearling in regional Australia
  • tree farming and felling in regional Australia
  • mining in regional Australia
  • construction in regional Australia
  • bushfire recovery work in declared bushfire affected areas only, after 31 July 2019
  • critical COVID-19 work in the healthcare and medical sectors anywhere in Australia, after 31 January 2020

For more details on the specific types of work you can do to be eligible for a second 417 visa, take a look at the Department of Home Affairs website.

How many working hours can I work on a 417 visa?

The Department of Home Affairs does not specify an exact number of hours you can work on a 417 visa, however, they do stress that the hours you work must be in alignment with labour laws and standard practice for the profession; “You should agree with your employer the number of working hours before you start work. One single day of work is considered to be the normal number of hours per day or shift that is considered standard practice in the industry and role in which you are employed”.

Can you enter Australia while waiting for a 417 visa?

If you have applied for a 417 visa, you should wait for the outcome before you travel to Australia. You will have 12 months to enter from the date your visa is granted. The Department of Home Affairs guidance states, “Before you travel..you must have: a valid Working Holiday visa to enter Australia - you do not need a separate visa to enter Australia and a valid passport or other travel document”.

What is the difference between the 417 and the 462 visa?

The 462 visa is also for those between 18 and 30 years who wish to holiday and work in Australia. The 417 visa is for those who hold a passport from the following countries:

  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • Republic of Cyprus
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China (including British National Overseas passport holders)
  • Republic of Ireland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Republic of Korea
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Sweden
  • Taiwan (other than an official or diplomatic passport)
  • The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

The 462 visa is for those with the following passports:

  • Argentina
  • Austria
  • Chile
  • China, People’s Republic of
  • Czech Republic
  • Ecuador
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Indonesia
  • Israel
  • Luxembourg
  • Malaysia
  • Peru
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • San Marino
  • Singapore
  • Slovak Republic
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Thailand
  • Turkey
  • Uruguay
  • United States of America
  • Vietnam

Beyond the variation in eligible countries, the main difference is that the 462 visa has an education requirement (the 417 visa does not). The 462 visa eligibility rules state that applicants from the following countries must have a degree, tertiary certificate, or diploma; Argentina, Austria, China, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Greece, Hungary, Indonesia, Luxembourg, Peru, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, Uruguay, and Vietnam.

Another difference is that the 462 visa requires a letter of support where applicants are from certain countries (Ecuador, Greece, Indonesia, Luxembourg, Malaysia (Good Conduct Certificate), Peru, Poland, San Marino, Slovenia, Thailand, Turkey, and Uruguay)

In addition, the 462 visa has a requirement to speak ‘functional English’.

How to extend an Australian working holiday visa

Unfortunately, the 417 first working holiday visa cannot be extended. Visa holders need to apply for a new visa if they wish to stay longer. One option is to apply for a second Working Holiday visa if you are eligible (as discussed above).

How long does a 417 visa take to process?

For the first and second working holiday visa (subclass 417), 75% of applications are processed within 85 days and 90% within five months. Third working holiday visas can take longer than 85 days to process. If you are already in Australia, you will be able to secure a bridging visa to cover the time between one visa and another.

How much is a 417 working holiday visa for Australia?

The cost of a 417 working holiday visa is AUD$450 whether you are applying for the first, second, or third working holiday.

Can I stay in Australia after my working holiday visa expires?

You can stay longer in Australia once your working holiday visa expires, either by applying for a different type of visa (e.g. a family, study, or work visa) or by applying for a second or third 417 visa if you are eligible. We recommend speaking to an immigration lawyer who can advise you on your options before your current visa expires.

Can you apply for permanent residency in Australia on a working holiday visa?

Unfortunately, because the 417 visa is classed as a visitor visa, it does not provide a direct pathway to permanent residency. If this is your intention, you will need to switch to a visa that will allow you to secure permanent residency (e.g. a work or family visa).

Does a working holiday visa count towards citizenship?

While it is not possible to apply for citizenship as a working holiday visa holder, the time spent in Australia can be used towards the time required to secure this status. To secure citizenship in Australia, applicants must have lived in Australia on a valid visa for the past four years, have been a permanent resident in the 12 months prior to applying, and away from Australia for no more than 12 months in total in the four year period and no more than 90 days in total in the previous 12 months.

Wrapping up

The 417 working holiday visa scheme offers an exciting and valuable opportunity for young people between 18 and 30 to travel and work in Australia. While it cannot be extended, there are several ways to stay longer in Australia by applying for a new visa before your existing status expires.

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