Adding a Second Year to Your Australian Working Holiday Visa: What You Need to Know
Are you considering coming to Australia on a Working Holiday Visa? This can be a great opportunity to live in Australia while earning an income. There's certain criteria that must be fulfilled, largely being that you must be between the ages of 18 and 30, and hold a passport from a country that has a reciprocal Working Holiday Visa agreement with Australia. You are certainly entitled to seek work within an industry in which you're qualified (or merely in which you have an interest). You can also look for work in your preferred town or city in Australia, although this can place some limits on the ability to extend your visa beyond the initial one year period. So what if you want to come to Australia, live and work in your preferred city, and yet stay for longer than a year?
Starting in a Rural Area
This is the key factor in qualifying for an extension of your initial one year visa. To qualify for a second year, you must work in a regional area of Australia for at least 88 days. This ensures that agricultural producers (and other regional industries) have a sufficient available workforce to meet their production targets. It has been speculated that a proposed tax increase for seasonal workers will result in a shortage of that workforce, but this will be balanced with a potential increase in the eligibility age, as well as a reduction in the visa fee. There are a number of labour hire companies that can place you in seasonal agricultural work, even if you only intend to stay for the required 88 days (approximately three months) and then seek work in your chosen field, in your preferred location.
Moving to a City
Once you have qualified to apply for an extension to your initial one year visa, you may do so. This permits you to leave a rural area and work in a city of your choice. You can look for work yourself or you can use a labour agency. A labour agency can often be the best choice if you wish to remain in a particular location. For example, a Sydney labour hire company can find you temporary work in your chosen field that takes your visa restrictions into consideration. This can be difficult to overcome when you apply directly to an employer or their nominated recruitment agency, unless the advertisement explicitly states that the employment is temporary. A labour hire company will already have taken this into consideration, and can place you accordingly. But why must the employment be of a temporary nature?
The Six Month Rule
The Working Holiday Visa has a condition which means you are not allowed to work for a single employer for more than six months. This condition is essentially reset when a second year has been approved, in that you can then work for an employer for a further six months (even if you worked for them before the second year had been approved). This means that the length of time you work for an employer will depend on when the second year is approved. Again, a labour hire company that specialises in working holiday visa holders will be able to place you in employment that does not violate any condition of this extension.
So while it's certainly possible to live and work in Australia on a Working Holiday Visa, please remember that there are limits on the time you can stay with a specific employer. If you feel that you will want to stay for a second year, it can be advisable to qualify for this early in the initial period of your visa, thus allowing you to find work in your preferred location. For more information, consult with a labour hire agency, such as DSC Personnel.