Thoughts on Working Holiday Visas
While enjoying Sydney, we wanted to look into working in Australia. The term ‘Working Holiday Visa’ often comes up when young adults think about Australia. Warm weather, unique and beautiful scenery, high minimum wage, and plenty of working options for foreigners, no wonder this place is a haven for backpackers! You really can make an incredible amount of money here! I know of individuals that worked here comfortably for a year in remote and not so remote places and were able to go back home and easily put a down payment on a house!! Not that that is everyone’s goal, but at least it gives you an idea of what is attainable. Another couple we met on our travels, worked in Northern Queensland for 9 months and saved enough money to travel the globe for a full year! Good for them and it is great to see how achievable it is. Does that entice you to work in Australia???
We decided to get the Working Holiday Visa when coming to Australia rather than just a tourist visa. I hesitated to the very end with that decision because I just wasn’t sure. The Working Holiday Visa costs just under $300 (for Canadian citizens), while the tourist visa is around $60 I think. The kick is that you can work in Australia with the Working Holiday Visa. Although making money is not the point of our trip here, it never hurts to make some when you are taking a year off work. Once we started looking for a job, we realized it was work just to look for work. We decided that even if we lost the money for the cost of the visa itself, it would be ok. If we made the visa money back we would be happy. If we made back twice the visa money or more we would be very happy. After a few days of searching on the internet and talking to people, we realized that searching for work in Australia was not what this trip was all about. We didn’t come here to work on our free time. At least not work pointlessly, doing things that have no value to us or confining ourselves to one place because of a job. In the end, if we got a job, we want it to be good pay and in an interesting place, with the flexibility to stop whenever we want to. That is why we decided to take the job in the outback- in absolutely the middle of nowhere- to see the real Australian outback and to meet the people. We could stay as short or as long as we want, stay at a hotel, and get paid well. But mostly, we chose it for the Outback experience. Why pay for the experience ourselves if we can get paid to have it? So for everyone who has considered living and working in Australia, just remember it’s still a pain to find a job and you really have to know what you want. In our eyes, travel and experiences is what we want, which is just not as important as some pocket change. That is why we will sit in the outback for a few weeks and then travel on to the next adventure…..still coming out on the plus side and doing much better than just paying off our Working Holiday Visas! However, we know that our thinking differs quite a bit from most that come here. Most people want to find that semi-permanent job here and make a lot of money. It is definitely realistic and it is definitely worth it for the money, but it just wasn’t the point of our visit THIS TIME! ;)
FYI Australia is potentially a GREAT place to get a Working Holiday Visa. Minimum wage is high (however, costs of living are high), there are usually jobs available, and there are great benefits at work here. As a foreign resident for tax purposes, you are taxed 29% on your gross earnings. However, I have heard that you get it all back in one lump sum once you put your taxes through for the tax year and leave the country. In addition, employers have to put an additional 9% of each paycheck into a superannuation fund (AKA a retirement fund) that also gets paid back to you once you leave the country and your Working Holiday Visa expires. So if you are working a $20/hour job even for a month-- that is great cash! Although, like I said, Tom and I have been spoiled this trip, in that the only thing we’ve really been paying for is our food and transportation. That in itself has not been cheap, but I can only imagine the costs when accommodation is added to this!
PS. There are other countries you can get working holiday visas including Canada. And many Ozzies and Kiwis do come to Canada to work! Other options are New Zealand and the UK—All Commonwealth countries!! So there is lots of variety out there…However, I don’t think ANYWHERE pays as good as Australia!!! Keep in mind….!
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