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Australian Working Visas

Three ways to get a visa so you can work in Australia without any worries

In this handy guide, we summarise the most common types. Read through all of them as some visas have big advantages over others.

First it is helpful to know how you can actually get one:

Top Three ways to get a Visa:  

Most common types of Visas:

For working travellers (backpackers) - including how to get your Second Holiday Work Visa.

Working Holiday Visa (Subclass 417)

This is the most common work visa in Australia for backpackers and the perfect option for young travellers ready to embark on an extended adventure in Australia. The main purpose of the working holiday visa in Australia is to enable you to holiday and travel.

Who: people between the ages of 18 and 31 (35 for people from Canada, Ireland and France), who have no dependents and are citizens of countries who have working holiday agreements with Australia, see below for eligible countries.

What: you can do any kind of temporary or casual employment, and you can work for each employer for up to six months (or up to 12 months for the same employer in the agricultural sector). This visa can also lead to a second year on your working holiday visa provided you do some regional work for at least 3 months (or 88 calendar days). You can also study for a maximum period of four months with this visa.

How long: 12 months from the date you arrive in Australia.

How to apply: Apply online at the Australian immigration website or download a paper application form.  It is a pretty straight forward process - just remember to get travel insurance before you fill out the form. 

Before You Apply: You will need travel insurance for a working holiday visa. If you are from a counrty where the native language is not English you might also need to do an IELTS Test.

Question 33 for a Working Holiday Visa (subclass 417) asks, "Do you hold health insurance to cover your stay in Australia?". Bookmark the link above (or come back to this page).

Cost: AUD$485

Countries currently eligible for the working holiday visa program in Australia are: The United Kingdom, Canada, the Netherlands, Japan, Ireland, Korea, Malta, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Hong Kong, Finland, Cyprus, Belgium, Italy, France, Taiwan and Estonia.

Second working holiday visa in Australia

If you want to extend your stay in Australia, you can apply for a second working holiday visa. You can only apply for your first working holiday visa from outside Australia, but for your second work visa for Australia you can be within or outside the country.

While you can do any kind of work while on your first working holiday visa, you must complete at least three months (88 days) of work in regional Australia to qualify for your second working holiday visa.

Worried about getting a job? Check out our "Tips from Backpackers Living and Working in Oz" PDF!

You can work anywhere in Australia, including throughout the Northern Territory, South Australia and Tasmania. Some regions that are excluded from the list of eligible regional work are: Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong, the NSW Central Coast, Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Perth, Melbourne or the ACT. Seasonal work is defined as picking crops or general maintenance crop work, or any other work associated with packing or processing the harvest.

You may also be eligible if you complete certain work in the fishing, pearling, shearing, butchery or forestry mining, and construction industries.

If you want to apply for a second working holiday visa make sure you are working in a job and region recognised under the scheme, and obtain an employment verification form. Make sure you also keep evidence of your employment (for example, pay slips or bank statements)

Third working holiday visa in Australia

You can apply for athird working holiday visa in Australia if you have held 2 sub class 417 visas previously and completed six months of specified regional work on your second working holiday visa in Australia. The age range and other factors such as having sufficient funds to cover your visit in Australia (at least AUD$ 5000), not having dependants and holding a valid health insurance plan remain the same. 

Please note your application for a third working holiday visa in Australia can only be granted if you have completed six months of specified regional work post July 1, 2019. This means you can only apply for a third working holiday visa earliest by January 2020. You can also apply for this visa if you have been living in Australia on a bridging visa after your second working holiday visa expired.

You can fly to your home country any time and for any duration while holding a first, second, or third working holiday visa. However, your period of absence will not extend the duration of the visa. 

Work and Holiday Visa (Subclass 462)

This Australian visa is different to the working holiday visa. It is for tertiary educated people from certain countries where no Working Holiday Visa agreement exists. It is for people between the ages of 18 and 30 who would like to take an extended holiday of up to 12 months in Australia.

Most countries under this work visa for Australia have an annual limit of 100 Work and Holiday visas per year.


NEWS

On 31 October 2007, the Australian Work and Holiday visa was made available to citizens of the United States of America. To be eligible you must fulfil the criteria below and you must be enrolled, or be enrolled and deferred, as a post-secondary student or be a graduate from a post-secondary institution.

Find out more information about the new Australian Work and Holiday visa for US citizens.

Who: tertiary-educated people between the ages of 18 and 30, from the 

following countries: USA, Argentina, Austria, Chile, People's Republic of China, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Greece, Hungary, Indonesia, Israel, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Peru, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, Uruguay, and Vietnam.

What: you can do any kind of temporary or casual employment to supplement your extended holiday, and you can work for each employer for up to six months

How long: 12 months from the date you arrive in Australia

How to apply: on the internet or by mail

Before you apply: You will need travel insurance as part of your application

If you are not from a country whose native language is English, you will also need an IELTS (or equivalent English language course) score. 

And, you will need to provide a letter of support from the government if you are from the following countries: 

Czech Republic (letter of introduction from your tertiary institution), Ecuador, Greece, Hungary, Indonesia, Luxembourg, Malaysia (Good Conduct Certificate), Peru, Poland, San Marino, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Thailand, Turkey, Uruguay, Vietnam

Cost: AUD$485

Second work and holiday visa in Australia

If you want to extend your stay in Australia, you can apply for a second work and holiday visa after completing three months of specified work (subclass 462 type of employment only) in northern or regional Australia. 

While you can engage in any type of employment on your first work and holiday visa, you need to work in a specific role in the following industries to qualify for a second work and holiday visa: plant and animal cultivation, fishing and pearling, tree farming and felling, and tourism and hospitality.

 Third work and holiday visa in Australia

It’s also possible to extend your work and holiday visa for a third year if you have previously held a first and second work and holiday visa and completed at least 6 months of specified work (subclass 462 type of employment only).

Please note that you should have completed six months of specified work in regional and northern Australia on your second work and holiday visa (or on a bridging visa in special circumstances) post July 1, 2019 to be eligible for a third work and holiday visa.

You can leave and re-enter Australia any time while holding a work and holiday visa, but your period of absence will not extend the visa duration. 

Professional visas requiring sponsorship (temporary skilled shortage visa - up to four years)

If you are not eligible for the Working Holiday Visa or the Work and Holiday Visa, and you wish to come to Australia to work temporarily, then you should consider a temporary employer-sponsored work visa.

Temporary skilled shortage visas (TSS visa; sub class 482) allow you to live and work in Australia for your sponsoring employer for up to four years. They are available across a number of professions and occupations and there is no age limit to apply for these visas.

Who: workers with the necessary skills and experiences required by an approved employer (a registered Standard Business Sponsor) in Australia who is willing to sponsor them. You must also meet the relevant English language proficiency requirements.

What: the position must be full-time and a skilled position approved by the visa program and must meet the minimum salary

Note: regional employers may be exempt from the minimum salary and minimum skill requirements if the position is in a regional or low population area of Australia

How long: from between two months and four years

The three categories of TSS are:

  1. Short-term stream

To be eligible for this visa, you must have at least two years of relevant work experience, be sponsored by a registered employer and your skill must be listed in the short term skilled occupation list (link to combined skilled occupation list on government website).

Once this visa is granted, you can live and work in Australia for two years (extendable up to four years) for your sponsored employer and associated entities only.

Cost: AUD$ 330 per applicant, excluding the skilling Australian funds levy for sponsors; AUD$ 1,265 for applicants

  1. Medium-term stream

A TSS medium-term stream visa is right for you if you have at least two years relevant work experience corresponding with your skill, your skill is listed in themedium and long-term strategic skills list(link to combined skilled occupation list on government website), and if your registered employer is willing to sponsor you to work for them for 4 years. 

You can also study (without government assistance) while working on a TSS medium-term stream visa. 

Cost: AUD$ 330 per applicant, excluding the skilling Australian funds levy for sponsors; AUD$ 2,645 for applicants.

  1. Labour agreement stream

Sometimes Australian businesses enter into Labour agreements with the government to on board a specific number of skilled overseas workers to cope with identified or potential skill shortages in the Australian workforce. If your sponsor (an approved, registered business) has such an agreement with the government, you can live and work in Australia for them for up to 4 years, contingent to the terms of the Labour Agreement.

You can also study while working, but without government support. 

Cost: AUD$ 330 per applicant, excluding the skilling Australian funds levy for sponsors; AUD$ 2,645 for applicants.

The great thing about TSS visas is that they allow you to bring family (on a Subsequent Entrant visa, subclass 482) and even apply for permanent citizenship after some time if you are eligible. And, you can leave and re-enter Australia as many times as you want during the visa duration.

How to apply for these temporary work visas in Australia:

  1. Find an employer who wants to sponsor you, or who wants to recruit overseas workers
  2. The employer must register to be a sponsor (or be already registered)
  3. The employer must nominate the position they wish to recruit for
  4. After the sponsorship and nomination forms have been lodged, you (the employee) can apply for the visa. 
  5. If you are sponsored by an Australian business or a registered Overseas Business Sponsor, you can apply online on the Australian Department of Home Affairs website.

Sponsored Training Visas

The training visa allows you to undertake a supervised, workplace-based training program in Australia to improve your current professional skill set or upgrade your knowledge in your field of tertiary study

Who: you must be at least 18 years of age and you must have been employed in your current occupation or studying for the last 12 months

What: you can apply for a training visa in Australia when a recognised Australian organisation nominates or invites you. The nomination requirements vary according to the type or purpose of training (more on this later). You can also include family members in your application.

How long: two years from the date you arrive in Australia. You can’t extend your stay on this visa, but you can apply for a different visa before this one expires.

Types of nominations for the Training Visa:

  1. Occupational training required for registration

This nomination is for applicants whose occupations require licencing or registration in Australia or their home country.

  1. Occupational training to improve skills 

This nomination is for applicants who need to complete a structured workplace-based training program to improve their professional skills or knowledge in their field of tertiary study. 

  1. Occupational training for capacity building overseas

This nomination is for applicants who are looking for a professional development course or internship to supplement their qualification. Overseas businesses can also send their managerial or executive candidates to take part in this type of structured training program.

How to apply:There are three major steps you must follow

  1. Find an Australian nominating organisation who is willing to train you and make sure the training they provide meets your needs
  2. The organisation must lodge a nomination application online on the Australian Department of Home Affairs website.
  3. Once you have been nominated you can apply for the visa online on the same website.

Cost: AUD$420 for sponsors; AUD$310 for the main applicant (cost to include family members is additional)

How do I know if my occupation is on a skills shortage list?

Check the combined skilled occupation list on the Australian Department of Home Affairs website, which lets you filter open positions according to visa and skill shortage type (short term or medium/long-term shortage). Corresponding regional postcodes are also mentioned for easy selection. Alternatively, a reliable third party can verify there is a local skills shortage in your trade.

Once you have selected a position and region, you can apply for the relevant visa on the same website.

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