Planning a Working Holiday in Australia

Sydney Opera House, NSW, Sydney, Australia
Sydney Opera House, NSW, Sydney, Australia

Today’s guest post is by Gillian Smith.

Planning a Working Holiday in Australia – What You Need To Know!

Year after year, Australia remains one of the most popular destinations for people who want to take a gap year during university or for young people who just want to get a bit more world experience before they settle down in life and their careers. A Working Holiday Visa (WHV) to Australia is ideal for people who want to go exploring and earn some money along the way.

Australia’s uniqueness appeals to many travelers – it’s so big, diverse and isolated that in many ways there is nowhere else on earth quite like it. At the same time, it is also a very modern and progressive country which makes it easy for most young travelers to integrate in to as it is not hugely different from home. The best of both worlds!

Moving to Australia, even if just for year, is a pretty big challenge and can take a lot of planning which is why we’ve put together a handy guide with answers to some of the most crucial questions.

What’s unique to work culture in Australia?

First, let’s first break a common misconception. Australians are known for their laid-back lifestyle. However, this doesn’t mean they don’t expect hard work and effort. Negligent work, being late, not putting enough effort – you won’t get away with those. Australians have strong work ethic for sure – refusing work may show your colleagues you are incapable of doing your job, which may distance them from yourself.

Now, on to the good sides of the Australian work culture – socializing won’t be viewed as trying to waste some time before getting to the real deal. Even more so – getting straight to business while on a meeting may be viewed as rushing.  

Going out after work? You may be used to going out with your colleagues on a Friday night but in Australia the day of the week doesn’t matter – so prepare yourself to go out more.

When it comes to socializing, what about office romances? In some countries this may be seen as a No-No. However, in Australia – as long as you are behaving yourselves during working hours, it won’t be seen as such a big deal.  

What about the work dress-code? A common perception of the typical Australian man is one in flip-flops. While a working holiday job probably won’t get you into an office, or require the most formal of wears, it’s good to mention that even in those cases the Australian office dress-code is a pretty casual one.

Every country has workplace governing bodies and laws – what about Australia? To put it simply – there are loads of laws in Australia. It could even be impossible for businesses to sack staff, such is the protection of employees. There are conditions that have to be met. There are rules governing office behaviour, workplace discrimination, etc. Still, working holiday jobs are a bit less regulated and many backpackers have been treated unfairly by their employers. If a working holiday worker feels he/she has been treated unfairly – working overtime, being underpaid, facing poor working conditions – the Fair Work Ombudsman can help with information, advice about your and your employer’s rights and obligations.

How Do I Get A Working Holiday Visa?

The Australian Working Holiday visa (subclass 417) is ideal for people aged between 18 and 30 (inclusive). This visa lasts for 12 months and allows holders to work in any occupation for any employer during their time in Australia. 

Getting a WHV to Australia is quick and easy – your WHV can be arranged in as little as 48 hours. When your visa is granted, you have one year to activate it by entering Australia. Once activated, you may leave and re-enter Australia as often as you wish. In order to be granted a WHV, the applicant must meet certain requirements:

  • Must be ages 18 to 30 years old
  • Be of good health and character
  • Be a citizen of one of the eligible countries
  • Have a passport with an expiry date that covers the duration of their stay in Australia
  • A bank statement to prove the applicant has enough money to support their stay  in Australia (AUD 5,000)
  • The applicant must not have held an Australian WHV  before
  • The applicant cannot bring dependent children to Australia

More information about these requirements and prices can be found on the Visa First website.

Where To Go?

There are dozens of towns and cities in Australia but most travelers on a working holiday visa will gravitate towards the more popular and busy urban centres like:

  • Sydney
  • Adelaide
  • Melbourne
  • Brisbane
  • Perth
  • Canberra

The bigger cities tend to have more jobs and accommodation on offer as well as more bustling social and cultural events going on. However, if you are looking for less of a city experience during your working holiday or have a specific area you want to try out, there are many smaller towns and cities to choose from. Australia is a vast country so you can try beach or desert living, outback or city living and more in one trip.

What Job To Get?

Many people who go to Oz on a WHV choose to shy away from more traditional professional jobs and opt for more casual jobs that allow them the freedom to explore the country. Common jobs held by travelers on a WHV include:

  • Fruit picking
  • Bar and restaurant work
  • Cleaning work
  • Au Pair and childminding
  • Vineyard work
  • Fundraising work
  • Promotions and brand ambassador jobs

It can take a few weeks for new arrival to find work so it is important to come prepared with plenty of money to keep you afloat. Visa First can help you find work or set you up with companies that specialise in finding jobs for working holiday makers. The good news is that many industries in Australia accommodate for the transient nature of the working holiday and there are always companies and businesses looking to hire people on WHVs.

Author Bio:

This article was written by Gillian Smith – Visa First’s in-house writer. Being a frequent traveler makes Gillian the perfect contributor for a company which doesn’t only process visas but provides complete solutions, which is why it’s essential to have detailed knowledge about the most preferred destinations, the culture of its people, and the top places to visit. Gillian brings travel experience, a different perspective into the lifestyle of people in the countries she visits, unique adaptability blending fast into the local way of life – and she passes this through her writing, hopefully helping and inspiring other fellow travelers.    

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