Working and Traveling in Australia: Everything About the Working Holiday Visa

Discover in this blog everything about the Working Holiday Visa (WHV) for Australia! If you have always dreamed of working abroad while traveling, then a WHV for Down Under is exactly what you need. Explore the breathtaking nature, vibrant cities, and unique culture of Australia while earning money to continue your travels.

Australia is a beautiful country to travel in, and it is also one of the best countries for travelers to earn money.

If you don't mind working hard and earning good money, you can easily work 50 to 70 hours per week. The hourly wage in Australia is higher, with a minimum wage of A$23.23. Depending on the type of work and how remote the location is, your hourly wage can be even higher. For example, I worked at a vineyard/wedding location for A$30 per hour. If you work so many hours, you can earn a lot of money to fund your travels in or outside of Australia.

In terms of daily living costs, it is not always more expensive than in the Netherlands. It depends a lot on your lifestyle. For example, a good coffee here costs about 3 euros.

An adventure to Australia can be a great way to start backpacking. Let's now focus on what the Australian "Working Holiday Visa" visa is exactly and how you can apply for it.

What is a Working Holiday Visa (WHV) visa?

A Working Holiday Visa (WHV) is a special visa (subclass 417) for travelers between 18 and 30 (some countries 35) years old, allowing them to work and travel in Australia simultaneously. With this visa, you get the opportunity to stay in Australia for a longer period, during which you can work legally and explore this extraordinary country.

You can apply for a WHV until you turn 31 (for Dutchies). After that, you have one year to enter Australia on this visa, and then your visa starts. Here's to a year full of unique memories and experiences you'll gain during your adventure.

How long can you work & travel with a WHV?

A WHV is valid for up to 12 months, with multi-entry, from the moment you enter Australia. During this year, you can work for up to 6 months with the same employer, or you can choose to work shorter periods with multiple employers. Additionally, you can travel around Australia and discover the country in your own way. This gives you plenty of time to gain new (work) experiences.

Extending your WHV for a 2nd or 3rd year

It is possible to stay in Australia for longer than those 12 months. For this, you need to do specific regional work (e.g., farm work) for at least 88 days in the first 12 months. After completing these 88 days, you can apply for a 2nd WHV for another 12 months. If you want to stay for a 3rd year in Australia, you must have done 166 days of regional work in your 2nd year.

What kind of regional work counts for your 88 days?

It can be anything, but the most important thing is whether the postcode of the company/farm where you work is on the list. You can check this list here to see if it counts for your 88 days, so you can apply for a 2nd WHV.

View the list

This must be "specified work," but the most common is the well-known Farm Work. You then work at a certain type of farm. These can be all kinds of farms, such as a mango farm, berry farm, vegetable farm, solar farm. It can also be a cattle station or within the hospitality industry.

Ready to go to Australia but still have some questions about the Working Holiday Visa or the country itself? Let me help you! Send me a message, and I'll be happy to assist you.

How to apply for a Working Holiday Visa?

Applying for a WHV for Australia is not complicated. It's actually quite simple and can be done quickly, as long as it's for your first year. Below, I have explained it for you in a few steps.

1. Check the conditions

Make sure you meet all the conditions before submitting an application. You will find all the conditions for applying later in this blog. In short: You must be between 18 and 30 years old and have A$5,000 in your account.

2. Apply online

Go to the official website of the Australian government and fill out the application form for a Working Holiday Visa with subclass 417.

Make sure you have all the necessary documents at hand, such as your passport, a screenshot of your account(s), and possibly a recent medical certificate.

Working Holiday Visa aanvragen

There are also companies that can apply for the visa for you, but you will have to pay extra for this service. I don't think this is necessary, but if you prefer, I can recommend: e-visums.nl, visum365.nl of visumbuitenland.nl (use this one the most).

3. Pay

Applying for a WHV costs A$635. In euros, that's about €350 to €400, depending on the exchange rate. You can pay this directly when applying on the Australian government's website.

4. Wait for approval

After submitting your WHV application, you will need to wait patiently. The processing time may vary. When your application is approved, you will receive an email stating that your application has been granted. With an approved visa, you are ready to start your adventure!

Processing time for 1st WHV applications

I applied for my WHV in the evening and received my approval the next morning. The Australian government states on their website that 50% of applications are processed within one day. 75% receive a response after about 2 days. It may take a little longer, but after 14 days, about 90% of applications know whether they have been approved or not.

Conditions for 1st WHV visa

These are the conditions you must meet when applying for a WHV for Australia:

  • You must be between 18 and 30 years old when applying for your visa. You can apply for the visa before your 31st birthday and use it when you are 31.
  • Meet the medical requirements
  • During the visa application, you must not be in Australia on another visa. You must arrange the visa online outside of Australia (tip: Are you in Australia on a tourist visa? Then fly to Indonesia for a holiday and apply for your visa from there).
  • Your passport must be valid for at least six months after leaving Australia. (If your passport is about to expire or you need a new one, always do this before applying for your visa)
  • You must not have previously had a subclass 417 or subclass 462 work visa for Australia.
  • At the time of applying for your visa, you must have A$5,000 in your account (checking and savings accounts) This amount can be in euros (about €3,000 to €3,500 converted) as long as it corresponds to A$5,000, depending on the exchange rate. Make sure you have this in your account when you enter the country, as they may ask for it upon arrival. This was not the case for me.
  • Sufficient funds for a plane ticket to leave the country when the visa expires. This amount is in addition to the A$5,000. So, budget for an extra €500 on top of the €3,000 to €3,500 mentioned above.
  • You may not bring dependent children.

Preparing for backpacking in Australia

Once your visa application for a Working Holiday Visa Australia is approved, you can really start preparing for Australia. Plan a period or date when you want to leave and buy a plane ticket for this. Check, for example, Booking Flights, Skyscanner, or Google Flights to book a cheap plane ticket. Once you have booked a ticket, check Booking.com for accomodations. If you are flying to Perth, I can recommend the Fremantle Prison YHA in Fremantle.

After that, there is still more to prepare and what you need to do when you arrive in Australia. I am working on specific blogs to help you with this. These are not online yet, but if you want some information already, let me know.

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