2nd Year Working Visa in Australia in 6 Steps
[The Ultimate Checklist]
Do you want to extend your working holiday in Australia by a second year?
If you’ve made it to this page, then you’re probably looking for some advice on where to start with the second year visa application process. There is a lot to take on board, and to do it right, a lot of advance planning.
But never fear.
We’ve put together the ultimate resource for you to find every bit of information you could possibly need to lock in year two of your working holiday downunder. From the finding work to submitting the papers, this post is a one-stop resource of directories, forms and info to take a bit of stress out of your second-year visa application.
Get started below or use the contents feature to skip ahead to the section that applies to your current stage of application.
- Key information
- Eligibility considerations before you get started
- Make sure your postcode qualifies
- Don’t get caught short. Make sure you’ve done the right amount of work!
- What can I do? Choose the right specified industry for you
- Ways to get ahead of the game
- Get all the right documents from start to finish
- Submit a foolproof application
$440 AUD (plus a potential $80 AUD application charge)
18 to 30 years (taken from official application date)
Eligible Passport Holders:
United Kingdom, South Korea, Germany, Canada, the Netherlands, Japan, Taiwan, Republic of Ireland, Malta, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Hong Kong, Finland, Cyprus, France, Italy, Belgium, Iceland, Greece, Andorra, Estonia and Latvia
- Passport valid for at least 6 months
- $5,000 AUD in savings
- 3 months/88 days of regional work from your first visa period
Visa eligibility considerations before you get started
It may seem painfully simple but you may be surprised to know how many people simply don’t check the basics before making their plans to extend their working holiday visa. Before you make any plans to set up your regional work it is best to check that you’ll actually be able to extend your Australian visa once it is done.
- To ensure that you are on the correct subclass 417 working visa. Unfortunately the equivalent working holiday subclass 462 visa does not allow the same 2nd year extension provisions. Which visa you have will depend on which country you are from, so before you get too far make sure you are eligible to extend at all. This applies even if you have had a working holiday in Australia on a subclass 462 visa and are a dual national or have changed citizenship to a country with subclass 417 visa eligibility. Once you have entered Australia on a subclass 462 you are no longer eligible for any extension available under the subclass 417 visa.
- Be older than 18 but younger than 31 at the time of application. You may be older than 30 once your visa is granted, however your age eligibility is calculated from the application date of your extension. Your age when applying for the original subclass 417 visa is irrelevant.
- Have no dependant children staying with you for the entire duration of your stay.
- Have a valid passport from an eligible country. Again may seem like a no brainer but if you passport is expiring in the year you are applying for your extension and you are planning to get a new passport, do so BEFORE you submit your extension application. This will avoid complications of having to amend details during the process.
- Have completed your 3 months regional work within the first year of your working visa, or have the time remaining to do so. It pays to be organised. You can complete the required work early on and apply later, but if you get 10 months in and decide you want to stay in the country the 417 extension ship has sailed.
Make sure your postcode qualifies for the second year visa extension
The first thing to note is that any work that is to contribute to your 3 months of regional work must be physically completed with an eligible postcode. That means that if you are working for a company with an office on the Sunshine Coast but complete the actual work in Brisbane, that work will not contribute towards your visa extension.
That being said, what qualifies as regional may surprise some people. Only a very small area of Queensland is ineligible for the working visa extension and this area is predominantly taken up by the greater Brisbane area and the Gold Coast. Every postcode that is officially considered to be in the Sunshine Coast region of Queensland is an eligible region.
The same is also true for most of Australia with South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory ruled as entirely regional zones. To make 100% sure you have a qualified region type a postcode below or, as eligible postcodes are apt to change, check the link of updated and official regional areas.
Don’t get caught short. Make sure you’ve done the right amount of regional work!
First thing to note is the timeframe of the work. To be eligible for an extension you must complete either:
- 3 months continuous full-time. You can only take this route if you complete the full 3 months with a single employer.
- 88 days of part time work – If you work your days non-consecutively or with different employers then you can only count the actual days you worked. This can take considerably longer to complete as, assuming a Mon-Fri working week, there will be 8-10 days per month you lose to weekends. A full day is based on standard hours for that industry.
You cannot shorten your 88 days by doing longer hours. If the industry standard for your position is 8 hours you cannot do two 12 hour days and count it as three.
It is highly beneficial to find full time work as you are entitled to all the standard benefits that are afforded to Australian workers (sick day pay, workers compensation). You will however need to prove this to your employer as per a standard contract, so it is worth getting a Medicare card
In addition, any days that aren’t worked but covered by a regular full time contract still count toward your cumulative total. For example a 3 month mining contract that requires shift work of 7 days on and 7 days off will qualify under the definition of 3 months continual work.
What can I do? Choose the right specified industry for you
Regional work required for a second year working visa is usually associated with either fruit-picking or farm work. These are legitimate choices to extend the visa but they are not the only options that are available, and somewhere in the options below there is sure to be something for you.
The current list of eligible industries are:
- Plant and animal cultivation
- Fishing and pearling
- Tree farming and felling
In the links below you will find more specific examples of activities that will qualify as specified work, however keep in mind the position must be a primary application of the industry, not just associated with it. For example you can not count a position as a secretary for a construction company.
While finding a job in a specified industry is something you can work out for yourself, searching in places that specialise in the type of jobs you are looking for can be easier. The type of businesses that look for short term visa workers will advertise there and if you go through channels that are specifically designed to advertise visa extension work you can be much more confident the work will qualify.
There are plenty of job sites available specifically for travellers, as well as facebook groups and forums. Another rich source of opportunities is any place where foreign nationals may frequent like hostel job boards. Posting an ad up on Gumtree is another great, proactive option.
BEWARE: There are plenty of scammer out there. Never pay any money to someone as a guarantee for regional work or a deposit for accommodation. Also take advantage of online communities to vet any regional work opportunities that don’t seem genuine. Always refer to the official information when it comes to qualified jobs as some employers will try to convince you their rural work qualifies as a way to get cheap labor.
And always, always always ensure you get paid. Room and board is not enough anymore (as you will see below).
Ways to get ahead of the game
With 40,000 UK residents alone applying for a 2nd year visa, you aren’t short of competition. Get the edge on them by:
- Working out early on what sort of work you want to do
- Where you will be able to find that kind of work
- And what time will be the best time to get that type of work
Every industry has busy seasons and the availability of specified jobs are often massively down to seasonal factors. If you educate yourself on these areas, you’ve made it that little bit easier to get the right work.
Get all the right documents for your visa from start to finish
Times are changing and the rules are getting stricter. Whatever you do, don’t just do the regional work and assume everything will be fine when it comes time to apply. Gather as much evidence as possible while you are doing the work to ensure that things are a straightforward as possible when you apply.
You will need to download and keep track of the places you work on an official employment verification form. This form also has a heap of information around eligible industries and postcodes so it is a great thing to have on hand while doing your regional work.
You will need to collect acceptable evidence on the government website this is listed as certified copies of:
- pay slips (must be supplied for all specified work performed from 31 August 2015)
- group certificates
- payment summaries
- tax return
- employer references
- a completed employment verification form
- Australian bank statement covering the period of declared specified work.
Documents can be certified in Australia by a defined range of profession (linked to below).
Try and actively seek all of these documents if possible and confirm with your employer that they will supply them before you start work. This means insuring you seek a position that will pay you into a bank account and not as cash. It also mean that the practice of WWOOFing (working for food and board rather than pay) is no longer a valid way to complete your regional work post August 2015. Equip yourself with an Australian Tax File Number (could take up to 4 weeks) and Bank account before you start looking for regional work.
Also keep your own personal log of the hours you worked day to day and take regular photos of yourself working as further evidence should you run into any trouble down the road.
Submit a foolproof visa application
You’ve done the work. Now you need to get it approved.
Along with the evidence detailed above you will need all the same documentation you needed for your original working holiday. This can be found on the checklist below.
You can either apply online or by post. If you have any dependant children you cannot apply online.
When applying online you will need to submit all the relevant documents and application cost ($460 approx) at the time of submission and it will take about 20 minutes to complete. Also insure you submit a valid email address for communication purposes and take note of the Transaction Reference Number (TRN) as this is what you will need if you ever contact the immigration department to track to progress of your application.
If you are lodging by post, your paper application must go to the Cairns office in Queensland – attention Cairns Second Working Holiday Centre.
If you are applying for the working holiday visa extension from outside Australia you must remain there until the visa is granted. You then have a year to enter the country, whereupon your second year will automatically activate.
Likewise, if you are applying from within Australia you must stay in Australia until the visa is granted. In this case the second year will start immediately after the first year runs out. The processing time for the 2nd year holiday visa after submission is 21 days. If it has not been processed before your 1st year working visa has run out you will be in Australia as what is known as a BVA Bridging Visa. In normal circumstances, you will not have permission to work on this visa and you cannot leave the country while on the visa.
If after you submit your application your circumstances change or you have made a mistake, there are a variety of forms to amend your application. Form 1023 for incorrect answers, Form 926 for change of address/passport details and Form 1022 for change in circumstance.
If you pay close attention to all the information in the links below, you will be a shoo-in for an approved visa application. However if you really want that added layer of security we have also added a link to find a registered migration agent to handle the whole process for you.
So there you have it. A one-stop resource for everything you need to know to get your 2nd year working holiday. Keep this linked saved and refer back to whenever you need a refresher on what needs to be done.
With a bit of luck, we’ll even see you in one of our holiday apartment on the Sunshine Coast for 3 months sometime soon.