Australia’s Working Holiday Maker visa programme is a great way for young people aged 18-30 to have an extended holiday in Australia and earn money through short-term employment. There are two types of Working Holiday Maker visas: Working Holiday visa (subclass 417) and Work and Holiday visa (subclass 462). The visa you should apply for depends on your country of residence. These types of visas allow you to stay and work in Australia for up to 12 months.
Generally, you can only ever get a Working Holiday Maker visa once – it’s a once in a lifetime experience! The second Working Holiday (Subclass 417) visa initiative is the exception – if you do 88 days specified work in regional Australia, you are eligible to apply for a second visa. You can read all the details about what ‘regional Australia’ is and what ‘specified work’ is on the visa applicants tab of the Working Holiday visa page.
The second Working Holiday visa initiative helps encourage Working Holiday visa holders to get out of the big cities and spend some time working in other parts of Australia. It also helps businesses that are making an important contribution to the Australian economy to have the workers they need to run their business, particularly in seasonal peaks.
So what’s changing?
The second Working Holiday visa initiative has proven popular with businesses and visa holders over the years, but unfortunately some people haven’t been doing the right thing. Some visa holders are claiming for work that was never done, and some employers aren’t paying their employees a lawful wage for their work.
That’s why if you’re doing specified work after 31 August, you’ll need to make sure you have pay slips that cover each day of work when you submit your application for a second Working Holiday visa. Electronic copies of applicants pay slips can be uploaded as attachments to your online second Working Holiday visa application, or hardcopies can be provided with a paper application.
What if I’m not given pay slips from my employer?
Don’t be afraid to ask your employer for pay slips – it’s your legal right, and they have to contain certain information. For more information about pay slips, go to: http://www.fairwork.gov.au/pay/pay-slips-and-record-keeping/pay-slips
How do I know if I’ve been paid the right amount?
In some cases, your pay rate will be set by the national minimum wage, which is currently $17.29 per hour (before tax). You may be entitled to a higher rate if you are covered by an award, enterprise agreement or other registered agreement. For more information about pay, and to use the ‘Pay Calculator’, go to: http://calculate.fairwork.gov.au/findyouraward
What about volunteer work?
We know that some groups, like Willing Workers on Organic Farms, promote themselves to Working Holiday visa holders.
If you’d like to volunteer some of your time to help out doing activities that count as specified work, you can, but you won’t be able to count it towards your 88 days specified work if you start the volunteer work after 31 August 2015.
If you started the volunteer work before 31 August, you will be able to count all days worked on the placement, even if you finish up after 31 August.
If you finished volunteer work before 31 August that counts as specified work, you can include these days towards your 88 days specified work if you apply for a second Working Holiday visa.
Information on the change is available here.