What is an Australian Working Holiday Maker/Work & Holiday (WHM) Visa?

An Australian WHM Visa is a visa for young individuals from other countries, aged between 18 and 30. This visa gives them the opportunity to travel in Australia while being able to work and earn money to continue their travels.

This visa allows you to:
  • Study in Australia for up to 4 months
  • Leave and re-enter the country as much as you like (while the visa is valid)
  • Stay in the country for up to 12 months, potentially 24 months (but see 2 year extension below)
  • Work for a total of six months
  • Who is Eligible for WHM visas?

There are two different categories of WHM visa in Australia. Each depends on what country you are applying from.

The two working holiday visa categories are subclass 417 and subclass 462.

WHM Visa Subclass 417

The subclass 417 visa is considered the most popular of the two. It is available to individuals from the following countries:

  • United Kingdom
  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • The Republic of Cyprus
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • The Republic of Ireland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • The Republic of Korea
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Sweden
  • Taiwan
  • Hong Kong

*Subclass 417 visas: as Australia’s farming and agricultural industries are currently in such high demand, anybody on one of these visas that have worked in the farming and agricultural industry for three months or longer, can renew their visa for a 2nd consecutive year.

Working & Holiday Visa Subclass 462

Applicants for the subclass 462 visa must be between 18 and 30-year old and are looking to visit and work in Australia for just twelve months.

This visa is eligible for people from the following locations:

  • Chile
  • Bangladesh
  • USA
  • Thailand
  • Turkey
  • Argentina
  • Indonesia
  • Malaysia

*Sub-class 462: It is not possible to extend this visa for a 2nd year.

Before Applying for a WHM visa

Before you apply for your visa, there are a few things that you will need to consider:

You will only have one chance to use your WHV, so if you plan on only visiting for a short amount of time because you are thinking of returning for a longer period later, you may wish to hold off on working until you are sure you can work for at least three months. If not then consider a tourist visa for three months which doesn’t allow you to work in Australia.

When you enter the country, you must have enough money to be able to support yourself financially, before you begin work, or begin looking for work.

What are the Basic Requirements for WHM visas?

The basic requirements for obtaining one of these visas are:

  1. At the time of your visa application, you must be 18 years or older, but not have turned 31 or older.
  2. You must not have entered Australia on a WHV in the past.
  3. You must be outside Australia when you apply for the visa.
  4. Individuals will need to ensure that they apply no longer than 12 months before they intend on travelling to Australia.
  5. Any temporary employment must be incidental to your holiday;.
  6. You must pay the current fee visa fee  (AUD450)  for subclass 417/462 and may be liable to pay a non-internet application charge for AUD80;
  7. You MUST enter Australia within 12 months of the grant date of your visa;
  8. The 12 month period commences upon your initial entry within the  initial 12 month period, and you can enter and leave the country as many time as you wish;
  9. You must be in possession of a passport from an eligible country with at least six months left until renewal.
  10. You cannot have a child dependent accompanying you.
  11. You must not have any serious criminal convictions.
  12. You must not have any medical issues which could be deemed as critical.
Applying for a 2nd Year Working Holiday Visa

Individuals working in specified industries (farming and agriculture, plant and animal cultivation, fishing, mining and construction, and tree farming) have the option to renew their WHM visa for a second consecutive year to to extend their stay in Australia from 12 months to 24 months. These 2nd-year applications can be made off-shore as well as on-shore.

Strategies for extending the 6 month work limitation.

The WHM visa has a 6 month work limitation per employer, however an extension to continue working the for WHM employer (in certain circumstances including  to continue on a lodged work visa application after grant) may be sought from the department where application is made from the WHM visa (if no 8503 Condition exists) for any visa which allows work rights  e.g. SC482, SC461 etc. Generally this is only possible for temporary visas because of the processing times, and the department is unlikely to extend the work condition beyond 6 months without strong support from the employer and a lodged application.