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visa Employment on a Working Holiday Visa

Two basic visa subclasses which allow tourists to go on an extended holiday in Australia and at the same time be employed to earn funds for their stay in the country. These visa subclasses are Working Holiday (subclass 417) and Work and Holiday (subclass 462). One condition for the grant of either of these visas is the application of condition 8547, which limits the length of the employment to a maximum of six (6) months. Furthermore, the condition stipulates that ‘the holder must not be employed by any one employer for more than six (6) months, without the prior permission in writing of the Secretary.’

Only in limited circumstances can a subclass visa 417 or subclass 462 can extend their employment beyond the six (6) month term. Examples of these limited circumstances are as follows:

  • Au Pair: When one au pair has demonstrated to have been employed for a full six (6) months, an additional six (6) months can be granted for the same employer. Proof to be submitted is a letter of support from the family exhibiting your employment as their au pair. The au pair employment is allowed only for the care of children no older than twelve (12) years of age, often children in primary school or younger.
  • Specific industries in Northern Australia: If an applicant is able to demonstrate employment with one employer for six (6) months, then an additional six (6) months can be provided for extension of employment with the same employer, in some circumstances. These industries are as follows:
    • Aged and Disabled Care;
    • Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing;
    • Construction;
    • Mining;
    • Tourism and Hospitality.

For the employment extension request purposes, Northern Australia comprises all of the Northern Territory, specific areas of Queensland and Western Australia above the Tropic of Capricorn.

  • All other Exceptional Circumstance Cases: Aside from the above exceptions, an approved extension for any other instance would only be for a short period of time (days or weeks only). The exceptional circumstance must relate to an Australian permanent resident, citizen or business and the reason for such an extension is unforeseeable and extraordinary. The following are examples of unforeseeable and extraordinary circumstances:
    • For a short period of time, often days or weeks, due to the critical role of the applicant for the completion of the project that had unexpectedly extended its completion period due to delays;
    • Performance of disaster recovery work after a major disaster, such as a clean-up, rebuild, or emergency management after flooding;
    • Continuing in the current employment while waiting for a decision on a pending application for a visa allowing the individual to work full time with the employer without need to leave the country. Examples of these are applications for Temporary (Long Stay) visa or a Spouse or Partner Visa.

It must be duly noted that for the Department of Home Affairs to consider these exceptional circumstances when assessing the extension request, an application for a visa must have been lodged in the Department’s system.

The following are not considered as exceptional circumstances to allow you to extend with your current employment:

  • Having the required skills or due to labour shortages;
  • Completion of a project that is not considered as highly skilled employment, an example would be retail or administrative work;
  • Having applied or intention to apply for a visa that requires exit from Australia at the time of the grant of the said visa;
  • Inability to apply for another kind of visa.

If the purpose of the extension is contrary to the main purpose of the Working Holiday or Work and Holiday visas, which is to spend a vacation in Australia, then the consideration against the grant of the extension would be made. If the main intent is to work in Australia, then it is mandatory that the requisite visa is applied for that purpose.

Before extending employment, it is imperative that Working Holiday and Work and Holiday Visas holders have received express written permission. Such requests for extension need to be filed at least two (2) weeks prior to the expiry of the six (6) month term of the visa. Visa holders who have worked beyond the six (6) month duration allowed under the said visa without the written permission would be considered in breach of their visa condition and thus subject to cancellation of their current visa and/or refusal of their pending application.

How Austmss can help:

Austmss are registered migration agents that can provide able assistance with each phase of the Visa Application, from documentation, requirements and other essential information.

We can be reached at Level 3, Suite 306, 125 Swanston Street, Melbourne, Vic 3000, Australia with Tel: 61 3 9654 8611 / Fax: 61 3 9654 8622