Just like the majority of us, if you’ve ever been to or are currently travelling Australia under a working holiday visa, you’ve surely heard that you can apply for a visa extension that allows you to continue backpacking in Australia for a further 12 months. This short guide will explain a little more on how the 2nd working holiday visa works, how it is granted and how to get yours.
You may or may not be aware of this, but each person can only ever be granted one working holiday visa in their lifetime. It kind of contradicts the “2nd year visa” that you’ve heard so much about. Basically, the second year visa in Australia is merely an extension of the original working holiday visa.
First things first. Qualification.
If you want to apply for a visa extension to continue backpacking in Australia for a further 12 months, then you MUST complete a minimum of 3 months work in rural Australia. The types of work which count are also designated here.
To cut a long story short, pulling pints in a pub somewhere in the outback doesn’t actually count. Fixing fences however (like the one below) most likely does. You can find out which regions and jobs count towards your 2nd year visa on the immigration website. Just navigate the Visa Applicants tab and expand regional areas to find the qualified postcodes, and specified work for the eligible types of work.
Anyway, now that you know this I will point out the single most important fact, and if you take one thing away from this post, let it be this:
GET THE REGIONAL WORK FOR YOUR 2ND YEAR VISA COMPLETE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!
I made the mistake of working in and around Melbourne for the first 6 months of my stay to save money to start my touring. By the time it came to wanting to complete my regional work, I couldn’t find anywhere to stay. I wouldn’t even be guaranteed to get enough work done in time. Plan for this. Enjoy it. You might not want to extend visa after 12 months, but if you want to and you can’t you will regret it much more than if you don’t want to although you can.
I’m currently working on a few resources to help find regional work at different times of the year, and places to stay. So stay posted for that.
Now, assuming you’ve actually headed off to some remote place like Mildura and are happily slaving away in 45 degree heat picking fruit (yes, this is likely what you’ll be doing, suck it up and enjoy it) don’t forget that you will need PROOF that you have actually done all of this work. Keep written notice of how much work you’ve done, how many hours, what type of work and how much you’ve been paid. It certainly helps to have this information available when applying for your extension. (Protip: the links have the required form you’ll need, might as well start early.)
I joke. Most of Australia is actually considered regional, so you could end up somewhere like Barossa Valley.
Note: I won’t condone this, but I know it happens. Some Aussie folk are great and will actually sign off more work than you’ve completed, some will also let you stay with them rent free in return for work. I would advise doing everything legitimately; you can be heavily penalised if you get caught.
So now you know, if you want your 2nd year visa extension to your original working holiday visa, you are going to have to do some extra work for it. Think about it though, when you extend you will have traded 3 months of your original 12, and gained an extra 9. Trust me in saying that Australia is a huge place and backpacking the whole country in 12 months means you’ll skip a ton of great places. The extra time is really a necessity
(and the reason I’m returning on a mere travel visa this Christmas) (and the reason I returned on a mere travel visa this Christmas).
If you leave Australia before apply for your 2nd year visa, when you submit your working holiday visa extension application you must be outside of Australia when it is granted. Alternatively, if you submit the application whilst you are IN Australia, then you must also be in Australia when it is granted.
- Go to Australia
- Do rural work for 3 months
- Apply for 2nd year visa
If you’ve got any other tips, tricks or helpful info for people looking to extend their stay in Australia, then leave a comment and help your fellow travellers out!