Working Holiday Visa Australia - A Comprehensive Guide to Applying
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2nd Feb | 9 min read

Getting a Working Holiday Visa to explore Australia is the best way to discover the country.  This visa lets you travel in Australia for a year or longer, and also lets you work as a way of funding your travels.

We’ve previously covered working holiday visa basics, but in this post we'll take a deeper look at the requirements for Working Holiday Visa applicants in Australia.

What is Required to be a Working Holiday Visa holder in Australia?

Working Holiday Makers in Australia are allowed to do short-term work in Australia to help fund their holidays if they meet certain age, character, financial, and health requirements. To be a Working Holiday Maker you need to either apply for Australia’s Working Holiday Visa (subclass 417) or a Work and Holiday Visa (subclass 462) depending on the country you are from.

What countries are part of the Working Holiday Visa program (Subclass 417)?

You must be a citizen and valid passport holder (with at least one year left until renewal) from one of the following countries to apply for a Working Holiday Visa in Australia:

- United Kingdom
- Canada
- Netherlands
- Ireland
- Sweden
- Denmark
- Norway
- Finland
- Japan
- Germany
- Italy
- France
- Malta
- South Korea
- Hong Kong
- Taiwan
- Belgium
- Estonia
- Cyprus

What is the Age Requirement?

You need to be between the ages of 18-30 years (35 if you are a Canadian or Irish citizen) to apply.

What are the Character Requirements?

You cannot have a substantial criminal record and you may have to provide supporting character documents to prove this. In some cases, an overseas police certificate is required from every country, including your home country, where you have spent more than 12 months in the last 10 years.

What are the Financial Requirements?

You need to be able to show sufficient funds in your bank account for a return ticket home and to be able to support yourself during the first part of your stay. While rare, it is sometimes possible that you'll be asked to show proof of this to immigration officials upon arrival (certified copy of your bank statement, air ticket out of Australia). The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) regards a sufficient amount as AUD $5000, however, this amount can vary depending on the nature of your travel.

What are the Health Requirements?

You will need to meet certain health criteria and in some cases undergo a Medical Examination. For more information on what examinations you might possibly need and how to arrange them, click here.

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What is a Work and Holiday Visa (Subclass 462)?

The 19 countries listed above are a part of Australia’s Working Holiday Visa (subclass 417) program. Additionally, Australia has visa arrangements with 23 other countries under subclass 462, these are called Work and Holiday Visas. 

What is the difference between a Working Holiday Visa (subclass 417) and a Work and Holiday Visa (Subclass 462)

The difference between these two subclasses is that a Work and Holiday visa (subclass 462) has a cap on how many are granted per year. This visa also has educational and language requirements in addition to the requirements you read above. 

What countries are part of the Work and Holiday Visa (Subclass 462) program?

To apply under this subclass you must be a citizen and valid passport holder from one of the following countries:

- Argentina
- Austria
- Chile
- China
- Czech Republic
- Hungary
- Indonesia
- Israel
- Luxembourg
- Malaysia
- Peru
- Poland
- Portugal
- San Marino
- Singapore
- Slovak Republic
- Slovenia
- Spain
- Thailand
- Turkey
- Uruguay
- United States
- Vietnam

What are the General Requirements for a Work and Holiday Visa (Subclass 462)?

The financial, character, and health requirements needed to obtain a Working Holiday Visa still stand and must be met by applicants under this subclass. Applicants under subclass 462 have to meet additional qualifications which may (or may not) include a demonstrated ability to speak functional English and educational requirements. 

What are the Educational Requirements for a Work and Holiday Visa (Subclass 462)?

You must have a tertiary qualification or have completed 2 years of undergraduate university study if you are from Argentina, Austria, China, Czech Republic, Hungary, Indonesia, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Peru, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, Uruguay, and Vietnam. Acceptable tertiary qualifications include degrees, graduate certificates, and diplomas. 

Citizens of Chile must have a tertiary qualification or have completed or been approved to do a 3rd year of undergraduate university study. Along with degrees, graduate certificates, and diplomas, tertiary qualifications for Chileans also includes Certificate III or IV level qualifications.

Citizens of Israel must hold a Senior Secondary Certificate of Education and have either completed military service or be legally exempt from military service.

If you are from Thailand you must either have a diploma or a degree.

If you are from the United States you must have a Senior Secondary Certificate of Education or equivalent.

What is the English language requirement for a Work and Holiday Visa (subclass 462)?

You will need to have functional English skills to obtain a work and holiday visa. 

Functional English skills are met if you have a valid passport issued by the UK, Canada, USA, New Zealand, or Ireland. Additionally, if you have completed a relevant and approved English language course, you can qualify as having functional English.

Which countries need a Letter of Support for a Work and Holiday Visa (subclass 462)?

You must have a letter of support from your government if you are from Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Indonesia, Luxembourg, Peru, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, Uruguay, and Vietnam.

If you are from Malaysia you must provide a Malaysian Good Conduct Certificate. 

Citizens from the Czech Republic must provide a letter of introduction from their tertiary education institution. 

What if you have Dual Citizenship?

If you have dual citizenship and you have previously applied and visited Australia on a subclass 417 visa, you cannot enter on a subclass 462 visa. Similarly, the same thing applies if you have previously held a Work and Holiday Visa, you can no longer apply for a Working Holiday Visa. 

How long can you stay in Australia?

You can stay in Australia for 12 months from the date your visa is granted. You will be able to leave and re-enter the country as many times as you want within that period. 

Can You Apply for a Second Year Visa in Australia?

You can qualify for a second-year visa under both visas contingent upon working for a minimum of 88 days doing specified work. Specified work is any work in a specified industry in a designated regional area. If you are a Working Holiday Visa (subclass 417) holder, specified fields include plant & animal cultivation, fishing & pearling, tree farming & felling, mining, and construction. You can find more information on what specific work you can do to apply for a second Working Holiday Visa (subclass 417) here.

For subclass 462 Working Holiday Makers, specified work includes plant & animal cultivation in Northern Australia and other specified regions, fishing & pearling, farming & feeling, and travel & tourism exclusively in Northern Australia. You can find more information on what specific work you can do to apply for a second work and holiday visa (subclass 462) here.

How do you Calculate 88 days?

To meet the 88-day requirement you don’t actually have to work a full 88 days, rather, you will need to work for the same amount of time that a full-time employee would normally work in a 3 month period. For example, you can work 5 days a week for a continuous period of 3 months to meet the minimum requirement to be eligible for a second-year visa. Alternatively, you can also mix up part-time and full-time work as long as you and your employer can prove that you worked an equivalent of full-time hours for 3 months.

Can You Apply For a Third Year Visa?

After July 1st, 2019, Working Holiday Makers who perform 6 months of work in a specified industry while on their second visa (subclasses 417 & 462) may be eligible to apply for a third visa. Moreover, the eligible fields of work correspond directly with what you need to do to earn your second visa.

How can you Apply Online?

To apply for a Working Holiday Visa (subclass 417) click here. 

To apply for a Work and Holiday Visa (subclass 462) click here.

You will need to create an ImmiAccount. Once you do and you log in, you will be able to fill out and submit your application. Both Visas cost AUD $450. According to the Department of Home Affairs, 90% of subclass 417 applications take 77 days to process and for subclass 462 the duration is 55 days.

How likely you are to get Accepted?

As of December 2018, there were 145,479 Working Holiday Makers (both subclasses) in Australia with 115,547 new applications being approved in the 6 month period leading up to December 2018. With an acceptance rate of almost 99% for first-time visa applicants, chances are that if you meet the requirements, you will likely be approved. 

Important Things Consider when you Enter Australia

Here are some other important things to consider once you have entered the country.

You will Need A TFN

Once you are in Australia you will need a Tax File Number to start working. Apply for one here.

You Cannot Stay with One Employer for More than 6 Months

Working at the same place for more than 6 months without prior written permission from the Secretary is prohibited. However, you can work for the same employer for more than 6 months if you’ll be working in a different location. Additionally, plant & animal cultivation workers and certain industries in Northern Australia are exempt from the 6-month rule. 

You will need to file a tax return

If your taxable income is over AUD $37,000 for the year, then you will need to file an income tax return. You can learn more about that here.

Collect your Superannuation

If your monthly wages are over AUD $450, your employer must contribute an amount equal to 9% of your wage into a superannuation account. As a Working Holiday Maker, you should be aware of these contributions. Ask your employer to view your superannuation account. You will be able to access these funds upon leaving the country. 

Remember to Enjoy Yourself

Remember, the whole point is to work to be able to have a great and extended holiday, not the other way around. Your focus should be to explore Australia in the best way possible.

If you have any questions that have gone unanswered, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at I will do my best to answer any questions you may have.

If you want advice from locals in Australia while traveling on your working holiday, you can connect with the many GAFFL locals in Australia below.

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