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SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING COVID-19 IMPACTED VISA APPLICATIONS - CHARGES REFUNDED OR WAIVED
The Federal Government is offering refunds or waivers of Visa Application Charges to tourists, working holiday makers, seasonal and pacific workers, prospective partners and temporary skilled workers whose travel has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Visitor visa holders who are overseas and whose visas expired or will expire between March 2020 and December 2021 will be eligible for a waiver when they apply for a new visa.
A Working Holiday Maker (WHM) visa is a temporary visa allowing young adults a working holiday in Australia for a stay of up to 12 months from the date of first entry to Australia, regardless of whether or not you spend the whole time in Australia.
Australia has reciprocal working holiday arrangements with 19 countries. For full details of the Australian Working Holiday Visa (Subclass 417), including eligibility criteria, please visit The Department of Home Affairs Australian Working Holiday Visa (Subclass 417) page.
An Australian Work and Holiday Visa is available for tertiary-educated people from 25 participating countries. The visa provides similar opportunities to the WHM visa scheme, but has additional criteria such as specific education requirements and a functional level of english language.
To learn about the requirements for the Australian Work and Holiday Visa (Subclass 462) please visit The Department of Home Affairs Australian Work and Holiday Visa (Subclass 462) page.
Fallen in love with the Australian way of life and wish you could stay longer?
As a previous or exisiting subclass 417 or subclass 462 visa holder, you may be eligible to apply for a second Working Holiday visa, which will allow you to stay for an extra 12 months, if you have worked in any regional primary industry - for example, farm work - for three months (88 days). To ensure the work you are undertaking and the regional area of Australia is eligible under the guidelines please visit subclass 417 and subclass 462 pages, depending in your existing visa, for specified work information.
Subclass 417 and 462 visa holders may also be able to apply for a third year visa if 6 months of specified work in specified regional area during the second year has been completed.
YHA has put together a helpful guide to explain the process on how to meet the criteria for a second and third year working holiday visa.
On 17 February 2020, the Australian Government announced changes to the Working Holiday Maker (WHM) visa program to assist communities to recover from bushfires. Working Holiday Makers can now count paid or volunteer bushfire recovery work in a declared disaster area, carried out after 31 July 2019, as 'specified work' towards eligibility for a second or third Working Holiday Maker visa. Working Holiday Makers (subclass 417 and subclass 462 visa holders) assisting bushfire recovery efforts can also now do paid or unpaid work for up to 12 months (instead of 6 months) with the same employer or organisation without requesting permission from the Government. Visit the latest news from The Department of Home Affairs. For more information about assisting with bushfire recovery efforts, contact BlazeAid.
To support the critical sectors of heath, aged and disability care, agriculture and food processing, and childcare, some limited flexibility will be provided to Working Holiday Makers in Australia during the COVID-19 crisis. In particular, Working Holiday Makers who are working in these critical sectors will be exempt from the usual six month work limitation with one employer, and eligible for a further visa to keep working in these critical sectors if their current visa is due to expire in the next six months. For further information please read the Media Release and visit https://covid19.homeaffairs.gov.au/.
If your Working Holiday Maker visa is due to expire, and you are unable to depart Australia due to COVID-19 travel restrictions - or if you intend to remain in Australia to continue working in critical sectors (including agriculture, food processing, health care, aged care, disability care and child care) during the pandemic - you can apply for a temporary activity visa (subclass 408). This visa is free and valid for 12 months – check here to see if you are eligible to apply for it.
If you are on a Working Holiday Maker visa and have accumulated superannuation (‘super’) on your earnings in Australia, and cannot meet your immediate living expenses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be eligible to apply for early release of superannuation. Up to $10,000 of accumulated superannuation can be accessed prior to the end of the Australian financial year 2019/20 (ending on 30 June 2020). Visit The Australian Taxation Office for all details here.
Alternatively, if you plan to undertake study while in Australia, the Department of Home Affairs has a range of Student Visas available, depending on the type of study to be undertaken.
You've organised your visa, so what else do you need to do? Check out YHA's tips & advice for getting the boring BUT ESSENTIAL things in place before you head down under for the experience of a lifetime.