People have been asking me how I was able to work in Australia – Well here it is. This is how. And low and behold it’s not just an opportunity for me – but you my friend can do it too. (Certain countries may not be eligible. Read the links to find your country)
1. GET THE VISA Subclass 462 – This visa is for young people who want to holiday and work in Australia for up to a year. It’s specifically for Americans and anyone with a passport from the following countries: Argentina, Bangladesh, Chile, Indonesia, Malaysia, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, Uruguay.
If I didn’t list your country, you may be eligible for the 417 Working Holiday Visa. And if you are, I’m extremely jealous, because you get one year to work in Australia with an optional second year on the completion of three months of farm work. (DO THE FARM WORK) This is for countries like England and Canada. Here’s the link that will take you on the best adventure of your life.
SUBCLASS 462: Work and Holiday Visa (US residents can apply online) THIS VISA ALLOWS YOU TO
•stay in Australia for up to 12 months
•work in Australia for up to six months with each employer
• study for up to four months (But if that main point of your visit is to study, consider a Student Visa)
• leave and re-enter Australia any number of times while the visa is valid.
COST: AU $485 (As of 1/2021 this is the current price)
NOTE: Once you apply, and are approved, you have exactly one year to get into the country. That’s when your visa starts. Then you have one year from that date to stay and work. If you leave, the visa doesn’t stop. But you can come and go as you please during your year of eligibility.
GETTING APPROVED –
- have a passport from an eligible country
- be 18 to 30 years old. *If you apply when you are 30 but turn 31 before they have made a decision, they can still grant the visa and you can enter the country at 31.
- apply from outside Australia
- not be accompanied by dependent children
- not have previously entered Australia on a subclass 462 or 417 visa. If you previously entered Australia on a subclass 462 visa, see the second Work and Holiday visa.
- EDUCATION REQUIREMENT: If from the USA, a minimum of a High School Diploma is needed. Or, as Australians call it: “Senior Secondary Certificate of Education or equivalent.”
That’s it. Pretty simple huh. My visa was flagged when I applied and I needed to submit further documentation. If you have been in a third world country for more than six months like I had been, they require you to get a chest x-ray to check for tuberculosis. I was in Thailand at the time, so I went to the hospital in Phuket, paid $30 USD with no health insurance and the hospital sent my records to Australian immigration. A week later I heard back via email that I was approved.
LAST REQUIREMENT BEFORE ENTERING – Australia requires that you have a minimum of $5000 AU in your home bank account. This is to make sure that you can return home or sustain yourself in their country if anything happens to you or you can’t find work. They don’t actually ask for proof of your bank details when you apply for the visa BUT there is a chance they will ask you at airport immigration. They may, they may not. So be prepared. (They did not ask me.) I know of some people whose relatives opened bank accounts with $5000 in their name just in case. I also know people who risked it and didn’t have that much money and went anyway. You could be deported if caught with insufficient funds. The choice is yours.
2. BOOK YOUR FLIGHT From the time your visa is approved you have one year to get to Australia. Once you get there, your one year working visa starts. I like to use SKYSCANNER.COM to start my flight search. NOW ALL YOU NEED IS A STARTING POINT. I recommend choosing a city, buying a one-way ticket, booking a hostel and letting the rest fall into place. Don’t try to plan too much. You’re going to a place you’ve never been to. You don’t know what you’ll be drawn to and who’ll you’ll meet.
Just get there.
It’s okay to not have it mapped out. When you travel like this nothing ever goes according to plan anyway, so you’re saving yourself time by not planning anything – promise!
3. FIRST 2 DAYS Now you’ve arrived and you’re on a mission to find work. First straighten out three main things.
A) Get an Aussie phone number – Do this right away. You cannot get a job without a way for an employer to contact you. Go to the nearest shopping center and ask for a plan. Make sure to unlock your iPhone or whatever phone you have before you arrive in the country. You can insert an Australian sim into your phone from home. It could be less than $40 a month for a basic plan. I didn’t use my iPhone because Verizon wouldn’t unlock it. (I hate Verizon, but that’s another story.) So, I used a shitty flip phone that I purchased in Australia instead. It got the job done. *Since this article was written in 2015, Verizon has made changes*
Vodafone is a popular phone service. I started with Vodafone until I found about about Lebara…
**Lebara is an Australian phone provider that I used because I was able to call the U.S for free with my monthly pre-paid plan. They range for $30 – $50 a month.
B) Apply for a TAX FILE NUMBER (TFN) You also want to do this right away because they send you your information in the mail and it could take up to 28 days. You are legally allowed to work in Australia, which means you will eventually need to file taxes. The average refund is $2,600. Though, I know backpackers on the visa who have received much more.
When you are ready to file, it’s very simply. I used TAXBACK.COM. I went in person to the office in Sydney.
*As of 2015 Australian tax laws have changed. See website.*
C) Open an Australian bank account Commonwealth Bank is what most backpackers use in Australia. I recommend going there and opening an account. You will need your Australian phone number and passport. From there they will give you a debit card and information for direct deposit that you can give to your future employer. Opening an account is free but they will require you to put some money in your bank account or they will charge you a small fee of $4 a month until you have $1000 in your account. I told them I had just arrived in Australia and I came with hardly any money and I was just beginning to look for work… the kind man waived my fee for three months. (There’s aways a way!)
*NOTE: There are companies that will charge you hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars to set up A, B and C and help you find a job. You don’t need them. Save yourself the money. It’s easier than they make it seem.
A) HAND OUT YOUR RESUME I came to Australia with printed out resumes ready to go. I knew I wanted to work in hospitality, so I tailored my resume appropriately. It’s common to add a picture to your resume in Australia. I recommend doing that. My strategy – Explore Sydney – Decide what part I wanted to work in and hand out resumes in that area. I’m not much of a researcher. When I saw Darling Harbour, I new I wanted to be there every day – So I went around to every restaurant, asked to speak to a manager and handed out my resume in person. That same day I received two potential job offers.
**TRIALS – If you get interest from a restaurant you will be required to come in and work a three hour trial (usually unpaid). This is your chance to prove yourself. They give you a uniform, fill you in on the run down of the place and usually have you run drinks, food and bus tables to see if you know what you’re doing. At the end of the trial they’ll let you know if you got the job or not.
CERTIFICATIONS – Depending on your job, you may be required to get certified in your field. If you choose to work in hospo, you’ll need a Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) certificate. You can do it online or take a class in town. I did mine through TCP Training and paid $120 AU to be certified in five states. There are cheaper options and you can choose to do as many states as you want. You can do the course before you enter the country or you can wait until you find work. I worked for about two weeks before I finished my RSA class. As long as the employer knows you are in the process of completing it, you should be fine.
NOTE: Minimum wage in Australia is $16.87/hr. I would aim for something that is around $20/hr. Working in hospitality allowed me to make a little more than my salary every week because I would also bring home tips. Around $75 – $200 extra a week. Some of my friends made more than that in tips, some less. There are places that pay more for Saturday and Sunday too. For example $25/hr on Saturday and $30/hr on Sunday. Don’t be afraid to ask about that. (BLOG POST HIGHLIGHTING MY FRIENDS JOBS/WAGES/CERTS TO COME)
B) ONLINE OPTION Browse GUMTREE.COM.AU. I have plenty of friends who found all kinds of jobs on there. Check out SEEK.COM.AU for more professional jobs. (NOTE: They deal with so many backpackers who have been flakey and not showed up for their first day, so employers are more likely to contact you if you are already in the country with an Australian phone number.
4. WHERE TO LIVE? Start out at a hostel. Even live in the hostel the whole time if you’re keen. I pretty much did. I recommend Hostel World to book hostels. GUMTREE.COM.AU is a great way to find shared accommodation in the city you are in. Decide what you are looking to spend a week on housing. I was looking for the cheapest place I could find and I ended up finding shared housing in Bondi Beach for $150 a week including utilities. The house was a small hippie house shared with 13 other backpackers and there were six people who lived in my room. Three bunk beds and dressers for our stuff. One bathroom was shared by all of us.
Before this I was living in an 18 bed dorm room in World Square Hostel. I lived there for about six months. I was paying $150 a week for about two months until I started working promotions at the hostel and then my rent was free. If you are looking for your own bedroom in a shared house, you are looking at a minimum of $200 plus a week plus utilities. It all depends on what you’re looking to spend and where you are willing to live. Most places require at least two weeks rent up front. AND REMEMBER liking an accommodation doesn’t mean you will get to live there. When you view a room, you are being scoped out as well. They are probably showing this room to a couple people in the same day you view it. The final decision is made by theis made by the people/landlord who already live there. Most people are looking for someone similar to themselves and people they think they’ll get along with. You will see a lot of ads saying “quite apartment and no guests allowed over,” or “fun party house,” or “young couple looking for another couple to move in.” Some people are even looking to rent a room for a week or a month. You can find pretty much anything. Just keep checking. Things update all the time.
I think I covered the basics to help you get started :) I’ve met some people who have paid companies to do all the work for them. Don’t be tricked into paying for something you can do yourself. There are thousands of backpackers over there doing the same thing. Anything you need to know you can find out through word or mouth. I actually arrived in Australia without knowing any of this. I learned what I needed to do with each day I was there just by asking people. Just figured it out as I went. So now with this knowledge you’re already steps ahead of me!
MORE ABOUT WHAT JOBS YOU CAN FIND IN AUSTRALIA
Thanks for sharing this info. I’m always curious about the “technical” end of holiday work visas but unable to find a website that doesn’t included a lot of white noise that confuses the heck out of me or disinterests me. My sister’s out there right now and sometimes I debate joining her, but I’ve got school for now.
That’s exactly what I was hoping to write! Something simple enough that it’s not too much! Just the basics. I didn’t know any of this until I arrived over there so I hope it can help some people before they arrive! Good luck with school :)
very informative post!
This is awesome, thank you so much.
Reblogged this on 100 Days of Sunshine.
Reblogged this on 180 Tales of Summer.
Thanks a lot.You really are an inspiration for me. I was about to write to you when I saw this post and it basically answers every questions I had. Thanks again :)
Pingback: How I Afford to Travel… And You May Not Like What I’m Going To Say | Kate from the States
Hi Kate! Is there anyway I could contact you by email to inquire about more information on traveling to Australia? This is something my boyfriend and I are seriously considering doing and would like any and all information we can get!
Reblogged this on yogiwanderluhst and commented:
This is great! I haven’t been able to find anything online that breaks it down in this way, and this is exactly what is needed! Thanks!
My daughter is currently spending the year in Colombia – learning Spanish and getting to know her Dad’s family and culture. I’ve shares your blog with her as i think she may take your lead and continue her travels when the year is done. Its comforting as a parent to read others experiences. Also make me a bit jealous that i didnt go for it when i was young! Good luck to you and keep writing!
Is that you in the picture
I Kate, we are a work and travel company from Ireland and we will be happy to work on a project with you. Come back to me if interested. cheers!
Do you run two blogs? Or let others use your picture? Because I saw it on another blog too
This is inspiring! I am seriously considering dropping my university bill for this next semester coming up next week, and buying a plane tucket to Sydney, Australia instead! I am just a little scared, and hate doing things alone but i want to live!
Reblogged this on cadrianne12.
I do have two others that I started before this but this is the Only one with these pictures … Do you know where you saw them?! :o
I think it’s called flux and flow
I’m entirely intrigued by your blog. It’s literally the Travelling Bible. It deserves far more recognition. I have a beauty blog, but the more I read of yours, the stronger my urge grows to get out of the U.S. Please, don’t ever stop! Your way of life is phenomenal.
I’ve been enjoying reading your posts for a bit now, and when I had to think of my five favorite blogs to nominate for ‘one lovely blog award’ yours came to mind. Here’s where I’ve posted the nomination :)
Is there a way for me to reach you personally? I have some questions about teaching English abroad.
Reblogged this on Lisa Maria and commented:
This is great advice for making it look easy, if not very cheap, to travel to and work in another country. However, the real first step is PASSPORT, PASSPORT, PASSPORT ;)
Personally I need to renew mine.
Hi Kate, are you, travelwithk8 at wordpress and katefromthestates at wordpress the same person? It seems you guys are indeed different but share many handles and situations on here.
This is exactly the kind of information I needed. I have been thinking of heading over to Australia for a year. I better hurry up though, I am almost 30! lol
Kate, I am reading your blog posts and absorbing all of the information you’re writing down. I’ve been planning to move from Bristol (UK) to Australia since September, have worked 3 jobs to save up and have finally got my visa application confirmed! This blog especially is helpful as I’ve no clue what to do next! Next step is actually booking the flight! My excitement is growing just reading about all the things waiting for me at the other end, thanks!
They link to the same page :) I bought the katefromthestates domain name awhile ago but still trying to figure out out to get rid of travelwk8.. I’m in New Zealand now and the wifi is terrible soo that doesn’t help! Lol
Would love to hear more! I still haven’t been to Europe yet. Still trying to figure out how to work there. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
“I like to use SKYSCANNER.COM to start my flight search.”
Is SkyScanner a legit way to buy a ticket? Do you ever buy direct from the site or is it better to buy from the airlines? Anyone have a bad experience with SkyScanner?
Excellent, Thank You! Keep up the good writing…and the great living :-)
Heading over there in August. Really helpful to read all this before getting there! Thanks!
It’s not always the best option lately. But I always use it during my flight search. Learned about it from travelers while in Vietnam.
Message me on my facebook page facebook.com/katefromthestates. I will do my absolute best to get back to you asap. The wifi in queenstown isn’t the best!
You’ve gotten some stuff wrong in this, which is bad because it raises the hopes of people – the 417 work visa (i.e UK passport holders) is a 1 year visa with the option of a second year if you do a specified job for 3 months, which will normally be farm work in the arse end of nowhere. It isn’t a 3 year visa at all. You should probably try make out that there is more to Oz than Sydney (a shit London with beaches) and maybe mention how the job market has crashed in the last year because the Australian economy is in recession finally because the mining sector is screwed.
Still good pointers!
They just changed the visa law for 417. And I only blog about things I know. I lived in Sydney so that what I blogged about :)
But I will look into the visa again and change what I wrote if it’s still one year.
Reblogged this on beyondyourordinary and commented:
Hi Kate! I’m so happy I found your blog. I’m moving to Australia hopefully in September and you just made my life so much easier! My plan is to move to New Zealand after Australia so I’m looking forward for all of your tips.
do you get a tfn before going there or when you get there? Thank you!
Pingback: Australian Work and Holiday Visa: The Do It Yourself Guide | underwater1996
Question for you Kate: What health insurance do you have in Australia? Is it traveler’s insurance or health coverage from the states?
Amesome post! But, how did you manage health insurance… You said u didn’t have any? I think it is now mandetory in order to obtain the visa, any recommendations?
Did you ever finish a blog post on what your friends did for jobs? I am thinking of moving to Sydney in September – but I don’t want to be in hospitality. I would actually love to gain experience in another industry, but I don’t have a bachelors degree. it worries me. What are your thoughts on still being able to get a decent paying job that is not serving?
Pingback: Inspiration & Advice on RV DYI Travel Photography - Fiddy States - 50 States
I graduate college in June and plan to work and travel in Australia for a year starting in September. Reading your blog has inspired me to do exactly what I want in life: travel and grow as a person. You’re such an inspiration! Thank you, Kate!
Thank you for sharing!!
Hey Kate! I’m currently in the process of applying! Would you mind telling me what insurance you bought over there and the coverage? Also how much it cost you? Many thanks!
What happen if I fall in love with Australia and want to stay? Is it possible? By the way very informative I like it.. I think you should write books on tips on surviving in diff countries or something