We get asked this question A LOT from you guys. Heading to Aussie on a working holiday is one of the most popular ways of travelling, so we can see why! If you’re gonna want to see it all, you’re gonna need a decent amount of cash so, working whilst travelling is the ideal option for most people.
You should get a Working Holiday Visa if:
- You are planning on working whilst you are in Australia…
- You are planning on staying a year or more in Aussie!
- You want to do the farm work to get your second year visa
- You are planning to stay over the 3 month tourist visa…
So here goes, our – super in depth – guide to a Working Holiday Visa in Australia.
Time to try a new adventure?
Before heading to Australia you’ve been working your ass off to fund your travels right? All those extra hours at work, the missed nights out, the food shops that consist of 50p pasta and whatever you can get your hands on in the reduced section. It really is quite the sacrifice BUT, there is a way of working AND travelling around Australia by grabbing yourself a Working Holiday Visa…travelling and making money at the same time – sounds good right!?
Travelling with a Working Holiday Visa is ideal for those of you who are keen to stay in Aussie for an extended period of time. If you want to have the best time ever and experience all that the country has to offer, a decent amount of dosh is essential.
You’re also going to need a Tax File Number (TFN), an Aussie bank account, Aussie phone number and to create a CV with all of these new details on. Sounds hectic right – well, all of this is actually pretty simple and we’re going to tell you exactly how to do it.
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The Working Holiday Visa
What is it?
A working holiday visa will allow you to stay in Australia for 12 months, compared to a tourist visa which only allows 3 months.
The visa costs £250 (485 AUD) – you can apply online here (you must hold a passport, be 18 to 30 years old and must not be accompanied by dependent children).
You can leave and come back during this period.
If you’d like to stay longer than 12 months, you can be entitled to a second working holiday visa if you complete at least 88 days of farm work, fruit picking or construction work during your time there.
Travel or work first?
Of course it is completely up to you – this is your adventure – but we would advise that you travel first and then work. Why?
- Have a bit of fun before settling down to boring ol’ work
- Check out the East Coast first and then decide which place you vibe with and where you would like to base yourself
- Make connections as you travel and you may fall in to work or meet others trying to find jobs too
Where should I start?
The choice is yours – you can start anywhere!
We would advise that finding a job in a city would be easier, simply because there are more opportunities or, if farm work sounds like your kinda vibe – then you’ll probs find yourself in more of a rural area.
Some example of starting points:
- City jobs: If you’re looking for a city job such as housekeeping, retail, hospitality (restaurants and bars) or construction work, then look at finding a job in Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane.
- Farm work: If you want to go full on backpacker vibes, then look in to farm work. They’re dotted all over the country – but start by having a look around the Gold Coast and around Cairns.
- Volunteer work: Again, you can find jobs dotted up and down the coast. Check out this website if this sounds like your kinda thing (here).
Setting up a bank account
If you’re going to be working in Australia, you’ll need to set up an Aussie bank account – it makes life so much easier for both you and your employer.
How to set up an Australian bank account?
This is easier than it seems. You can set up your bank account online before you leave. Then, when you land in Australia just head to your chosen bank and present your passport as identification.
You will then receive your bankcard within a few days to a week. If you don’t have a permanent address at this point, just have your card sent to a post office or ask to pick it up at the bank directly.
Here are some Aussie banks so you can start looking: HSBC, Commonwealth, Westpac, NAB and ANZ.
Sorting out a tax number
A tax file number (aka TFN) is a personal 9 digit number which you must provide to your employer to work legally in Australia.
Sounds boring and confusing, but they’re actually super easy to apply for.
How to apply?
All you need in order to apply:
- An address in Australia (so apply when you get out there).
- Your passport number
- An Australian phone number
- Valid email address
You can then apply online at the Australian Tax Office website (here) which is free! Your number will then be sent within 28 days to the postal address indicated in your application.
Getting a new phone number
As you’re in a completely different country, if you’re going to put your phone number on your CV, it’s going to need to be an Aussie phone number.
There are two ways to do this:
- Buy a cheap brick phone and set it up over there, simply to be used for calls and texts.
- If you want to use your current phone to do everything on, get a new pay as you go sim card. Plus, this way you will have 4G for maps (which believe us, will come in handy).
This is the easy part…hostels! Hostels will become your best friend – they’re cheap, backpacker friendly and a great laugh!
Jump on to Hostel World and you’ll be sure to find a hostel pretty much anywhere in Aussie.
Oh, and FYI – you’ll normally get sick perks working for a hostel, free or cheap food, discounted tours, free laundry, free wifi etc. Keep that in mind!
Here is a list of our fave East Coast hostels.
Finding a job
Ah, the all important question – how do I go about finding a job?
Finding a job can be a pretty hit or miss process. Just be patient and keep on applying so, here are some tips to get you started:
- Online job boards (check out Seek and Gumtree)
- Drop off some CVs around the place
- Check out job boards in your hostel
- Ask your hostel if they’re looking for any work in return for free stay
- DON’T bother to apply to anywhere before hand – get a feel for the place first
Another option is to Volunteer.
Whether it’s farming, working for a hostel or a tour company, or caring for animals, volunteering is a sick way to get involved with a local community and really get to know the place.
You’re probs wondering – but I need the money…Well, volunteering jobs have their own perks. It will most likely be work in exchange for accommodation and meals – saving you a tonne of money!
How to budget?
Australia is known for being on the pricey side, which makes it very easy to underestimate your budget or over spend.
Getting a budget plan together for each pay check (so monthly or weekly) is essential.
- Book all tours in advance – this way you can avoid tourist traps and last minute panic buying.
- Put together a little budget diary to keep track of your day-to-day spending.
- Get a travel money card to transfer over a daily budget – so you don’t over-spend.
- Pre-book hostels when you can to avoid paying on arrival which can be more expensive.
Here are some examples of costs to consider:
Hostels: Depends where you are – can vary from $20 to $40 a night
Transport: Stick to walking and use Greyhound coaches for travelling between locations (we can get you a sick deal on Greyhound passes).
Food: Average cost of a meal out $17-20
Drink: A beer will cost about $9, backpacker bars more like $5
Coffee: Around $5 or just $1 in 7/11
Avo on toast: Will set you back $10 to $18
Here are some extra tips and tricks to get you fully in the know on all things working holidays…
- In NSW, if you want to work in a bar, you are required to have a Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) certificate. This involves being trained for the job.
- If you’re having no luck, move on and try another location – cities are the best for job seeking
- Get chatting! From our experience we’ve found connections and mates in the right places is the one when it comes to finding a job!
- Don’t give up, you got this! Remember, working in Aussie is purely to help fund your travels,
Ready to go for it?
Chat to our Team
We operate a 24/7 service across multiple time zones. Our RatPackers have all been there and done it! Get the ball rolling on your upcoming trip. Send over your rough travel plans (including your flight details / dates). If you are yet to book a flight and seeking advice – HIT US UP ↡
I hope these tips and tricks have given you everything you need to know about getting a Working Holiday Visa for Australia. Just remember to persevere and be patient, there will be a job out there for you! But most importantly, don’t forget to enjoy yourself RatPack Style.
Jules (RPT Blog Writer)
Stay Tuned for my next piece…