Have you had enough of Donald Trump? Ready to try out a new country? The working holiday visa in Australia doesn’t let you stay permanently – but it will give you a year or two away from the madness.
Working Holiday Visa in Australia: Overview
Living in Australia has been one of my most incredible travel memories thus far. I’m about halfway through the first year of my working holiday visa in Australia. A working holiday visa in Australia is a great option for those who want to go somewhere new but may not have the funds to travel. On the Australian working holiday visa, you can work in Australia for up to a year, and recently, the aussie government has taken pity on the American situation and granted us the ability to apply for a second year working holiday visa in Australia.
[Note: you don’t have to be American to do the working holiday visa in Australia. Check out the Australian government website to see if you’re country is eligible to apply!]
Working Holiday Visa in Australia: Getting the Visa
You are eligible to apply for the working holiday visa in Australia if you meet the following requirements:
You’re between age 18-30 AT TIME OF APPLICATION (meaning you can apply when you are 30 and actually come into the country when you are 31, as you have a year from the time the visa is granted to actually get to Australia)
Have a passport from an eligible country (United States is eligible. To see the list of eligible countries, check the Australian Government’s list)
You cannot have a dependent child staying with you during your stay in Australia
Have enough money to buy a return ticket before your time of departure. Australia requires that you come into the country with $5k AUD (about $3500 USD). They don’t check this upon entry 😉
That’s it! If you meet those requirements, you can apply for a working holiday visa in Australia. The visa allows you to live and work in Australia for a year. There are a couple rules that come along with working in Australia on this visa, which make it hard to get career-type work, so don’t expect to become a CEO of some company while you’re there. The main rule of working in Australia is that you will not be allowed to work more than 6 months with one employer. That should work out fine if you plan on traveling around.
Working Holiday Visa in Australia: Finding Work
Finding work in Australia can be difficult in some areas. The easiest and most efficient way to find work on a working holiday visa is to 1. know someone (if you can use connections, work it!), or more commonly, 2. go door to door and beg for work.
Alright, begging may be a bit dramatic, but in all honesty – the easiest way to find work is to go door to door with your resume and a very large smile. I applied to so many companies online before I just printed some resumes, and took it to the streets. After one day of walking around, I was offered a trial shift. I got the job after my trial shift and started working at this italian restaurant in Melbourne. [side note: I also applied with a temp agency and was a receptionist for a week – that was super fun as well!]
Employers are very aware of the desperation of foreigners on the working holiday visa. When I was looking for work, a lot of managers would wave me away after hearing an accent. Because foreigners can only work for one employer for up to six months, a lot of companies won’t hire people on the working holiday visa in Australia.
Working Holiday Visa in Australia: my experience with work
I got paid less than minimum wage, but it was under the table, so I wasn’t getting taxed. The big difference between Australia and the US work life that I noticed immediately is the hours that I was working. I would work six days a week; on the weekends I would work from 9 AM until 11 PM, with a half hour break. Weekdays, I’d start at 6 PM, and depending on how busy it was, get off as late as 11 PM, more likely 9 or 10 PM. This was a pretty physical job (I was a server), and at first those hours exhausted me. I eventually got used to eating breakfast at 8 am, lunch at 2 pm, and dinner at midnight, but I must admit that it was not an easy schedule to maintain.
If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you’ll have seen that I moved out of Melbourne and started working in a coffee shop in Perth, Western Australia. The two jobs that I have had in Australia could not have been more opposite. The coffee shop in Perth was one of my favorite places I’ve worked, probably ever, in my life. I had a great time, got paid well, and got a good amount of hours.
Working Holiday Visa in Australia: What To Expect For Work
Finding work should be easy enough if you print out your resume and walk in to places. Just try to feel out the vibe of the place before you accept a job there. Minimum wage in hospitality positions is $17.70 AUD an hour. Working at a nicer place, you’ll usually make between $20 – $25 AUD an hour. Not into hospitality? Try www.gumtree.com.au to look for other types of work. If you can handle sales, I’d recommend fundraising or selling solar panels (they are always hiring foreigners!).
Working Holiday Visa In Australia: Finding ACCOMMODATION
Once you know which city you’d like to settle down in, it’s time to find somewhere to live long-term (ish)! In Australia, the most common way to find a place to live is actually by using Facebook groups. Search for housing groups on Facebook with the city you are looking for, you’ll find loads. The amazing thing about this is that there are groups for all different kinds of households. I even found a vegan/vegetarian house share group in Perth. Amazing!
The Facebook groups that I used to find housing include:
Fairy Floss Real Estate (largest house share group in Melbourne)
Perth Houses, Rooms and Rentals (largest house share group in Perth)
Vegan Vegetarian Housing Network WA (Veg housing group covering all of the state of Western Australia)
Rent can be anywhere from $150 per week to $300 per week. I’d recommend staying under $200 per week if you are trying to save.
Working Holiday Visa In Australia: Why You Should Do It
As I mentioned, living and working in Australia is something I’ll never forget. I sometimes have to pinch myself, I can’t believe I’ve had the opportunity to do this. If you meet the requirements, I’d highly recommend giving it a try while you can!
Let me know if you would ever work abroad in the comments below!
[PS: Are you reading this and wondering how I’ve afforded to travel the world for so long?! Check out my e-book to get all the tips and tricks I used to save money for travel, save money on the road, and how I stay safe as a solo female traveler!]