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Employment for Travellers

Pick up some cash, meet other travellers and gain an insight into our communities.

Working Holiday Maker

Australia's reciprocal Working Holiday Maker (WHM) arrangements with a number of other countries allow young holidaymakers (who meet the visa criteria) to earn cash on holiday through 'incidental employment'.

The word 'incidental' is interpreted pretty broadly and is perfect for backpacker travellers. It's defined as 'any kind of work of a temporary or casual nature', meaning literally anything from working as a casual labourer to helping keep the books for a Tasmanian apple orchard - provided you're qualified, of course.

Currently, Australia has reciprocal WHM arrangements in effect with the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, the Netherlands, the Republic of Ireland, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malta, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, the Republic of Cyprus, Italy, France, Belgium, Estonia and Taiwan.

To qualify for a WHM visa, you need to be aged between 18 and 30 and without dependent children. You must be visiting Australia mainly for a holiday and you must have a return ticket or sufficient funds to pay your return or onward fare, should the need arise, plus enough money to cover the first part of your stay.

Working holidaymakers can stay up to 12 months from the date of their initial entry, regardless of whether they spend the whole period in Australia. You can work in Australia to fund your holiday, but you cannot work for more than six months with any one employer.

Information about the WHM scheme can be obtained from Australia's Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs (DIMIA) website.

Second Working Holiday visa

Working holidaymakers who have worked as a seasonal worker in regional Australia for a minimum of three months while on their first working holiday visa are eligible to apply for a second working holiday visa.

For the purposes of meeting the requirements for a second working holiday visa, the following definitions apply:

  • seasonal work - harvesting and/or packing of fruit, nuts and vegetable crops, pruning and trimming vines and trees, thinning and trimming flowers and bunches and general maintenance crop work.
  • regional Australia - anywhere in Australia except Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong, the New South Wales Central Coast, Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Perth, Melbourne or the Australian Capital Territory (Canberra). Any area identified at jobsearch requiring harvest workers comes within the definition of 'regional Australia.

Provided you have a credit card, you can apply for a WHM visa over the Internet using the e-Visa application process. About 75 per cent of applications lodged over the Internet are granted within two days.

Remember, you must apply for your WHM visa outside Australia and before you turn 30.

Harvest Trail provides comprehensive information about harvest opportunities in all Australian states.