A Guide to the Australian Working Holiday Visa Program

Farm work for working holiday makers

The Australian working holiday program can be a great way for young people to experience useful work experience whilst getting to know another country. Australia has jobs for this labour force in its cities as well as in its agricultural industry. Given the size of Australia there are many seasons and many experiences to be enjoyed and take back home with you.

The two types of working holiday visas are the subclass 417 and the subclass 462. Which visa is appropriate to you depends on the country of origin, the visa allows you to stay and work in Australia for 12 months. In the case of the 417 visa it’s possible to extend this working holiday visa subject to certain conditions, these are that you work in specified regional areas for 88 days, once this work is done and documented you can apply for a further 12 months extension.

It is important that you obtain pay slips to prove that you have worked in a farm as strict rules apply. https://www.fairwork.gov.au/pay/pay-slips-and-record-keeping/pay-slips

Regional Australia, farmers specifically have difficulty finding labour during the peak harvest period, without working holiday labour many of these famers could find life very difficult. Many other countries have seasonal labour issues and have plans in place for seasonal shortages, Australia lags behind. The Australian government is however making the situation difficult by tampering with the current tax system for working holiday makers, pressure from farmers has led the government to re investigate its current thinking.

The consequences for Hospitality are also significant in that many regions in Australia depend on seasonal labour to service their hotels and resorts.

The proposed changes in taxation for working holiday makers may well see a down turn in seasonal agricultural works and temporary workers generally, it appears that backpackers on working holiday visa will be charged tax on their full earnings, backpackers are often paid the minimum wage and therefore it’s likely that the number of working holiday workers coming from advanced economies in Norther Europe specifically will decline.

The current minimum wage in Australia is $17.29 per hour before tax

At a time when these are labour shortages appearing in some economies in Western Europe due to the demographic tough the Australian govern is making it unattractive to come to Australia when in fact they should be making Australia a more attractive destination for working holiday makers.

There is strong concern in the hospitality and the farming sector at present time and it’s clear that a good deal of thought needs to go into the working holiday program by the present government before any negative changes are introduced.