With Australia opening back up on 22 February, tens of thousands of Working Holiday Visa applications have been made – mine being one of them! I thought I’d put together this post to help you complete your application, talking you through exactly what you need to know to get this done.
This post will be about the Subclass 417 First Working Holiday visa, which is the visa which allows you to have your first extended trip to Australia for up to 12 months, and work there to help fund your trip. I haven’t even entered Australia yet, so I have no experience or knowledge when it comes to second or third Working Holiday visas.
The visa application itself costs 495 Australian Dollars (AUD), which (at the time of writing this) is around £263. This is non-refundable*, so you want to make sure you fill out your application without any errors, and that you’re 100% sure you want to apply! If your application gets rejected for any reason, you won’t be getting that money back. So all eyes to the front – it’s time to pay attention!
I’m a UK citizen, where the Australian Working Holiday Visa is currently (I write this in February 2022) for those aged 18-30. You can be 30 when you apply, but you must enter the country before your 31st birthday. Obviously, I wouldn’t recommend trying to enter the country minutes before the clock strikes midnight on your 31st birthday. Give yourself as much time as you can to get your application sorted, to get your flights sorted, and to get yourself to the land down under.
There’s recently been a trade deal between the UK and Australia, meaning that the age limit will be going from 30 to 35, but there’s no set date for when this is happening yet, so don’t use that as a reason to put off applying. I did read an article which suggested this may happen in July 2022, but don’t take that as gospel. It could be years. Go into this with the mindset that if you don’t get in before you turn 31, you’re not getting in at all. Unless, of course, you’re reading this once the age limit for UK citizens has already changed to 35, in which case, ignore the last 2 paragraphs and replace the numbers accordingly!
I’ve also been saving for almost 3 years in the hope that I’d be doing this eventually, meaning I have the required funds in my bank to be eligible to apply for this visa. Australia require you to have 5000AUD, which (at the time of writing this) is equivalent to around £2662. They want to know that you can fund your stay and that you have the funds to depart the country when needed. Of course, the joy of the Working Holiday Visa is that you can – yep, you guessed it – work! Obvs the joy I speak of isn’t in the work itself, but the freedom you’ve got to make money to keep funding your travels, if you wish. You don’t have to worry that you’ll soon have to pack your bags and get your arse back to the UK because you’ve almost run out of money, because your visa allows you to work. I mean, I say this with all the confidence of someone who’s done so. I haven’t even set foot in Australia yet, so I can’t speak like it’ll be effortless to get a job, but I’m pretty sure it won’t be too hard!
The first thing you’ll need to do is create an account on the Australian immigration website. Without doing this, you’re not gonna get very far at all! You can then get started on your application.
The application is 12 pages long, so set some time aside. It’s not something you want to rush. You can save at the end of each page, but not mid-page, so you’ll also want to make sure you have all of the relevant information and documentation to hand. This is the information you’ll be asked to give:
- Current location and your citizenship status
- Will you be bringing any children with you?
- Have you ever entered Australia on a working holiday visa before?
- Which type of working holiday visa you’re applying for
- Estimated date of arrival (you don’t have to be too specific, just an idea)
- Passport details, details of any other identity documents
- Place of birth, relationship status
- Contact details
- Occupation and qualifications (this won’t affect your application, it’s just for data purposes)
- Which industry you intend to seek employment in whilst in Australia (don’t worry if you don’t know for sure, just go for something you think you might be interested in once you’re there)
- Previous trips abroad from the last 5 years – you’ll need to enter dates you entered and exited each country you spent 3 months or more in, so have this information ready! Old emails with flight/hotel details can help
- Health questions
- Character declarations – do you have a criminal record, are you a part of any groups which make you a massive racist, have you ever been charged with crimes against humanity (genuine question on the application!)
You’ll then need to upload some documentation which will be attached to your application:
- Travel documentation (a valid passport)
- Evidence that you have the required funds in your bank (bank statement showing funds of 5000 AUD/£2660)
Aaannnd it’s time to submit and pay! It took me about an hour to complete my application, most of that being taken up by the struggle of trying to find out which dates I entered and left different countries when I visited South-East Asia in 2019. That was something I wasn’t prepared for, but it’s pretty straight forward as long as you have all of the information to hand, so use the above as a checklist so you can be prepared before starting!
If you’d like to find out about the medical checks required as part of my visa application process, and how long it took for my visa to be granted, take a look here.
I hope this helps anyone applying for their first Working Holiday visa – drop a comment below if you’ve got any questions and I can try to answer. Happy travelling!
*Australia have recently announced that, in a drive to get more of those with Working Holiday visas into the country pronto, they’ll offer anyone who enters the country before 19 April 2022 a full refund for the cost of their application – meaning more money to spend on your travels! So if your visa is granted before this date and you’re able to, get yourself to Australia pronto, and you can get yourself a couple of hundred quid back!