This is Why You Want - nay, Need! - an Australian Work Visa

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GoAbroad’s guide on how to get an Australian work visa

Barefoot surfers, cuddly koalas, breathtaking scenery, and a huge international community are just a few of the things that make Australia one of the top destinations for travelers. Even better, the country offers an Australian work visa that allows travelers to see the country by working in its coastal cities, beachside, or in the iconic outback. All you need is a thirst for adventure, a passport, and your Australian work permit! If you’re itching to get your paws on an Australian working holiday visa, this should be your first stop. Here are all the details on Australian work visas and find jobs abroad in Australia.

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Road, sky, ocean, rocky coastline in Wilsons Promontory, Australia

The road to expat life in Australia is a little easier than you’d think (and so, SO scenic.).

What exactly is an Australian work visa?

The best way to see a new country is to immerse yourself in the culture, do as the locals do. Get a job and you’ll be able to experience a new side of Australia and fund your travels at the same time. If you’re young and new to the workforce, you may not be eligible for an Australian skilled worker visa. Luckily, the Australian working holiday visa will have you on a plane to the land down under in no time!q 

The Australian working holiday visa was created in order to create closer ties with other countries and encourage cultural exchange in Australia. Working holiday visa holders can work and holiday in Australia for up to a year (or two, if you’re lucky!), so get ready to pat some kangaroos and bask in the Aussie sunshine.

[Get matched with work abroad programs in Australia, like, yesterday]

Can I get an Australian work visa for Americans?

If you’re from the good ol’ USA, you may be eligible for an Australian work visa. If you’re between the ages of 18 and 31, have a valid passport, and fulfill the necessary health and education requirements, you can apply for a Work and Holiday Visa (subclass 462). Want to know more about Australian working holiday visa requirements? Visit the Australian immigration website’s Visa Finder to double check your Australian visa eligibility.

Do I fulfill the Australian working holiday visa requirements?

Not just anyone can get a working visa in Australia. Over 30 year olds are out of luck, unless they score the non-holiday oriented work visa. Because the Australian working holiday visa is intended for young travelers seeking adventure and short-term work, there are several requirements for applicants. Australian working holiday visa requirements include:

  • You must be between the ages of 18 and 31 years old.
  • You must be from an eligible country.
  • You cannot bring a dependent child with you.
  • You must be outside of Australia when you apply.
Detail shot, close up of Sydney Opera House roof against blue sky

Get up close and personal to places you’d previously only viewed in postcards.


How much does an Australian work visa cost?

The best part of the working holiday visa program is that you can make back the money you spend on travel costs. Along with your flight, the Australian work visa application costs $440 AUD. Australian immigration will also charge you an $80 AUD fee if you send a paper application instead of submitting it online. Save the trees (and your wallet) and submit your application through your Immi Account online.

Where can I find the Australian work visa application and what do I need to know before I fill it out?

The Australian work visa application is quick and easy! Simply visit the Australian immigration website, check your eligibility, and create an Immi Account, which will walk you through the steps of how to get an Australian work visa. Apply online in a matter of minutes with your passport and a few basic documents and you can find yourself at a barbie on the beach the next week.

[How to successfully become an expat in Australia]

What are the types of Australian work visas?

While similar in name and structure, there are actually two different subclasses of Australian working holiday visas. The Work and Holiday Visa and the Working Holiday Visa both offer a year of work and holiday cultural exchange, but they have subtle differences in requirements and eligibility. Let’s break it down:

  • Work and Holiday Visa (subclass 462). This is the go-to Australian work visa for Americans (and several other countries) hoping to pick up some Aussie slang and make a few colorful bucks. Depending on your country of origin, there are various educational and English language requirements, and you may need a letter of support from the government if you aren’t from the USA.
  • Working Holiday Visa (subclass 417). This visa is much more relaxed in its requirements. All you need is to be between the ages of 18 and 31 and from an eligible country. The best part? If you spend three months of your first working holiday visa doing regional farm work, you can apply for a second year. That’s right, embracing cowboy life can double your stay!
View from Mt. Wellington, Australia

Opt outside on the weekends to balance work and play in Australia.


How is this different than an Australian skilled worker visa?

The only downside to an Australian working holiday visa is that one year disappears in a flash. You’ll undoubtedly fall in love with the laidback lifestyle and tasty meat pies. Luckily, there’s another type of Australian work permit: the Australian skilled worker visa. This visa can last for multiple years, so the looming expiration date doesn’t feel like it is coming as quickly.

While the working holiday visa only allows travelers to stay in Australia for one year and work for one employer for six months, the Temporary Work (Skilled) Visa (subclass 457) is perfect for expat employees who can help meet the demand for skilled workers in Australia. If you’ve completed tertiary studies or occupational traineeships, you may be eligible for sponsorship. While travelers of all ages can seek a working visa in Australia, over 30 year olds are best suited for the Australian skilled worker visa.

[Here is all of the expert information you need to get a visa]

What are popular Australian working holiday visa jobs?

1. Au Pair

If you’re a big kid at heart and looking to immerse yourself in Aussie living, au pairing is the perfect set up! Au pairs join a local Aussie family and help care with childcare and other household chores. It hardly feels like work, and you’ll have a beautiful home to live in, home-cooked meals every night, almost no living expenses, and a weekly stipend.

RELATED: See all au pair jobs in Australia

2. Fruit Picker

Picking fruit can feel like dirty work at times, but it’s a great Australian working holiday visa job because it can help those working holiday-ers to earn their second working holiday. Spend your days in mango trees or on strawberry farms and catch some rays while snacking on local produce. Most fruit picking jobs will have perks, too. Free accommodation, anyone?!

3. Hospitality

Australia is a major tourist destination for every type of traveler, from the adventurers to the relaxing holiday seekers. If you enjoy being around people and have a background in the service industry or customer support, you’ll have no problem finding a job in the hospitality field. Work in a restaurant, hotel, hostel, or even for a local backpackers’ travel agency – Australian working holiday visa jobs are endless.

RELATED: See all hospitality jobs in Australia

View of Sydney harbor on cloudy morning

Views like this? On a Monday? Makes it less of a Monday, don’t you think?

4. Bartending

It’s no secret that Aussies love to drink. Bars, or hotels, can be found in every city and suburb, and most are filled every day of the week. If you want to make some good money, take the Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) course, and you can find work in any establishment that serves alcohol.

5. Serving in a restaurant

No matter which city you settle into with your Australian work visa, there will be plenty of jobs waiting tables or making coffee. Whether you want to work late shifts in a crowded pub or mornings in a trendy café, there are endless jobs in the service industry. Not only will you meet heaps of new mates, but you’ll also get a free meal out of it.

RELATED: See all culinary arts and cooking jobs in Australia

6. Farm work

This is another popular Australian working holiday visa job. Not only can you earn your second working holiday, but you’ll also get to experience an untouched side of Australia that is often overlooked by travelers and tourists. Venture into the outback where you’ll get free room and board, learn how to ride tractors, break horses, and tune into your inner cowboy.

RELATED: See all agriculture jobs in Australia

7. Surfing — seriously

Fulfill your Aussie dream of endless summers and perfect waves as a surf instructor on the coasts. This is the perfect Australian working holiday visa job if you want to meet fellow travelers and adventurers while soaking in the salty sea air and making money to fund your surfing gear.

8. Marketing

Most travelers will be able to land marketing jobs on a working holiday visa, even if you’re new to the work force. Whether you’re promoting events at a backpackers’ hostel or fundraising in the streets with new friends, marketing positions are abundant throughout the big cities.

RELATED: See all marketing, advertising, and PR jobs in Australia

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Flinders St. Railway station, Melbourne, Australia

Your morning commute in Melbourne will never be boring.

Who can help me score an Australian work visa?

The process can be difficult to do on your own, so if you’d like additional support in scoring your Australian work visa, there are a number of companies out there to ensure your first trip down under is a smooth one.

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1. InterExchange

Want to live like a local in Australia? Working holiday visa holders can join InterExchange, arguably the most popular organization for those seeking Australian working holiday jobs. They’ll teach you how to get an Australian work visa, while assisting in au pair placements with local families and a good stipend in all major cities, or short-term placements in offices, restaurants, and even on farms.

RELATED: Read InterExchange reviews | Visit site

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2. Smaller Earth

Based in Sydney, this travel company combines an adventure orientation with job assistance for the perfect welcome to Australia! Sign up for a 7, 10, or 14-day program to get you started, where you’ll meet fellow travelers, explore the Sydney Opera House, go sand boarding, or play with dolphins. 

In between adventures, Smaller Earth will assist with bank accounts, tax file numbers, and job and accommodation hunting.

RELATED: Read Smaller Earth reviews | Visit site

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3. GeoVisions

This au pair program places travelers with Aussie families for six or 12 months. You won’t need to worry about finding accommodation or paying bills, as the package will cover all living expenses. Embrace your inner child, make new friends in the au pair community, and save up to $11,000 throughout the year to travel the rest of the country.

RELATED: Read GeoVisions reviews | Visit site

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4. BUNAC’s Work Australia

This organization offers Australian work visas for Americans and prepares them with with pre-departure assistance and orientation in the land down under. Book the “Essentials” package for access to online job databases and assistance in setting up the basics upon arrival, or the “Ultimate Fun” package that provides accommodation, resume assistance, and social events during your first week.

RELATED:  Read BUNAC reviews | Visit site

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5. International TEFL Academy

Australia is full of international travelers and expats, which means there are plenty of opportunities to teach English abroad in the major cities. The International TEFL Academy allows travelers to earn their TEFL or TESOL certification and assists in job placement at the end of the course. The best part: once you have your certification, you can extend your travels after Australia, teaching in Asia, Latin America, and Europe!

RELATED: Read International TEFL Academy reviews | Visit site

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6. Oyster Worldwide

Adventure seekers can find Australian working holiday jobs in Australia’s outback with this European organization. Take a five-day introduction and safety course, receive guaranteed job placement for up to six months, and explore the country’s rugged side. You’ll be riding dirt bikes, herding cattle, and earning money in no time.

RELATED: Read Oyster Worldwide reviews | Visit site

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7. Greenheart Travel 

The Work and Travel Program assists travelers in every step of finding Australian working holiday visa jobs. Whether you want to work in hospitality or agriculture, Greenheart offers an orientation in iconic Sydney, in-country assistance and job support, and social events so you’ll meet new mates to join you in your job hunt and travels.

RELATED: Read Greenheart Travel reviews | Visit site

Why an Australian work visa is the right move

From the crystal blue waters of the Great Barrier Reef to the rugged Red Centre, from the iconic Sydney Opera House to the trendy-chic streets of Melbourne, Australia offers endless sites to be explored. Why not trade in your tourist visa for an Australian work visa so that you have plenty of time to see it all! By joining one of the biggest backpacker nations, you’ll have endless options when it comes to short-term work, and you’ll also meet other travelers to join you in the journey.

Surfing at twelve apostles

If this could be your lunch break, why wouldn’t you get an Australian work visa?

In addition to having more time to explore the Land of Oz, an Australian work permit will offer you the opportunity to gain international work experience. Whether you’re working in small towns or big cities, have a passion for mother nature or business, you’ll have the chance to boost your resume, network with new professional contacts, and open the doors to future jobs both in Australia and at home.

Snag your own Australian work visa today… or at least before you’re 30!

Australia is the perfect destination for every traveler, and its laidback lifestyle aches to be embraced. The land down under offers adrenaline-pumping adventure, chilled beach days, the friendliest locals, the best cuppa coffee, and the opportunity to fund your travels: this is why you want – nay, need – an Australian work visa!

Take your pick of jobs abroad in Australia

Topic:  Before You Go