May 3, 2010

Australia Work and Holiday Visa Tips

This one’s for all of you endeavoring to work or study abroad! Australia is one of the world’s most desirable destinations for young travelers searching for sun, sand, and surf. While it’s tempting to spend hours soaking up rays, there’s much more to Australia than its beachside culture and unusual animals.

From the rugged splendor of The Outback to the buzzing cosmopolitan landscape of Sydney, Australia offers more than most tourists can take in during a short stay.

Tourism Australia encourages international travelers to extend their visit with the Work and Holiday Visa. offers comprehensive information on this visa, which invites tourists to work and play in Australia for up to a year.

The program looks to promote social interaction between Australians and young people of other nationalities. It’s also a very practical way for tourists to subsidize their Australian vacation by earning money while traveling. This is a visa for travelers who want to enjoy all that Australia has to offer and make a little extra money to keep them going, rather than foreigners who want to work in Australia. Australia’s Department of Immigration and Citizenship also offers other work-focused visas for travelers looking for permanent employment in Oz.

The Australia Work and Holiday Visa is open to any travelers from eligible countries aged between 18 and 30 who have not entered the country on a working visa before. The United States of America is the latest country to forge an agreement with Australia which allows its young people to participate in this cultural exchange. The program is also open to residents of Chile, Indonesia, Turkey, and Thailand. An agreement with Bangladesh was also reached recently, although it is not in effect at the time of writing.

Note that a similar visa, known as the Australian Working Holiday Visa, is available to residents of many other countries including Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Norway, Japan, and the United Kingdom.

Holders of both visas can work for up to six months with any single local employer and study in Australia for up to four months. Residents of non-English speaking countries may take the opportunity to learn this global language, while others could use the time to gain a qualification to help their career back home. Visa holders can enjoy any type of work in Australia, from bar tending to schooling young surfers. Successful applicants can enter Australia for the first time 12 months from the date their visa was granted. Once entering, they can travel to any other country and re-enter Australia as many times as they like for the next 12 months.

There are several requirements you must meet to be accepted for the Work and Holiday visa. You must be a high school graduate, or have completed an equivalent qualification such as a university bridging course. You must also agree to travel alone, without any dependent children or spouses.

You must satisfy financial requirements to prove you can support yourself before finding work in Australia. As a rule, proving funds of AUD$5000 through bank statements is sufficient, but variables such as the length of stay and extent of travel will also be considered. You will also need to present a return plane ticket, or prove you have the additional money to pay for a return journey.

You will also need to satisfy health requirements, although these may vary according to your individual circumstances and the work you intend to do in Australia. A medical examination may be required if you have an existing illness, or if you visited countries with health risks. The Australian government has a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement with many European nations, which offers limited health services at a reduced rate while in Australia. If you are not covered by this agreement, you may need to show you have health insurance to cover any medical treatment you may need during your stay. If you hope to work in the health industry, you will need to go undergo additional tests for HIV and Hepatitis B and C.

You must also prove you are of good character by presenting police background checks.

Finally, you must declare that you will abide by Australian values and laws during your stay in the country. These values and laws, outlined in the book Life in Australia, are common to many countries around the world. While it’s not compulsory for Work and Holiday Visa applicants to read this book, doing so will help you understand the culture you’ll encounter in Oz.

The best way to secure a Work and Holiday Visa is to read the requirements carefully. Australia’s Department of Immigration and Citizenship website has comprehensive information on the papers and information required for the visa to be granted. Ensure all necessary details are together before submitting your visa application. Incomplete applications may take more time to be processed, or be refused altogether.

Learn to Surf in Australia

Learn to Surf in Australia

Careful planning is also important when preparing your Work and Holiday visa application. It can take several weeks to receive the results of health and police character checks, so you should be conscious of this when preparing your application.

While it is possible to prepare your Work and Holiday visa application personally, this process can be daunting. While the Department of Immigration and Citizenship website aims to be user-friendly, the abundance of information it contains is a little overwhelming. If you are feeling intimidated, there are several options. Some travel agencies, such as STA Travel, are willing to help tourists prepare visa applications.

Another alternative is to consult a reputable visa agency. These agencies are specialists in preparing these visa applications, and as such many guarantee your visa will be granted. While their services can be costly, many applicants feel the stress-free service they provide is worthwhile. Many visa agencies also offer additional services, including setting up Australian bank accounts, applying for Australian tax file numbers, and arranging a welcome party for your arrival in Australia. These additional services also help to justify their cost.

Further information on the Work and Holiday Visa program is available on the Work and Play in Australia website and Australia’s Department of Immigration and Citizenship website.

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