How to extend your Working Holiday visa?

For those who migrate to Australia with a Working Holiday Visa, they can, depending on their nationality, extend it for a second or third year, how does it work? What do you have to do? Our collaborator Katalina Riveros, told us about her experience extending her visa in Northern Australia.

When you come to Australia with the Working Holiday Visa the government gives you the option to extend your visa for another year if you do a 3 months continuous season in the same Hospitality or Farm job, in the case of more than one job, you must complete 88 days in the field. This is available to all nationalities who are eligible for Working Holiday Subclass 462, which includes Chileans, Argentinians, Peruvians, Uruguayans and Spaniards, and others.

What does it mean to work in Farm and Hospitality? Farm is all the work of picking and packing fruit, vegetables or grains on a farm, generally, tough work, where you have to work long hours in the sun (especially in the north where it is very hot) and almost always in remote places or far away from the big cities or towns. These jobs must be done in Northern Australia or in certain approved regional areas.

Hospitality is the most popular option for those who have a Working Holiday visa, as it involves working in restaurants or hotels, cleaning, serving or cooking, basically everything related to tourism. It is important not to forget that it does not work if you work in Sydney or Melbourne, you must work in the North of Australia or other remote areas.

Other options are also available such as fishing and pearling, farming and logging, and construction, all of which are only available in the country’s north. Also after the fires that Australia suffered in 2019, you can work in repair and reconstruction in the affected areas, and from August 2020, due to Covid, in some areas of Australia, you can work in critical areas such as the medical and health sector. Check all the details and specifications on the migration page. Be careful, it is very important that you check where you can work and what specific type of work you have to do, so you don’t have future problems.

My experience

I am Chilean, I was 26 years old and my Working Holiday was active, I wanted to stay longer in Australia and I took advantage of the possibility to extend my visa, so I went to live in Port Douglas, which is about an hour from Cairns. Why there? The truth is that we asked different people and they told us that Port Douglas was a very good option to extend because it is a small town (literally a couple of streets) that is easy to find work, that is very nice, has good weather and nice beach.

We arrived on April 13 of 2018, with a couple of friends with the idea of extending, the ideal time to go to Port Douglas is between April and August, because the temperature of these places is too high the rest of the year, so much that it is unbearable then there are not many tourists. It is characterised by many resorts and hotels to enjoy a relaxing holiday in paradise. I personally arrived too early to extend my stay because I had already planned another trip in July, so as soon as I arrived I was looking for a job. For this it is good to have a CV to hand in at the places you are interested in, hopefully, your previous jobs have something to do with what you are applying for, if you have worked as a cleaner, customer service worker, etc.

My recommendation is always to go to hostels, because that’s where you meet people, make friends and make your stay always more entertaining, creating a community, also because they can help you to look for a job, you meet people so you have more contacts and in case you don’t find a job in the hostels they give you the option to help in the hostel so you don’t pay for your stay. I stayed at Dougies Hostel, where I met amazing people and had one of the best times of my life.

It was difficult for me to find a job, because just that year there was a cyclone which affected the arrival of tourists at that time, so all the jobs were full of people, but little by little we were all able to find work. I worked cleaning Airbnb’s, I also worked on a Cocoa Farm, where I only went 2-3 days every 2 weeks, because it wasn’t very big, only 3 hectares. Then I cleaned houses, flats and villas at the Sheraton Hotel. The good thing is that even though I didn’t have much work, living it is not very expensive, the rent is very cheap and being a small town there are not many expenses.

Backpacker life is very entertaining in these places of extension, as there are many celebrations, parties, and events and you meet incredible people, who to this day I have a lot of contact with and have made great friendships.

And then what?

Once you have the necessary hours to extend your visa and you meet the rest of the requirements, which are:
• Be on an active Working Holiday visa subclass 462.
• Have a valid passport
• Age between 18 and 30 years (inclusive)
• No dependent children
You can apply for your second-year extension. Note that you can also extend for a third year, but you must work for 6 months in one of these approved areas and zones.

You can do this extension whether you are inside or outside Australia and the whole process is completely online. It is important to note that if you are inside Australia you cannot leave the country until your visa is approved and if you are outside you obviously cannot enter until your extension is approved.

You must log in to your ImmiAccount user, your migration page where you have already applied for your first year of Working Holiday. Then you must fill in all the information and upload the pay slips from your employer(s) you worked within these areas and for the required time. Along with that, you should fill in your personal details, health details, general statements and where you will also be asked for detailed information about the place where you lived, postcode, dates and even details about your life there, means of transport you used, street names and more. It is therefore essential to always be honest in the information you provide.

You should also attach:
•Photo of your passport
•Personal photo from the shoulders up, 45mm X 35mm.
•Evidence of funds, proving at least $6,200 AUD with which you can support yourself in the country and travel back to your home country.

Then you make the extension payment and you will almost automatically receive your Bridging Visa with which you will be legally in the country while you get your second year of Working Holiday. It is impossible to know how long it will take but you can continue to live, travel or work legally while you wait for it.

If I can recommend anything it is that you don’t let this opportunity pass you by! You will have another year of one of the best visas and without a doubt, you will live an incredible experience while working and living in these more remote areas of Australia.

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