How to Get a Working Holiday Visa for Australia

by DIWYY · 1 comment

The best ways to see, discover, and live in the beautiful country of Australia.  I think the best way to really understand a country different than your own, is to live there.   If you are between the ages of 18-30 I would strongly and highly recommend getting this visa in order to venture down under and discover Australia.   Australia is an expensive place however, and your money goes quick-  Much quicker than one would expect.  A cheap backpacking daily budget should account for about  10-18AUD per meal, 30-45AUD per night at a hostel and if you plan on getting into the Aussie culture and having some drinks… your bar tab, or bottle shop receipt could range anywhere from 40-100AUD.  That is a budget of about $140 per day, which does not account for the travel/petrol costs, camping trips, scuba diving, skydiving, sand boarding, bungy jumping, zoo visits, music festivals, wine tours, surfing lessons… You could easily go over and possibly stay under these ranges if you are an experienced penny pinching traveler… or choose to eat noodles or McDonald’s 50 cent ice cream cones for breakfast lunch and dinner, then wash it all down with a $20 sack of goon before hitting the pub. Either way, I guarantee you will spend more money than you expected. So unless you are sitting on a serious amount of cash, the Working Holiday Visa is the way to go to get your holiday budget to stretch.  With the Working Holiday Visa you are able to work at any one establishment for up to 6 months, and you can be in Australia for up to a year.  It gives you the option and freedom to work when you can or when you need it.

How to get your hands on it?  Fairly simple to get, if you are eligible, all you do is hop online to Working Holiday Visa site fill at the application, pay the fee, and wait for the answer.  I got mine within seconds after applying.  However, this does not mean it is the same for everyone, and you must have a visa to enter the country of Australia, so it is best that you know your visa has been granted before purchasing airline tickets.  The visa is valid for one full-calendar year and is enacted once you step foot in Australia.

You will have to have a Tax File Number (TFN) in order to get paid.  You can apply online here.  Your TFN will have to be mailed to you, so this you will have to get once you are in Australia and have some sort of address where you can receive mail. The TFN takes a few says to process and receive, which is why it is best you apply ASAP.  Along with the TFN you will need to open a bank account.  Having your own Australian bank account is not only helpful for you to avoid ATM fees, but your employer has to get your pay to you some how!  Pay checks are basically non-existent.  Your pay will be directly deposited by your employer into your account weekly.  It is most likely your job won’t be paying cash, so a bank account is pretty much essential.  Just rock up to any branch with your passport and meet with someone.  It helps to already have a local address, but if you don’t have one, it is no problem, you can arrange to have your debit card picked up at that branch, they will also give you a temporary ATM card to access your account.  No need to transfer all of your money from home into your new account (it can take about a month to clear), unless you would prefer to.  I use St. George, and it has worked out great.  There are plenty of convenient and accessible ATMs all over Australia, and with St George you can use Westpac ATMs as well without a fee. I would recommend both banks. But I only use my bank account for the purpose of getting paid, buying things offline, and getting out cash.  So any major bank like Commonwealth or ANZ would probably be just as great because they have a good amount of locations and ATMs.

Be sure to keep track of your TFN and Pay Slips from your employer, along with your RSA or RSL class receipts (if applicable).  These all will come in handy when you apply for your tax refund before you leave Australia.

My advice: don’t waste it.  This visa is granted only ONCE in a lifetime.  I would not recommend this visa if you only plan to stay in Australia for three months, I would get a tourist visa, or STAY LONGER! Twelve months may seem like a long time from the outside, but I promise, once you are in Oz, time flies.  It is an absolutely amazing place.

I am already wishing I had more time.

Mary-Catherine graduated in May 2010 from the University of South Carolina with a B.A. in Journalism in Advertising.  After graduation she worked in Madrid, Spain as an Au Pair, then in December moved to Australia on a Working Holiday Visa. She is currently living in Bondi Beach planning a trip through Southeast Asia.  Follow her travels at:

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