Thinking about traveling to Australia on an extended trip and maybe even getting a job to make some money while you are Down Under? Then you are thinking about doing an Australian working holiday.

There is a lot to think about when planning your trip to Australia, so we’ve put together this video answering the most common questions we get asked by Canadians thinking about doing a working holiday in Australia:

Are there restrictions for working holiday visa holders?

Working Holiday visa holders are allowed to work in any type of job, in any industry. The only restriction is that working holiday visa holders can only work for one employer for a maximum of six months. Once you hit six months, you are able to apply for another job and continue working for another six months.

What types of jobs can I do?

The six-month restriction means that the types of jobs working holiday visa holders can get are more temporary and/or casual. The most common areas for working holiday travelers to get jobs include customer service, tourism, hospitality, food and beverage, labour, administration, and sales.

It is typically more difficult to get a career-related position because the employer would prefer to hire an Australian who can stay with the company for more than six months.

Of course, having previous experience in your career field will make it much easier to land a career-related position. You can expect, however, that due to the limitations of the visa, you will land a position slightly below your current level in Canada. For example, if you are an office manager in Canada, you will be able to land an administrative assistant contract role in Australia.

How long can I stay in Australia?

The Australia Working Holiday visa grants you entry to Australia for one year. This year begins the first day you enter Australia.

For Canadians, it is possible to extend your working holiday visa for a second year, and even a third year! In order to extend your visa for a second year, you are required to complete 88 days of specified work. This is work in a regional area of Australia in either fishing, farming, forestry, mining or construction. This must be completed during your first year before your visa expires. To extend your visa a third year, you must complete 180 days of this specified regional work during your second year visa.

Your second and third years in Australia do not have to be consecutive. You can complete your 88 days of specified work during your first working holiday and return to Canada for 6 months, 1, 3 or 5 years. As long as you apply for the second (or third) working holiday visa before you become ineligible for these visas at age 36.

Working holiday travelers learn to surf in Australia
Learn to surf while living in Australia on a working holiday

After I apply for the visa, how long do I have to go to Australia?

From the day your visa has been granted to you, you have 365 days to enter Australia before your visa expires. This is good in case you need to push your departure date back for any reason. Keep in mind that once your visa expires you don’t get to re-apply. In other words, if you don’t use it, you lose it!

I am over 30, can I still apply?

As of July 2018, the age limit that Canadians are allowed to apply for the Australia Working Holiday Visa was increased. The visa is now available to Canadians between the ages of 18 and 35 inclusively, meaning you can still apply when you are 35.

As long as you apply before your 36th birthday, you still qualify. Because you have a year to enter Australia once the visa has been granted to you, you can enter Australia when you are 36 and stay until you are 37! Who said your 30’s wasn’t the new 20’s?

How many times during the year do you have to change jobs?

Due to the six month limitation, the most you would have to change jobs during your working holiday is once. You are of course allowed to change your job as many times as you like! Most working holiday travelers work in one to three jobs during their working holiday depending on how much they decide to work and the nature of the job.

Swimmers cool down at Bondi Beach's famous Icebergs pools
Skip the bitter Canadian temperatures and live in Australia, where it’s summer all year!

How much money will I make?

The amount of money you make depends on how much you work! You will earn a lot more if you are working full-time rather than part-time. As of May 30, 2019, the minimum wage in Australia is $19.49 AUD per hour. The more work experience you have, the higher your wage will be. Most positions pay between $20 and $25 per hour, so you can make good money to pay for your living and traveling expenses.

Can I get a job in Australia before I arrive?

The short answer to this is no. In most cases, employers will not offer you a position unless you are in Australia with a work permit available to start working. You will have a much higher call back rate when you have an Australian address on your resume. Would a restaurant in Toronto hire someone currently in Australia? Likely not. The same applies here.

Can I get accommodation arranged before I arrive?

For your accommodation, we highly recommend you physically see it before you commit to it. Although it would be nice to know you have a place to call home before you arrive, you want to be sure that you like the neighbourhood, the house/apartment and most importantly, your roommates!

We recommend that you choose your long-term accommodation after exploring a city and getting to know which neighbourhoods you prefer. Even better, wait until after you start working to find long-term accommodation so you can avoid a treacherous commute.

Stepabroad provides our participants assistance with finding both short-term and long-term accommodation all around Australia.

We help you arrange your short-term accommodation before you leave so you’ve got a place to land and get over jet lag. We’ll also explain how you get an apartment, meet awesome roommates and even how to work for your accommodation.

The Sydney Opera House lit up during Sydney's Vivid Festival
Experience living in vibrant Sydney and attend world-class festivals and events

What do I do when I arrive?

The first thing you need to do is open your bank account, cell phone account and apply for your tax file number. While you’re still recovering from jet lag, Stepabroad takes care of all of this!

We also arrange your airport pick up to take you to your pre-arranged accommodation, so you don’t have to think about that either!

Foreigners are able to set up a bank account after arriving in Australia. We recommend opening an Australian bank account so you can arrange for your employer to make direct deposits into your account. Before leaving Australia, you will need to go into a branch or call your bank and close your account (and withdraw any left-over money of course)!

The great news about cell phone plans in Australia is that they are way cheaper than in Canada. There is far more competition between cell phone companies making the monthly rates lower with incredible deals running all throughout the year. On the downside, because there are way more companies to choose from it can make the process of choosing a provider a bit of a headache. Once you’ve decided, however, it’s pretty quick to get a SIM card and plan set up on your Canadian phone.

Your tax file number is the Australian equivalent of your Canadian SIN number. It’s the number the government assigns to you to track and collect your income taxes. You cannot work in Australia without this, so it’s best to get your TFN application underway as soon as possible.

How will I meet people?

Australia is a very popular destination for travelers from all over the world so there are lots of opportunities to meet tons of cool people. We always recommend to stay at hostels so you can meet people in your dorm room, in the common areas and at hostel-run events like pub crawls, walking tours or rooftop BBQs.

Stepabroad offers tons of legendary ways to make new friends on our Adventure Experiences. We plan a jam-packed week for you to instantly make long-lasting connections while learning to surf, enjoying food and drink tours, going sandboarding, enjoying beach bonfires and more! Check out our Sydney and Melbourne Adventure Experiences to learn more:

Where do you apply for the visa?

The visa application is done entirely online. Thankfully there is no need to travel to an Australian consulate or embassy. This means you can submit an application from within or outside of Canada. Check out our post where we break down how Canadians apply for the Australia Working Holiday visa in five simple steps.

Travelers celebrating in a crowd
What are you waiting for? Stepabroad will help make your transition Down Under tons more fun! Get in touch with us to learn how.

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