Moving to Australia from Canada sounds like a total dream right? Well, get ready to ditch your winter boots and pack your flip flops. You’ll be swapping long Canadian winters for a laidback life near the beach in no time. It’s easier than you think with the working holiday visa!
As a proud partner of the Government of Canada, our team here at Stepabroad helps Canadians move to Australia on the working holiday visa. We know the process inside out and have plenty of tips to help you successfully begin your trip.
There is a lot to think about when planning your move from Canada to Australia, so we’ve put together this post answering the most common questions we get asked by Canadians thinking about doing a working holiday in Australia:
In order to be able to apply for the Australian working holiday visa, Canadians must meet the following requirements:
From the day your visa application has been approved, you have 365 days to enter Australia. This is good in case you need to push your intended departure date back for any reason. But, if you have not entered Australia by day 366, unfortunately, your visa has expired and you can never apply for it again. In other words, if you don’t use it, you lose it!
As of July 2018, the age limit that Canadians are allowed to apply for the Australia working holiday visa until 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?
The Australia Working Holiday visa allows you to move to Australia for up to three years. This is because Canadians can get the working holiday visa up to three times! Initially, with your first working holiday visa, you are granted entry for one year. That year starts the day you enter Australia.
If you wish to extend your working holiday visa for a second year, you are required to complete 88 days of specified work during your first year in Australia. Specified work is the term for work done in a regional (non-urban) area of Australia in either fishing, farming, forestry, mining or construction. This work must be fully completed before your visa expires.
To extend your visa for a third year, you must complete another 180 days of this specified regional work during your second-year visa.
Your first, 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, then return to Canada for 6 months, 1, 3, even 5 years. You can move back to Australia on your second (or third) working holiday visa any time before you become ineligible for these visas at age 36.
The Australian government requires that you have at least $5,000 AUD in savings before applying for the working holiday visa. This money is to ensure you will be able to cover your living expenses as you begin your working holiday.
The amount of money you save before moving to Australia depends on how soon you intend to find work. If you plan to travel for a few weeks or months before settling down and finding a job, you will need to budget for this. Remember that it takes time to find work, and once you start your job, you will have to wait another two weeks before getting your first paycheck. Therefore, having more than $5,000 is of course recommended.
Working Holiday visa holders are allowed to work in any type of job, in any industry. The main 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.
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 types of jobs that working holiday travelers get are in customer service, tourism, hospitality, food and beverage, labour, administration, and sales.
It is usually harder to get a career-related position because the employer would prefer to hire an Australian who can stay with the company for longer 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 a contract admin role in Australia.
Due to the six months per employer limitation, you would have to change jobs at least once over the course of a full year in Australia. But you are 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.
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 July 1, 2020, the minimum wage in Australia is $19.84 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. It’s also common in Australia to receive a higher hourly wage on evenings, weekends and holidays. Sweet, right?
The short answer is no. In most cases, employers will not offer you a position unless you are in Australia with a work permit, and available to start working. You will have a much higher call back rate from job applications 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.
For your accommodation, we highly recommend you physically see it before you commit to it. If you really want to have a place arranged before moving to Australia from Canada, think twice. 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 get a job to find long-term accommodation to 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 first thing you need to do is open your bank account, get a cell phone plan, 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 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 deals running all throughout the year. On the downside, because there are way more companies to choose from, the process of choosing a provider can be a bit of a headache. Once you’ve decided, 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.
Moving to Australia from Canada can be a bit scary if you don’t know anyone there. Luckily, Australia is a very popular destination for travellers from all over the world. Believe us, there are heaps of opportunities to meet nice people. We always recommend staying at hostels so you can meet people in your dorm room, in the common areas, and at hostel 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:
The visa application is done entirely online. Thankfully that means there is no need to travel to an Australian consulate or embassy. You can submit an application from within or outside of Canada. Check out our detailed post where we break down how Canadians apply for the Australia Working Holiday visa in five simple steps.
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Alison was a Digital Marketing Specialist at Stepabroad and loved sharing her passion for adventure to inspire others to travel. While in university, she took a life-changing summer trip to Australia on a Working Holiday and since then traveled extensively across six continents throughout her student and professional career.