Ready for your big year in Australia? If you're under 30 years old, and are from one of the 27 eligible countries, then what's stopping you from coming down under for a working holiday? The requirements for spending a year working and travelling in Australia are in fact, quite minimal. It's called a Working Holiday (417) visa, and so long as you can show that you meet the minimum health requirements, have enough money to support yourself until you find work, and have a plane ticket home, then you really don't need much else. Of course, all applications are subject to approval by the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Control, but the application process is reasonably straightforward. The program is so popular that many young people find themselves being targeted by dishonest individuals hoping to make a quick buck. There are in fact a number of schemes that are being targeted at working holiday participants in Australia. Don't worry—it doesn't happen very often, but it's important to know about it so you can make sure it doesn't happen to you.
A Suspicious Phone Call or Email
You need to find a job in Australia, and you might even begin your search before you arrive. Some online job advertisements are not as legitimate as they seem. Your details (name, email address, and even your Australian phone number if you have one) can be noted and exploited. Be very cautious about any calls or emails that claim to be from the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Control, and that then ask for money. The call or email will claim that you have made a mistake during your visa application, and in order to stay in Australia, a significant fine must be paid. Disconnect the call, and report it to the Department of Immigration. Any emails should also be forwarded to the department. And don't worry—you've done nothing wrong.
Ignore That Text Message
Working holiday participants in Australia might also find themselves receiving text messages that claim to be from the Department of Immigration. These messages claim that you have neglected to pay the final processing fee for your visa, and might be subject to deportation if the fee is not paid immediately. This is a trick, although the message looks official enough. But take a moment to think about it. Why would your visa have been issued if you hadn't paid the correct fee for it at the time of application? You can safely ignore these types of text messages.
Your Employer Does Not Issue a Visa
Be wary of any employer that says they'll need to charge you a visa processing fee to hire you. Some unscrupulous employers might even say that they need to issue you a special visa themselves, and will charge you for it or deduct the cost from your wages. The visa is a binding agreement between you and the Australian government only. An employer does not have the power to issue you with any kind of visa, and any attempts to suggest that you will need to pay a fee to them for being a holder of a visa should make you run in the opposite direction! There are many legitimate visa processing services, but these exist in order to help individuals who might have trouble having a visa issued in the first place.
The Question of the Second Year
Despite what you might have been told, there is only one legal way to extend your one year working holiday visa in Australia. Of course, it's a condition of the visa that you only remain with a single employer for no more than six months during your stay, since the primary purpose of the visa is to experience Australia. To qualify to stay for a second year, you need to work for at least three months in regional Australia, undertaking a job in an approved area (construction, mining, tree farming and felling, fishing, plant and animal cultivation). Plant cultivation covers fruit picking, which is probably the most popular "approved job." Be cautious about any individual or company who tries to convince you that you can bypass these requirements for obtaining a second year on your working holiday visa. It's simply not possible, and they're trying to part you from your hard-earned cash, since they won't want to do it for free!
So long as you're aware of some of the most popular attempts to trick working holiday visa holders, there's no reason why your year down under won't be one of the best of your life!
My parents moved to this country when I was just a baby. When they left they thought they were saying goodbye to friends and family forever, but now we can travel back home easily. My travel agent organises trips for my parents all the time, for their nieces and nephews weddings and family birthdays. I love being able to treat my parents to these trips after all they they did for me. Our travel agent is so great at working out th cheapest times to fly and finding them great deals. I feel much less stressed knowing she is looking after all their travel plans.