Employing Working Holiday Makers

The Working Holiday visa program allows young people to holiday and work in Australia for up to a year. There are two visa streams that fall within the Working Holiday program, this includes Working Holiday Visa (subclass 417) and Work and Holiday Visa (subclass 462).

Work Limitations

Working Holiday visas are granted for a period of one year, with the option of renewal for a further year if three months of specified work is undertaken during the required period. All WHV holders can work for the full duration of their 12 months stay in Australia but are subjected to condition 8547 which limits work with any one employer to a maximum of six months. Permission to work with an employer beyond 6 months is given only in limited circumstances.

Condition 8547 is taken to mean that the sum of any periods of employment with the same employer operating in Australia is not to exceed six calendar months. ‘Employer’ is taken to mean an ‘end user’. This essentially means that even if the visa holder is pay rolled through a different entity, if at the end of the day they are still sitting at the same desk and reporting to the same employer, it is still captured under condition 8547.

More recent changes to policy stipulate that a visa holder may now work for the same employer for a combined total of more than 6 months provided the work is undertaken in different locations and work in any one location does not exceed 6 months. Examples include different hotels, resorts or restaurants in the same chain; independently-owned franchises; and separate branches or facilities (such as farms or abattoirs) of the same organisation or business owner.

Note, however, that working in a different position at the same workplace (for example, changing to a cleaning role after initially working for 6 months at reception) would be considered a continuation of employment with the same end user and is not permitted.

Working beyond six-months work limitation

WHV visa holders may be eligible for an extension of the six-month employment limitation in certain circumstances:

  • Visa holders who have carried out six months work as an au pair anywhere in Australia may be given approval to work for up to six additional months with the same employer.
  • Visa holders who have carried out six months work in eligible industries in northern Australia may be given approval to work for up to six additional months with the same employer. The eligible industries are aged and disability care, agriculture, forestry and fishing, construction, mining, and tourism and hospitality.
  • They may also be eligible where an application for a Temporary Skills Shortage Visa has been lodged on their behalf with the business.

Employing Working Holiday Makers

As at 31 March 2018, there are over 165,000 working holiday makers in Australia. Many WHV holders apply for further visas whilst in Australia, such as second WHV, student visas, employer sponsored visas. This could impact their immigration status in Australia.

Businesses employing WHV holders are recommended to carry out regular checks to verify their visa status. Home Affairs recommends a verification check at onboarding, within two days of visa expiry, and when a change of circumstances occur.

We recommend carrying out checks at least once every three months to ensure continued compliance.

Updated: July 29, 2018

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