AUSTRALIA – Changes to Working Holiday Maker Visa Programme
There have been some recent changes to the Working Holiday Maker (WHM) visa programme, which allows qualifying applicants to have a holiday in Australia and work there to help fund their trip.
There are two similar visa categories in the programme – the Working Holiday visa (subclass 417) and the Work and Holiday visa (subclass 462). Each is open to a different group of nationalities, and some requirements differ between the two visa types.
Effective 1 November 2018 applicants for a Working Holiday visa (subclass 417) holding a Canadian or Irish passport can be at least 18 years of age and no more than 35 years old. This is an increase from the previous requirement to be at least 18 years and no more than 30 years old.
On 5 November 2018, the Ministers for Immigration and Agriculture announced further changes to the Working Holiday Visa program to provide additional support to farmers and regional economies.
The announced changes include:
Extending the opportunity of regional work to Work and Holiday visa holders (subclass 462) to enable eligibility for a second-year visa; Extending the six-month work limitation to 12 months for both subclass 417 and 462 visa holders, for those working with an agricultural employer; Introduction of a third-year visa for both subclasses 417 and 462 for applicants who complete six months of regional work in their second visa year (effective 1 July 2019); Lifting of the annual cap on subclass 462 visas to certain countries participating in the programme.
Meanwhile, online application submission is now available for Work and Holiday visa (subclass 462) applicants from more countries. Previously only available to nationals of Spain, Argentina, Uruguay, Slovakia and the United States, this service is now also available to nationals of Austria, Chile, Czech Republic, Hungary, Israel, Luxembourg, Peru, Poland, Portugal, San Marino and Slovenia.
Employers who may be affected by these changes are encouraged to contact their immigration specialist for further advice.