Australian Backpacker's Work Visa

How to get Australia's Working Holiday visa

Jobs board in Australia Hostel for Work and Holiday Visa Blog
••• Katoomba Hostel Bulletin Board. © Kathleen Crislip

Want to Work, Travel and Play in Australia?

Then you need a Working Holiday visa (and American students can now get an Australia backpacker's work permit as of October, 2007 -- read that news here). Start your Australian Working Holiday Maker visa application process here on the Australian government site. You can do much of the process online.

According to the site, "The Working Holiday Program provides opportunities for people between 18 and 30 to holiday in Australia and to supplement their travel funds through incidental employment."

The backpacker's Australian work visa allows you to stay in Australia for up to one year; you can leave Australia and return during that time. The visa is intended to allow you to travel around Australia, seeing the sights and enjoying the country while making a few bucks to keep you going - not to embark on a serious job. The logic would appear to be that serious employment would keep you in one place - and the government wants you to enjoy traveling in the country. It's also tough to get a job in professional-level jobs requiring expert experience. To that end, you can perform casual work (agricultural labor, or toiling on what's called the Harvest Trail, is far and away the most popular with students) for a single employer for up to six months, and then you must move on to another employer.

Work and Holiday Visa Requirements

US students applying for a Work and Holiday visa must meet these requirements:
  • Be aged 18 to 30
  • Be outside of Australia when applying for and granted the visa
  • Show evidence that you are enrolled in a "post secondary course of study" or "hold post secondary qualifications"
  • Have a return ticket or sufficient funds for a return or onward fare as well as sufficient funds for the first part of your stay
  • Meet health and character requirements
Yeah, what's that all mean? Learn more at Australia's Work and Holiday visa website.

More Information on Australian Working Visas

Which nationalities are eligible for a Working Holiday visa? See the 20 countries participating in the program here.

Can I get an Australian work visa as a student?

Aside from the backpacker's work visa, US students can also apply for a Special Program visa, which is not intended for short term casual backpacker work. And as of April 2008, students from some countries can automatically get a work visa along with a student visa, meaning most student visa holders don't need to apply separately for permission to work in Australia... student visas.

Good on ya, mate!