Can I apply for an Australian Working Holiday Visa during COVID?
The Australian Working Holiday Visa
As lockdown restrictions slowly begin to ease, many people are looking towards future travel plans. The Australian Working Holiday Visa (subclass 417) is a popular choice for those wishing to spend a year working and travelling around Australia. This visa costs $485.00 AUD and is generally processed within one month, making it accessible to many.
The basic eligibility requirements are:
- Must be 18 to 30 years old (inclusive) – except for Canadian, French and Irish citizens up to 35 (inclusive)
- You must have a passport from an eligible country or jurisdiction
- Must not be accompanied by dependent children
When can I apply?
You can apply for the 417 visa online by creating an ImmiAccount. This visa is valid for 12 months, meaning you have this period to enter Australia and activate your visa.
Due to the COVID pandemic, Australia’s borders remain closed to most people – including 417 visa holders. So, while you can still apply for this visa, you will be unable to use it in the immediate future.
Moreover, the Department of Home Affairs (Immigration) are prioritising the processing of visa applications for travellers who are exempt from travel restrictions. This is to assist those who need urgent travel to Australia, such as returning Australian permanent residents or immediate family members of Australian citizens. You can read the full and current details on the Department’s COVID-dedicated website. As a result, we expect the processing time for Australian Working Holiday Visas to increase substantially.
I already have this visa – what can I do?
If you currently hold a 417 visa but have not yet activated it, it will be valid for 12 months from the date of grant. The visa expiry date will be explicitly stated on your visa grant letter, which you can access via your ImmiAccount.
If you cannot enter Australia before your 417 visa expires, you will have to apply for a new visa and pay the lodgement fee once more. To re-apply you must still be eligible for the 417 visa, for example still meet the age criterion and have available funds to support you.
The future of the 417 visa
Working holiday makers are an important part of Australia’s economy, filling job shortages and supporting the tourism industry. Once COVID eases and travel restrictions lift, we anticipate that Australia will once more encourage working holiday makers to return.
Read more about how COVID-19 is impacting Australian visa applications
Speak to a Licensed Migration Agent for professional visa advice