Changes to Australian Working Holiday Visas

On 4 April 2020, the Government announced changes to the Australian Working Holiday Visa (subclass 417 and 462) to assist critical sectors during COVID-19.

As part of these changes, Working Holiday Makers (WHM) employed in the critical sectors of health care, aged care, disability care, childcare, food processing and agriculture will be exempt from the six month work limitation with one employer.

Moreover, this group are eligible for a further visa to keep working in these critical sectors if their current visa is due to expire in the next six months.

For further information on Australian Working Holiday Visas, please visit COVID-19 FAQs and Minister’s Announcement.

Visa Conditions

  • WHM visa holders are unable to extend the period of validity of their visa to a later date under current legislation.
  • There are no legislative provisions for WHM visa holders to defer, freeze or extend a WHM visa that is in effect or a WHM visa that has been granted but is yet to be activated.
  • In the event a WHM visa holder chooses to depart Australia while their WHM visa remains in effect there is no legislative provision to suspend the validity of their visa until they choose to return at a later date.  If they continue to meet the legislative requirements for the grant of a WHM visa they can lodge a fresh application in the future.
  • The age requirements to apply for a WHM visa remain unchanged. The age range eligibility for WHM visa holders cannot be increased in the event a visa holder had to depart Australia earlier than planned.
  • Eligibility criteria for the refund of a visa application charge remains unchanged.  Please see our website for further details.

Further Information for visa holders is available on the Department’s website. This information will be updated as the Government’s response to COVID-19 evolves.

Working in a critical sector

If you are a Working Holiday Maker who works or intends to work in a critical sector, but haven’t yet completed your 3 or 6 months specified work, you may be eligible for the Temporary Activity (subclass 408 Australian Government Endorsed Event (AGEE) stream) visa.

This visa allows you to remain in Australia if you have no other visa options and are unable to depart Australia due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. With this visa you may also continue your work in critical sectors during the pandemic.

For further information see: COVID-19 and COVID-19 FAQs.

Australian Working Holiday Visas

The Department of Home Affairs advises that applicants should not book travel arrangements until their visa has been granted.

Travel Restrictions are in place. Please monitor the information available on the Departments’ website.

Further resources

You can click on the below links for more information:

Read more about applying for an Australian working holiday visa.

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