Job Hunting Tips

Australian Working Holiday: Who Is My Employer and How Long Can I Work for Them?

Shannon Barlow Posted by Shannon
min read
Brooke Cagle U Wvwq8g F8 Pe Unsplash

This one is for all the 417/462 Working Holiday visa holders. I know you've got your heads down, working hard, waiting for the sunshine, but here’s a little check to make sure you’re playing by the rules. You already know that the purpose of the working holiday visa is to travel around the country enjoying the unique experiences Australia has to offer: getting sunburnt at Bondi, eating a kangaroo tail on the way to Uluru, croc spotting in the Northern Territory, sinking schooners with the locals and going camping at Wolf Creek. All that good stuff! Officially, it’s not meant to be about landing a job with a blue chip company, but sometimes you strike it lucky. Be aware though, you are only allowed to work for the same employer for a maximum of six months. 

But who is my employer? 

Chances are you’re working through an agency, and since they’re the ones putting money in your account, surely they are your employer. Well, yes and no. For most purposes the agency is your employer, but in terms of your visa obligations the "employer" is considered to be the business for which you are working directly even if you are being paid by an agency or labour supplier. 

But I really like working for this company! Is there any way I can work longer than six months with them? 

You can request to extend your employment period beyond six months due to "exceptional circumstances." However, your definition of exceptional circumstances is likely to differ widely from the immigration office’s definition, and even if you are successful, the extension is limited to less than a month. Another option, if you have a 417 visa, is to apply for a second Working Holiday visa. The main requirement for a second visa is that you have completed three months of specified work in regional Australia. Specified work can be:

  • Plant and animal cultivation

  • Fishing and pearling

  • Tree farming and felling

  • Mining

  • Construction

Once you've pulled on your pack and gone somewhere sunny to pick fruit for three months you can apply for your second visa. The clock will then reset, and you can return to work for a further six months with a previous employer. Happy days! 

If you have further questions, please direct them to the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection, as we are not an authority on visa issues. You can also visit Aussie Working or join the Australia Working Holiday Facebook group.