Working Holiday Maker

Applying for a Working Holiday Visa

This page explains how to apply for the inital one-year working holiday visa.Working Holiday Visa Conditions . Working holiday visas are subject to a number of conditions – this page explains how the conditions work and consequences of breaching the conditions

Working Holiday Extensions

If you have completed at least 3 months of seasonal work in Australia, then you can apply for a 1-year extension on your working holiday visa

Extending your Working Holiday Visa

If you have done certain types work in regional Australia on your working holiday visa for at least 3 months, you can apply for a 12-month extension of your working holiday visa.

Type of Work

The work you have done in the regional area must be “specified work”. This includes the following activities:

  • Plant and animal cultivation
  • Fishing and pearling
  • Tree farming and felling
  • Mining
  • Construction

Regional Areas

The 3 months work must have been done in a regional area. The regional areas are defined by postcode as follows:



NEW SOUTH WALES (Except Sydney, Newcastle, the Central Coast and Wollongong)

2311 to 2312

2328 to 2411

2420 to 2490

2536 to 2551

2575 to 2594

2618 to 2739

2787 to 2898


Entire Location


Entire Territory

QUEENSLAND (Except the greater Brisbane area and the Gold Coast)

4124 to 4125



4270 to 4272





4307 to 4499



4515 to 4519

4522 to 4899


Entire State


Entire State

VICTORIA (Except Melbourne metropolitan area)


3211 to 3334

3340 to 3424

3430 to 3649

3658 to 3749

3753, 3756, 3758, 3762,


3778 to 3781

3783, 3797, 3799

3810 to 3909

3921 to 3925

3945 to 3974


3981 to 3996

WESTERN AUSTRALIA (Except Perth and surroundings areas)

6041 to 6044

6055 to 6056



6083 to 6084


6121 to 6126

6200 to 6799

How Do I Find Seasonal Work?

The Australian government’s Harvest Trail site provides a monthly guide to seasonal work.

How Do I Apply?

It is possible to apply for the extension whilst in Australia (unlike the initial application for a working holiday visa). Most applications for extensions are lodged via the internet.

General Skilled Migration

Depending on your qualifications and work experience, you may qualify for permanent residence through general skilled migration. Relatives in Australia can sponsor your application.

General Skilled Migration (GSM)

The purpose of the Skilled Migration Program is to attract highly employable people for migration to Australia. It is the most common form of migration to Australia, and it is one of the core areas of Acacia’s expertise.

Skilled Subclasses

There are a variety of skilled migration options:

Skilled Independent Subclass 189 Permanent visa option, the skilled independent does not require sponsorship by a relative or state/territory government

Skilled Nominated Subclass 190 A permanent visa requiring nomination by an Australian State or Territory government

Skilled Regional Provisional Subclass 489 This is a 4-year provisional visa which allows holders to live only in certain areas of Australia. You would need to be sponsored by an Australian relative living in a designated area, or by a state or territory government.

Skilled Regional Subclass 887 The Skilled Regional visa is the permanent stage of the Skilled Regional Provisional visa. To qualify for a Skilled Regional visa, you must live in the required region of Australia for 2 years and work full time there for 12 months.

Graduate Temporary Subclass 485 The Graduate Temporary visa is a work visa which can be applied for by international students who have completed a qualification taking 2 years of study in Australia.

Recognised Graduate Subclass 476 An 18 month work visa for recent engineering graduates

Temporary Business Sponsorship (482 Visas)

If you have a job in Australia, it is possible for your employer to sponsor you for a 4-year subclass 457 visa.

Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS)

An employer can also nominate you for permanent residence. You will need to show a higher skill level than for a 457 visa.

Employer Nomination Scheme Subclass 186 Visas

The Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) results in a permanent visa for the sponsored employee. Whilst it has been a common way for 457 visa holders to qualify for permanent residence, it does have a higher skill level than the 457/TSS visa.

ENS Stages

There are two stages to the ENS subclass 186 application:

  • Nomination: involves review of the business’ operations as well as the position offered to the employee. Employers will also be required to contribute to the Skilling Australians Fund training levy – the date it takes effect is yet to be announced by the Government
  • Visa Application: there are three possible pathways which may require a skills assessment, English language testing and health and police checks

Application Pathways

There are three possible application pathways for an ENS visa:

  1. Temporary Residence Transition: In this case no skills assessment is required however, unless Grandfathering Provisions apply (see below), applicants need to be under 45 years of age at the time of lodgement, have worked with the nominating employer on a 457 or TSS visa for at least 3 years, nominate an occupation on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) and meet Competent English
  2. Direct Entry Stream: Most of the time, applicants will need to provide a formal skills assessment in their occupation and show that they have worked in their occupation for three years. As above, applicants must also be under the age of 45 years, be nominating an occupation on the Short-Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) and meet competent English
  3. Agreement Stream: where the employer has a Labour Agreement

In some instances exemptions may be applicable to the above requirements.

Grandfathering Provisions

The Department of Immigration has announced that 457 applicants and visa holders (as at 18 April 2017) will not need to meet all of the new requirements and will instead be able to preserve their eligibility for ENS and RSMS through the Temporary Residence Transition stream.

To be eligible for these transitional arrangements, applicants must have either:

  • Held a 457 visa as at 18 April 2017, or
  • Had a pending 457 visa application as at 18 April 2017, which resulted in the approval of a 457 or TSS visa.

Applicants who are eligible to apply via these provisions will not need to meet the new requirements in relation to:

  • Occupation: applicants may qualify even if their occupation is not on the MLTSSL or has since been removed from the occupations list altogether
  • Age: applicants may still qualify if they are aged between 45 and 49 years of age. In some instances, further exemptions may apply to those aged above 49 years
  • Work experience on the 457 visa: applicants may qualify once they have worked in their nominated occupation for their nominating employer for at least 2 years whilst holding the 457 visa

Common Issues with ENS Visas

ENS visas require a significantly higher level of documentation than a 457/TSS visa. Difficulties which can be encountered in applying for ENS visas include

  • Obtaining skills assessments – each skills assessing authority has different criteria, but in some circumstances this requirement can be avoided
  • Demonstrating that the employer meets the “satisfactory record of training” requirement
  • Showing exceptional circumstances where visa applicants would not meet the usual requirements for Age, English language ability and skill level
    • Acacia’s Expertise

      Acacia has significant expertise in obtaining ENS visas for employers, in some cases where meeting the standard criteria does not appear straight forward.

      Please call our team on 02 9230 0888 to find out how Acacia can help.

    Partner Migration

    If you are married, engaged, or living with an Australian partner you may be eligible for partner migration.

    Partner Migration

    Visa Options

    If you are married to, engaged to, or living in a de facto relationship with an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen, your partner may sponsor you for migration to Australia.

    Approved Within 6 Weeks

    I first approached Acacia Immigration for advice by email on a de-facto spouse visa, and was impressed by the speed of reply as well as the quality, including a documents checklist. Further queries were also quickly responded to which led to my engaging Acacia to act on my behalf on my arrival in Australia.

    My application, which was not without complications, was subsequently approved within 6 weeks of lodging thanks to good information-sharing and excellent follow-up by Acacia’s principal, Mark Webster and his staff. Furthermore, I was able to move onto full Permanent Residency status immediately rather than the 2-year temporary visa, which was an absolute bonus.

    I would recommend Acacia Immigration’s services to any prospective client, whether applying from overseas or within Australia.

    Suzy Tawse

    The main partner visa options are as follows:

    Partner Visa Partner visas are for people who are married or in a defacto relationship with an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible NZ citizen. This leads to permanent residence, usually over a period of 2 years.

    Fiance (Prospective Spouse) visa The fiance or prospective spouse visa is a 9-month temporary visa which allows applicants to travel to Australia to marry their Australian partner. Once married in Australia, you would look at applying for a partner visa to obtain your permanent residence.

    Case Study

    Alison King and Peter Taylor Alison first tried lodging her application herself and was refused. We took over the file and were able to get the application approved.

    Case Study

    Steven Jamieson and Kampin Narong Steven and Kampin’s case was one where a refusal was definitely a possibility: Kampin is from a high risk country, and the couple had not spent much time living together. We were able to achieve a successful outcome by careful preparation of the file.

    Acacia’s Expertise

    Acacia Immigration Australia understands that it is of the utmost importance that your partner can join you in Australia as quickly as possible. Acacia’s migration agents offer expert advice and have significant experience in dealing with any difficult issues that may arise when applying for partner visas, including:

    • Establishing the 12-month cohabitation requirement for defacto partners
    • Skipping the usual 2-year waiting period for permanent residence
    • Obtaining exemptions for the 12-month cohabitation requirement
    • Health waivers where the partner has a serious medical issue
    • Situations involving domestic violence
    Studying in Australia
    Another way of extending your stay in Australia is to apply for a student visa

    Student Subclass 500 Visas

    Student Visas allow international students to travel to and from Australia and live in Australia while they undertake a full-time course of study. There are many different courses an international student may enrol in, and it is possible to apply for permission to work part-time while studying.

    Visa Requirements

    Enrolment in Registered Course

    You must first enrol in a CRICOS-registered course, or in a primary or high school program.

    Genuine Temporary Entrant

    You will need to show that you are a genuine student who will complete their studies in Australia, comply with visa conditions and in general return home after your studies.

    This would generally involve demonstrating how the studies are relevant to your background, and how they will improve your employment prospects in your home country.

    Country and Provider Risk Model

    Risk ratings apply to different education providers and to different passport countries.

    Depending on the combination of your passport country and the education provider, you will either need to meet:

    • Regular Evidentiary Requirements: in this case you would need to provide evidence of English language ability and finances
    • Streamlined Evidentiary Requirements: evidence of English language ability or finances not generally required
    English Language Ability

    If you are subject to “Regular Evidentiary Requirements”, you will need to provide evidence of your English language ability.

    This would generally require you to undertake English language testing – minimum scores would generally be as follows:

    • IELTS: 5.5 Average
    • TOEFL (Paper): 527
    • TOEFL iBT: 46
    • CAE (Cambridge): 162
    • PTE (Pearson): 42
    • OET (Occupational English Test): B Pass

    If you are completing ELICOS (English language) studies as part of a packaged course, the English scores are somewhat lower.

    You may be exempt from English language testing if:

    • You hold a passport from certain countries
    • You have previously studied in English medium or in Australia
    • You are enrolled in certain types of courses
    Financial Requirement

    If required, you would need to provide evidence that you have sufficient funds to undertake studies in Australia. This could be either of the following:

    • Evidence of funds to cover your studies for the first 12 months of your stay in Australia; or
    • Evidence of taxable income of your parents or spouse for the last 12 months

    How do I apply?

    You can either be in Australia or overseas when you apply for a student visa. If in Australia, you would generally need to hold a substantive visa which is not subject to a “no further stay” condition.

    The application is generally lodged online, though paper applications are possible in some circumstances.

    Visa Conditions

    Your visa is generally approved for the duration of your studies plus 2 months or so. PhD and Masters by Research students will generally receive an additional 6 months to handle marking of their theses.

    You are permitted to work in Australia on a student visa once you have commenced your studies. In general, you can work for up to 40 hours a fortnight whilst your course is in session.

    You must maintain enrolment in an approved course whilst in Australia – you are not allowed to swap to a lower course, but can swap to a higher level course whilst you are in Australia.

    To obtain a student visa, you must provide evidence of adequate health insurance arrangements, and this is also an ongoing condition of your visa.


    Student visas can be a good way to improve your skills and employability. Australian qualifications can also give you more options in applying for longer-stay visas such as Graduate Temporary Subclass 485 visas and General Skilled Migration.

    Many students may be eligible for migration options before they commence studies. If you would like to look at a student visa as part of your overall migration strategy, please book a consultation with one of our advisors.

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