The 88 Day Run Down

So, in case you didn’t know, there’s a way to extend your Australian Working Holiday Visa by one more year. To do this, you need to work 88 days in a specific field in a specific area. The job field and location depend on your type of visa (417 vs. 462). I’m on a 462 visa, so my experience might be different from someone on a 417 visa.

What determines which visa you get?

It’s solely determined by your country of citizenship. For example, American and Chinese people have a 462 visa, while British and German people have a 417 visa. Just visit the Australian government website to find out which one you should get or which one you already have if you’re not sure.

Fun fact: 462 visa holders only recently gained the opportunity to extend their visa. It became an option in 2016, while 417 visa holders have had the extension option for quite a while.

So what work is required?

462 visa holders are able to do mining, farming, fishing, hospitality, construction, or tourism work to extend their visa. The catch? It has to be done above the Tropic of Capricorn, which is a longitudinal line that runs across Australia roughly along the Northern Territory border and crossing through Rockhampton, Queensland. (There’s a list of approved post codes on the government website). The other important thing to remember is that the job needs to be legal. This means no cash-in-hand jobs. All work must be paid at least minimum wage (award rates), and taxes need to be paid as well, along with superannuation. All payslips are needed to prove this when applying for the visa extension.

Sounds easy, huh?

Finding work in these areas may seem to be a simple task, but that’s not always true. The truth is, North Australia is facing a huge unemployment crisis. I found this out from my airport shuttle driver the day I arrived in Townsville. I had flown up there from Sydney with the intention of finding work, so this was the first sign of trouble. To be honest, as a traveler on a working holiday visa, it’s very difficult to find certain types of work. There is just SO much competition, you have to either stand out, or not be too picky about what you apply for.

I tried to find hospitality work in Townsville for over a month. I finally found a place on Gumtree, which I thought was going to work out perfectly. I had spoken with the manager of a hotel/restaurant through email for about a week. I asked all the questions I thought necessary. The hotel was quite remote, so when I was finally offered the position, it took about 2 days to get there via Greyhound bus and the help of a coworker. Within the first week, the managers tried to lower my rate of pay and also tried to pay me cash-in-hand (along with the other new backpacker they hired). Cash-in-hand jobs are illegal, and therefore would NOT work for our visa extension requirement. The other girl and I were pretty upset by the whole situation, as we had spent time and money coming to this remote town, only to be let down when we got there and feeling deceived. On our day off we drove about 4 hours to Airlie Beach where we walked around and handed out resumes to every single store and restaurant. (I think I maybe got one call back a couple weeks later.) But luckily, on our last day working at this hotel, I joined a job agency and was offered a position 2 days later at a remote hotel in Queensland.

Why work in a remote town?

While working in a remote town wasn’t my ideal situation, it worked out okay. The reality is, it’s much easier to find work if you look at remote locations, rather than in the city. Oftentimes, remote positions will include accommodation and/or food, (sometimes at a discounted rate and sometimes free!). I was lucky with my job, as I had accommodation above the hotel/restaurant I worked at, and food was included as well. Because of this, working in small towns are amazing ways to save money. However, there’s definitely a downside to working in such a small secluded place. I found it pretty boring, but everyone’s different. The main thing that mattered for me was that I finally found a real job that paid me legally.

How did you calculate your 88 days?

You technically don’t have to work 88 days. You just have to work full time during a period of 88 days. So, weekends count towards that time! I worked from September 17th to December 21st. I really only worked about 75 days, but it still counted because I worked full time hours during this period (38 hours or more).

What’s that job agency?

The agency I went through is called Adventure Cairns and Beyond. I personally had a great experience with them, but I’d encourage you to read their Facebook reviews. Apparently it can be a bit hit-and-miss (my former coworker who was in the same situation as me, did not have a good experience). However, I’d definitely recommend going through agencies to find 2nd-year-visa work. I’ve also heard great things about MLKA Recruitment, who specialize in remote hospitality jobs. Although I haven’t personally used them myself. In my opinion, you’re much more likely to find a legal position through an agency rather than through Gumtree. It also might be quicker, like it was in my experience (over 1 month vs. 2 days).

So what about the 417 visa?

People on the 417 visa have different requirements to qualify for the extensions. They need to do mining, construction, or farm work. The location requirements are different as well. This work doesn’t have to be done north of the Tropic of Capricorn, it can be done down south as well or in Tasmania. However, it must be done in a regional location. There’s a list of approved post codes on the government website.

I can’t find the information on the government website!

Okay fine, here are the links:

462 visa: https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/trav/visa-1/462-#tab-content-0

Click the “visa applicants” tab

Then click:

  • “Eligible countries” to see if the 462 visa is the right visa for you
  • “Specified subclass 462 work” for more detail regarding what work is required for the extension
  • “Tourism and hospitality occupations” to see the list of approved job titles
  • “Northern Australia” to see the list of approved post codes

417 visa: https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/trav/visa-1/417-

Click the “visa applicants” tab

Then click:

  • “Eligible countries” to see if the 417 visa is the right visa for you
  • “Specified work” for more detail regarding what work is required for the extension
  • “Regional areas” to see the list of approved post codes

 

I hope this information has helped you on your hunt for 2nd year visa work!

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