When I applied for my Australian working holiday visa, I was amazed at how simple the process was. I filled out a form online, had a chest x-ray (to check for TB as I had been living in South Korea), and then got on a plane. When I arrived in Australia, there was no interview, no dealing with customs officials – I swiped my passport in an electronic machine and walked straight through. ‘Welcome to Australia for one year, you may now live and work here.’ I walked to a border guard and explained what had happened, expecting a more rigorous border process, but he waved me away, telling me that I was already in.
Thus, you do not need to pay lots of money to an agency who will sort out your visa for you (although you can if you want to). In order to apply, for an Australian working holiday visa, you must:
- be at least 18 but not yet 31 years of age
- not have a dependent child with you at any time during your stay in Australia
- have a passport from an eligible country
Individuals from the following countries are eligible for an Australian working holiday visa:
- Working Holiday visa (subclass 417): Belgium, Canada, Republic of Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China (including British National Overseas passport holders), Republic of Ireland, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Taiwan, United Kingdom.
- Work and Holiday visa (subclass 462): Argentina, Bangladesh, Chile, Indonesia, Malaysia, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, USA, Uruguay.
The Working Holiday visa (subclass 417) offers you a second year visa if you complete 90 days of rural work. The Work and Holiday visa (subclass 462) does not. Both visas currently (as of May 2015) cost AU $420 (about GB £220 / US $330) to apply for online. Any medical examinations that you require must be paid in addition to this fee.
Once you have completed the online application form, you wait for approval, then head to Australia.
Note: During the application process, it informs you that you may have to show ‘evidence of sufficient funds’ to support yourself while in Australia. This typically means a bank statement showing that you have AU $3,000 available. Fortunately, I did not have to do this, however, I do not know if everyone else’s arrival procedure will be the same as mine or not.