Your second year working holiday visa

by Dominic 13/08/2012 15:08:00

"No mum, I've definitely had enough of
the real life teddies in Australia, I'll be
on the first flight home, it's raining right?

So, you're in Australia on a Working Holiday Visa, you've seen the Opera House, worn a cork hat (in an ironic way of course), shaved a koala bear, got so tanned your mother wouldn't recognise you and just generally drank more Fosters and eaten more barbecue than is probably healthy.

Now you've got a job you like, a flat which you never need to tidy (because your mum is on the other side of the world) and just generally living a pretty sweet life.

But then that year which seemed so long for a holiday suddenly seems to be seeping away and that dreaded return date is starting to come into focus on the horizon.

So what do you? Well, get a second year Working Holiday Visa of course! Let's look at how that goes.

How to get a second year Working Holiday Visa

Anyone on a Working Holiday Visa can extend it for a further 12 months if they fulfill one simple requirement: applicants must complete three months - 88 days to be precise - of work in rural Australia.

The full list of jobs which qualify can be found here but are usually categorised thus (life would be so much sweeter if we could use the word 'thus' more in conversation):

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

Each category contains a few different jobs which you may be interested in. However, before you pop down your local pearling menagerie (like you know what a pearling place is called) to slip them a cheeky CV, bear in mind that your work must be in rural Australia.

A few places count as rural Australia though so don't worry:

  • All the Northern Territory
  • All of South Australia
  • All of Tasmania

New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia have specific sections as to what counts as rural. These are defined by post code and can be found here.

When you are applying for your second year Working Holiday Visa, you will need certification from your employer which proves that you have completed the required amount. The evidence can include:

  • A bank statement covering the entire period of your claimed specified work
  • Bus tickets, accommodation or general receipts in your name
  • Payslips
  • Group certificates
  • Tax returns
  • Employer references on official letterhead.

Most employers will have their own system for providing you with evidence but few should have a problem with doing so.

Once you have your evidence you will need to fill out the form 1263 and, if you're already a Visa Bureau client, email it us at and we'll do all the hardwork for you. Alternatively, you will need to fill out the form and lodge it yourself with the Australian government at

"I'm definitely going to break the
law just to avoid outrage."

The most common type of second year work is fruit picking as the work is only temporary while the harvests last. You can get in, get healthy, get your certification, get out, done, another year in the sun.

I don't want to do that

The idea of standing in the sun for four or five hours a day picking fresh fruit among friends might not appeal to you, and that's fair enough. We agree that sitting on a couch chatting to friends you've never met online, slaughtering strangers on a computer game while eating something thats main ingredients are salt and grease does sound more appealing, and as long as you're content with doing that back in rainy Britain, or rainy Ireland or somewhere else rainy that isn't Australia, that's cool.

If you want to stay in Australia though, you best grit your teeth and just deal with the fact that you're going to have stay outside and get healthy with all the normals. Don't worry though, you can't overdose on Vitamin D, well you can, but you won't, probably.

No, I definitely don't want to do that, there must be another way

If you only need to have an employer say you worked for them for three months work, can't you just get them to vouch for you without actually helping them out? Perhaps for a little money, nudge nudge, wink wink?

Well, you can. You can sidle up to a farmer and say "hey Old McDonald, what say you and I help each other out?", money changes hands in a complex conspiracy of the like Dan Brown can be proud of and you're away.

On your head be it.

A recent report from the Department of Immigration showed that over 1,000 people have had their visas cancelled in the last three years because they tried to use fraudulent information on their applications.

And guess what? Almost half of them were either British, or Irish.

"You better have some limes in your
pocket or you're going to jail buddy."

So what? I'm hard, I'm not scared of a little risk

What's the worst that can happen? You could get deported? So what? That's a free flight home right?

No. Six people have been prosecuted for supplying false information to a visa application and it is a very serious crime.

Reports in the Sydney Morning Herald that backpackers were aware of the scheme and are happy to use them combined with the discovery of a website cheerfully and openly offering to buy or sell fraudulent documents have wound the government up, and they've since stepped up their efforts to catch people.

If you try it on and are caught, you will receive an automatic ban from Australia altogether for three years and can often result in you being ineligible for any visa other than a tourist visa forever.

You might not want to move to Australia permanently right now, but do you really want to rule that out, forever?

And, receiving just a temporary ban from Australia can prevent you travelling to other countries, particularly New Zealand and even America.

Why risk it?

Fruit picking or being away from the hubbub for three months might not sound quite as appealing as city living but that doesn't mean it has to be a miserable chore you need to get out of the way.

Many of our clients say the fruit picking was one of their favourite parts of their trip. After all, everyone is in the same boat, of a similar age and experience and are just looking to have fun. There's no career pressure involved, no HR departments monitoring the stationery cupboard with a little too much enthusiasm or unruly bosses grilling you about it why it takes you more than 17 seconds to visit the photocopier.

You'll be out in the sunshine with friends, getting some exercise, making some money and, above all, smug in the knowledge that it'll be another year before you have to come home again.

You only get one working holiday in Australia, why risk it?

- Dominic Ladden-Powell is the Online Editor with the Australian Visa Bureau, an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people lodge applications for a Working Holiday Visa to Australia.

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

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