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Return of Working-Holiday-Makers (sc 417 and 462 visa holders)

Updated: Jan 10

Pre-Covid19 pandemic Australia used have over 300,000 young people through the Working-Holiday-Maker programs on subclass 417 and 462 visa. Approximately a third of these young people, mostly aged between 18 and 30 travelled from UK, Germany and France, a third from Asia (Japan, South Korea and China) and the rest from South and North America. Australia accepts Working-Holiday-Makers from 45 countries.


Traditionally Working-Holiday-Makers offered support to the hospitality, regional agriculture and food processing as well as construction industry, and last but not least childcare, and aged-care, health-care and disability care. They often spent some 25 to 50% of their time in Australia outside of metropolitan areas and contributed an estimated $3biillion in visitor spending over the course of their stay in Australia which could be extended to up to 3 years.


The Australian Government opened borders for Working-Holiday-Makers in December 2021 and the visa processing resumed and the visa application fees for these category visas were waived. The restrictions imposed on Working-Holiday-Makers to only work for one Australian employer up to a maximum of 6 months was removed for certain industries allowing them to remain with the same employer for the duration of their visa.


Attracting Working-Holiday-Makers to return to Australia may take some time but it is certainly on the agenda of the Australian Government, as the experience of 2020 and 2021 shows that some areas of NSW, Victoria and Queensland, especially the far North Queensland up from Townsville had felt the impact the most.


In mid December further changes to the program were announced with an impact on certain visa applicants as follows:

  • Switzerland - applicants must be between 18 and 30 years old at time of application, are exempt from providing evidence of support from their home government and must have completed two years of study following compulsory schooling in Switzerland.

  • Uruguay - applicants are exempt from providing support from their home government.

  • Ecuador and Greece - applicants must now provide evidence of home government support for their applications

  • United Kingdom - allowing the age limits to be lifted to 35 years and stays of up to three years (based on the new Australia UK Free Trade Agreement which does not commence immediately)

If you need help with accessing and planning your Working-Holiday-Maker visit to Australia reach out to Assent Migration Lawyers.

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