Six things to prepare for your working holiday in Australia
When we began organising our trip to Australia, we spent a lot of time searching for answers to a long list of questions. We couldn't find an overarching guide on preparing for a working holiday and what to do once we arrived, so we've put together a post which consolidates the information we found most important.
After travelling around Western Australia (with a cheeky trip to Bali thrown in for good measure) we started working in Sydney on six-month contracts. We hope this post will be helpful to those of you looking to travel to this wonderful country to work.
ABOUT THE WORKING HOLIDAY VISA (SUBCLASS 417)
UK citizens between ages 18-31 can apply for this temporary visa. It allows you to work in Australia for up to one year. You can generally only work for one employer for a maximum of six months.
Should you wish to extend your visa by a further year (which can be taken any time before you're 31), you must complete 3 months/88 days of relevant work (such as farm work).
The visa costs $440 at the time of writing. For further, up-to-date information, visit the Australian Government website.
BEFORE YOU ARRIVE
Nº 1 - APPLY FOR YOUR VISA
This is easily done by filling out the online application form on this page. Rachel completed her application one December morning and the visa was granted on the same day. Matt's took just under a week to come through. The visa links electronically to your passport and you will not receive a stamp/label.
Nº 2 - SET UP A BANK ACCOUNT
It is easy and we advise you to set up your bank account before you arrive. We both opened accounts with Commonwealth Bank, and you can do so up to three months before arriving.
Many banks charge a monthly account fee (usually around $4), however Commonwealth waive theirs for the first 12 months if you open the account using their online application form.
You don't need an address to set one up online, however when you go into the branch you selected to collect your card, you will need an address for their system. We were staying with friends so we gave theirs, as we chose to 'go paperless', so the Commonwealth Bank staff told us that any information will be sent electronically anyway.
Commonwealth have a great app and we've been satisfied with their service so far.
Nº 3 - SAVE YOUR SUFFICIENT FUNDS
Australia requires that you have sufficient funds to live on or to pay for you to return home! $5000 is considered sufficient. You do not have to provide proof when you apply for the visa, however you may be asked at immigration. We were not asked, but it's a big risk to take.
WHEN YOU ARRIVE
Nº 4 - BUY AN AUSTRALIAN SIM CARD
If you already have a phone, make sure it's unlocked before you get to Australia. We mainly looked at Telstra, Optus and Vodafone for pre-paid sim deals. We heard from many friends that Telstra has the best coverage, so we tested it out in remote parts of Western Australia - they were right. We pay $30 a month for 1.5gb + 1.5gb extra night data with unlimited texts and calls, and whatever we don't use is rolled over to the next month, providing we top up before the 28 days is up. If you want to change plans, you can do so easily, and you're not locked into a contract.
Nº 5 - GET A TAX FILE NUMBER (TFN)
This is one of the most important things to do once you land in Australia. It is your identity when it comes to taxes and superannuation, and you need one to work legitimately. If you don't have one within 28 days of starting work, you can be taxed up to 48%. You will need an address to apply for your TFN as your details arrive in the mail. This could take up to 28 days to arrive, so make sure you're staying put for a while or that there's someone you can trust to send it on.
You can apply for your TFN here.
Nº 6 - START YOUR JOB SEARCh
If you are staying in a hostel, there's a chance that they will be a job board detailing vacancies. Farm work opportunities are listed on the Travellers at Work, Working Holiday Jobs and Backpacker Job Board websites to name a few, along with other industries. Indeed or Seek are the main job search websites we used, as you can search by location, job level, salary and much more. There are plenty of recruitment agencies out there, especially in the main cities. Do some research and sign up to a few.