I’m here on my first working holiday visa, which is expiring in December. I have just finished my three months regional work on a farm and am looking to apply for my second year working holiday visa. The work I did was voluntary – I got food and board but not paid. I’m now being told unpaid work is not accepted for the second year visa! Is this true? Will I be able to apply? What can I do?
In April 2015 there was a lot of media attention around WHV holders doing unpaid or in many cases very lowly paid work to complete three months ‘specific regional’ work to get a second year visa.
As a result, in May 2015 the minster for immigration announced rule changes would be introduced for the second working holiday visa.
Under the new rules, volunteer work would no longer be accepted and paid work was needed to meet the criteria for the second visa with applicants needing to produce payslips as evidence.
The good news for you is a transition period has been allowed.
Immigration know some people will be in the middle of a work placement on August 31 2015, and might not be able to provide pay slips for work done around these dates.
In this scenario, pay slips will not be required, provided it is clear the placement was already underway on August 31.
You will need to have clear dates noted on the employer form, 1263.
So as an example, a person starts volunteer work on August 15, was still working for the employer on August 31, and did not finish their volunteer work with the employer until September 24.
A person in this situation would not be required to provide pay slips for any of the specified work from August 15 to September 24 2015.
But take note, the temporary transition arrangements will cease on November 19 2015.
All specified work performed from November 20 onwards will need to be paid work with pay slips provided as evidence, regardless of whether you commenced working for an employer before August 31 2015.
For anyone that may have completed, say two months volunteer work up to August 31 and then stopped work to travel, the third month’s work done post August should be paid work. In this scenario, best to apply for the visa prior to November 20.
Consider asking a registered migration agent for help with assessment of your eligibility.
Find a registered migration agent here.
Employers are also being told of these changes, and their obligations to provide payslips.
Immigration is also telling employers payslips should show basic pay entitlements per Fair Work rules and Australian rates of pay.
Visa holders should ask employers for payslips even if paid in cash.
The Department of Immigration website has a list of ‘specified’ work that is eligible (typically farm or construction work) and a list of post codes that are considered as ‘regional’ for this visa. You might find you don’t have to go too far from the city if you can find the right job. See here for more details.
The 417 working holiday visa application fee is now $440, the application can be made online. You can apply before you turn 31 years of age.
It is also possible to go off travelling elsewhere and make the second visa application at another time. Be sure to keep your work records safe if you plan to apply later.