Third working holiday visas start 1 July 2019 for 6 months of specified work

It was previously reported that planning for a third working holiday visa was in the works. Those plans now have the date of 1 July 2019 thanks to new regulations. From that day a third Subclass 417 – Working Holiday visa or Subclass 462 – Work and Holiday visa will be available, however, it is unlikely any third visa will be granted until 2020..

The catch is that visa applicants must complete 6 months of specified work. These 6 months must have been carried out as the holder of a second working holiday visa or while they held a bridging visa that was in effect and was granted on the basis of the application for the second working holiday visa. Also, all that work must have been carried out on or after 1 July 2019. This work is double the specified work requirements for a second working holiday visa, which is 3 months that must be carried out on a first working holiday visa.

Nine months of specified work for three years in Australia is an curious proposition and it will be interesting to see in years to come just how many take up the offer.

A peculiar aspect to working holiday visas is their grant lengths for their second and soon to be third working holiday visas. It is perhaps the only time when a grant length can be dependent on the date of expiry of the visa held at the time of application. Three scenarios exist:

  1. If the applicant is in Australia and holding a working holiday visa, they are granted a further visa for 12 months after the date that the old visa would have otherwise ceased to be in effect. It effectively “tacks on” an additional year.

  2. If the applicant is outside Australia at the time of visa grant, the grant duration is the same as their first working holiday visa in that they will have 12 months from the date of visa grant to enter Australia which will “activate” a visa for 12 months from the date of first entry.

  3. Those in Australia and who for whatever reason do not hold a working holiday visa at the time of application will have a visa granted for 12 months from the date of grant, operating as most other visas do by replacing one substantive visa with another.

What this means is that for most, those in Australia and holding a working holiday visa, it might make sense to undertake 9 months of specified work in one go with their second working holiday visa lodged soon after three months. This is because there is no detriment to their total visa duration, however, if they do this their visa conditions will be affected.

There are two mandatory visa conditions for working holiday visas: condition 8547 – the visa holder must not be employed by any 1 employer for more than 6 months without the prior permission in writing of the Secretary, and 8548 – the visa holder must not engage in any studies or training in Australia for more than 4 months. When a second or third working holiday visa is granted, these conditions “reset”, meaning a working holiday visa who has worked for one employer for 6 months can return to that employer for a further 6 months but only after their next working holiday visa has been granted. If, for example, a person was granted their second working holiday visa before their initial 6 months with an employer has finished, they cannot make up any shortfall by working a total of 12 months without prior permission. Therefore, it pays to be mindful of when to lodge a further working holiday visa.

The significant additional visa has been made to address regional workforce shortages for which, in a recent media release, the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs also confirmed an increase in places for 462 visas for Spanish, Israeli and Peruvian nationals, taking effect around the start of the year.