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Temporary Visas

Working Holiday Visas Changes

Working Holiday Visas Changes

The Working Holiday Maker (WHM) Program has been running since 1975 and is designed to encourage cultural exchange and closer ties between Australia and over 40 partner countries. The program enables young travellers from specified countries to have an extended 12-month holiday and earn money through short-term employment in Australia. Recent changes will allow these visas to be extended in certain circumstances for additional 24 months. What’s more, the number of places for WHM visas have been gradually increasing and new countries have become eligible for the program. Apart from allowing travellers to spend more time in Australia, these changes are also helping farmers and regional businesses to address critical work shortages.
Working Holiday Visas Changes

WHM Program

Under the WHM Program, Australia has negotiated bilateral agreements with several countries that allow people aged 18–30 years and in some cases up to 35 years of age (applicants from Canada, Ireland and France) to work and holiday in Australia. While the program benefits Australia’s tourism industry, it also brings advantages to other industries that have a need for short-term casual workers, especially those based in regional Australia.

210,456 WHM visas were granted in 2017-2018 to holiday makers that came predominantly from Europe and Asia. The growth in the program over the past 10 years shows that Australia has become a highly popular destination for young travellers. As it is a reciprocal program, young Australians can also take advantage of similar opportunities in partner countries.

The Second Working Holiday visa initiative allows first-time working holiday visa holders who undertake 3 months “specified work” in regional Australia during their stay to apply for a second WHM visa. Approved industries for “specified work” include:

Working Holiday Visas
  • Plant and animal cultivation
  • Tree farming and felling
  • Fishing and pearling
  • Construction
  • Mining
Work and Holiday Visas
  • Plant and animal cultivation in northern Australia and other specified areas of regional Australia
  • Tree farming and felling in northern Australia only
  • Fishing and pearling in northern Australia only
  • Tourism and hospitality in northern Australia only
Information about agricultural work opportunities in regional Australia can be found at the Harvest Trail website.

Regional Australia includes large parts of rural and regional Australia and from November 2019 the definition of Regional Australia will be simplified and expanded to include all of Australia except for the following metropolitan areas:

  • Sydney
  • Melbourne
  • Brisbane
  • Gold Coast
  • Perth
Working Holiday maker initiative encouraged backpackers to work on farms and according to the National Farmers’ Federation survey helps to minimise labour shortages in rural and regional Australia.

Recent Changes

From 1 July 2019, WHM visa holders who undertake 6 months of “specified work” in regional areas while on their second Working Holiday visa or Work and Holiday visa may be eligible to apply for a third visa. Travellers can also now stay with the same agricultural employer for up to 12 months instead of previous maximum of six months. In addition, the maximum age for French applicants has been raised to 35 years in line with the same age restrictions for Canadian and Irish nationals.

Also, from 1 July 2019 the annual caps on Work and Holiday visas have been increased for Argentina, Portugal and Singapore and new reciprocal arrangements has started with Ecuador and Greece.

Annual Caps for Work and Holiday Visas
  • Argentina – 1,500
  • Austria – 200
  • Chile – 3,400
  • China – 5,000
  • Czech Republic – 500
  • Ecuador – 100
  • Greece – 500
  • Hungary – 200
  • Indonesia – 1,000
  • Israel – 2,500
  • Luxembourg – 100
  • Malaysia – 100
  • Peru – 1,500
  • Poland – 500
  • Portugal – 200
  • San Marino – 100
  • Singapore – 500
  • Slovak Republic- 200
  • Slovenia – 200
  • Spain – 3,400
  • Thailand – 500
  • Turkey – 100
  • Uruguay 100
  • USA – uncapped
  • Vietnam – 200

To assess your eligibility for a Working Holiday Maker program, please, complete Visitor visa assessment by clicking on the Yellow Pattern Road or using Visa Eligibility Assessment below.

Follow the Yellow Pattern Road for a free visa assessment


Follow the Yellow Pattern Road for a free visa assessment