Free Australian Working Holiday Visas Until 19 April 2022
The Australian government is giving away free working holiday visas and offering increased work flexibility to international backpackers who arrive in Australia by 19 April 2022.
After its international border was closed for almost two years, Australia reopened to eligible visa holders including working holiday visa holders on 15 December 2021. (Australia’s international border finally reopens to general tourists on 21 February 2022.)
But shortly after reopening to working holiday makers, the Australian government realised there was a severe labour shortage in Australia. The country needed more backpackers to fill jobs! So the government announced two new, temporary incentives in January 2022 to encourage more people to come to Australia ASAP on working holiday visas!
Working holiday visa application charges to be refunded
One of these incentives is a full refund of the Visa Application Charge (VAC) for international visitors who come to Australia on a 417 (Working Holiday) or 462 (Work and Holiday) visa between 19 January 2022 and 19 April 2022. The visa fee is normally AUD495 per year, so this is a reasonably significant saving!
To get a free working holiday visa for Australia, you’ll just need to be approved for your visa and arrive in Australia by 19 April 2022.
You’ll still need to pay the regular Visa Application Charge upfront. But after arriving in Australia, you can apply for a full refund of your visa fee using the Visa Refund Portal on the Department of Home Affairs website. You’ll need to claim your refund by 31 December 2022.
International students arriving in Australia by the same date can also apply for a refund of their Visa Application Charge, which is normally AUD630.
The Australian government has also pledged to process new working holiday visa and student visa applications quickly, giving people a realistic opportunity to travel to Australia before the 19 April deadline if they apply for a visa now. Of the new Working Holiday visa applications submitted over the past few months, 90% were finalised within 18 days.
Increased flexibility for working holiday makers in Australia
Normally, working holiday makers in Australia on a subclass 417 or 462 visa may generally only work for a limited time with any single employer. But from 19 January 2022, the Australian government is offering increased flexibility to working holiday makers.
Throughout 2022, any working holiday maker in Australia can work for the same employer for more than six months without needing to request permission from the Australian government. This applies to work in any sector, and anywhere in Australia.
This measure is temporary. It will be in place until at least 31 December 2022, after which time it will be reviewed by the Australian government.
Past Australian working holiday makers can re-apply for free
If you already held an Australian Working Holiday or Work and Holiday visa prior to 20 March 2020, when Australia closed its border due to COVID-19, you may also be able to re-apply for a new visa for free.
Please see the following article for more information about this, or for more information about the working holiday visas offered by Australia to citizens of other countries: Australia Reopens to Working Holiday Makers
P.S. If you’re an Australian citizen interested in applying for a working holiday visa in another country, check out our guide to countries that offer working holiday visas to Australians!