The Outlook for Working Holiday Visas in 2023
Over the past few years, many countries either closed their international borders or suspended issuing new visas – including working holiday visas. For much of 2020 and 2021, Australia’s international border was also closed.
But during 2022, it became a lot easier to travel overseas again! Australia reopened its international border. In fact, Australia has even made it slightly easier for backpackers to come to the country on a working holiday visa or Work and Holiday visa during 2022 and 2023.
Most other partner countries have also now resumed issuing working holiday visas to Australian citizens. Here’s a summary of the current situation…
Coming to Australia on a working holiday in 2023
The working holiday maker program was one of the first things to resume after the Australian government reopened Australia’s international border in late 2021. In early 2022, the government even waived working holiday and Work & Holiday visa fees for a few months.
Put simply, the Australian government realised that it needed backpackers to return. There was a labour shortage and the country’s economy is somewhat reliant on working holiday makers.
To this end, the Australian government made various changes in 2022 to help more backpackers come to Australia. These included:
- Launching new working holiday visa agreements with Switzerland, Brazil and Mongolia (a new agreement with India is also on the way)
- Permanently increasing the annual caps on the number of Work and Holiday (462) visas that can be issued to citizens of Austria, Hungary and Slovakia
- Increasing the working holiday visa age limit for Italians and Danes from 30 to 35
- Temporarily increasing the number of visas that can be issued to citizens of countries with caps in place by 30% between 1 July 2022 and 30 July 2023
- Allowing working holiday makers to work for the same employer for more than six months, without requesting special permission, until 30 June 2023 (this was initially only allowed until the end of 2022 but was recently extended)
If you’re thinking about coming to Australia for a working holiday in 2023, the country is now open and ready to welcome you. At the time of writing, there are still visas available for the current year except for citizens of Ecuador, Mongolia and Vietnam. (If you’re from one of these three countries, applications have reached maximum capacity for this season but will reopen on 1 July 2023.)
Australians going overseas for working holidays in 2023
Throughout 2022, the vast majority of countries that had suspended the issuance of working holiday visas due to the pandemic resumed accepting applications. This includes Ireland, Denmark, Japan and South Korea.
Canada has also removed its COVID-19 restrictions and the requirement to have a job lined up before entering Canada.
Unfortunately, going against the trend, one country may have recently made it more difficult for Australian backpackers. France appears to have made a change to its policy around work authorisations. Previously, Australians with a working holiday visa for France could work after arriving without needing to apply for a separate work permit, but it appears that this may no longer be the case for Australian citizens. (We’re investigating this and will publish a separate update once more information is available.)
Nonetheless, if you’re thinking about a working holiday in 2023, seize the opportunity! The world has (mostly) reopened at this point.
If you’re an Australian thinking about applying for a working holiday visa, be sure to check our working holiday visa guides for your preferred country or check our summary of available working holiday visas & rules.