“Working Holiday” vs “Work and Holiday” Visas: What’s The Difference?

“Working Holiday” vs “Work and Holiday” Visas: What’s The Difference?
Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash.

You may have noticed that there are two types of working holiday visas available to Australian citizens:

  • Working Holiday Visas
  • Work and Holiday Visas

Although the two visa types are very similar, there are subtle differences.

Working Holiday Visas

Working Holiday Visas are equivalent to Australia’s Working holiday (subclass 417) visa. These visas are generally easier to get, have higher (or no) capacity limits, and are less restrictive.

All countries that already had reciprocal working holiday programs with Australia prior to 2006, such as the UK, France, Japan or Canada, have “Working Holiday” visa agreements.

Work and Holiday Visas

Since 2006, many of Australia’s new reciprocal working holiday agreements have been made on the basis of the “Work and Holiday” (subclass 462) visa. These visas place more restrictions on backpackers coming to Australia, such as English language and education requirements.

People applying for a Work and Holiday visa in Australia need to speak functional English, hold or be studying towards a university degree, and have the support of their own government.

Generally, the maximum number of people from either country who can apply for a Work and Holiday Visa in the other country, in a given year, is also more limited. (You can check which countries have caps on the Department of Home Affairs website.)

The implications for Australians

Each of Australia’s working holiday maker agreements with other countries are reciprocal. This means, in general, that the same rules apply to foreigners coming to Australia as would apply to Australian working holiday makers travelling to that country.

So, if you’re applying for a Work and Holiday visa, it’s likely that there will be stricter eligibility requirements. In particular, you may need to:

  • Hold tertiary qualifications or have successfully completed at least two years of full-time university study
  • In some cases, speak the language of the other country with at least a “functional” level
  • In some cases, apply for an Australian government letter of support

You can check our matrix of working holiday visa requirements by country to see which countries require educational attainment or language skills to apply for a Work & Holiday visa.

The Australian Department of Home Affairs website has a list of all countries with reciprocal Working Holiday, and Work & Holiday arrangements.

Matt Graham

Matt is the founder of Working Holidays for Aussies. Passionate about travel and always looking for great deals, he believes that gap years & working holidays are the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in another culture and gain invaluable life experience. Originally from Australia, Matt has travelled to over 80 countries and has lived in New Zealand, Germany, Austria and the Netherlands.

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