Working Holiday or Tourist Visa In Australia?

I’ll apologise right away for the following obvious statement…if you are planning your trip to Australia with UltimateOz, you’re going to need a visa to get in the country.

Visa = entry to Australia.

Now, which visa should you get, a working holiday visa or a tourist visa? Both visas are a great way to get into Australia and explore the country. The most important thing to stress here is visas aren’t set in stone.

You are probably able to get either a tourist visa or working holiday visa,  however this does depend on the country your passport was issued by, so we recommend running that by the Department of Immigration before you book anything!

Now we’ve got the legal bit out the way, we can get on with the comparison: should you go for a working holiday or tourist visa in Australia?


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Who Can Get Each Visa?

A tourist visa is pretty much open to anyone who wants to come to Australia but there are different classes of tourist visa for different nations. Pretty much every country in Europe can get an eVisitor visa (subclass 651) when they come to Australia – you apply online (or with us) and it is all taken care of.

Other visitors – take note those from the America’s – have to get a slightly different visa (Don’t worry, it is still pretty stress free). The Electronic Travel Authority visa (subclass 601) is an online form, costs $20 and takes about a day to be processed. This is the one for Canada/United States – so take a look if you’re coming from there.

With working holiday visas, it’s a little different. Again, there are two visa options: The subclass 417 for the majority of Europeans (Canadians and Japanese too), and the subclass 462 for the United States and a few others. Check the full list of countries here and keep update with any changes via the Immigration website.

The 417 visa is an online form that you can complete at home or in Australia (but you must have an eVisitor if you want to apply from inside Australia).


Do I have to Send My Passport Away or Have an Interview?

If you’ve been through the rigmarole of getting a visa for another country (I’m looking at you America) then you might be worried that it’ll take ages to get your Australia visa. Worry not, as the system is pretty much all online and can be sorted in a matter of days.

If you want to head to your nearest Australian embassy or immigration office then that is an option (as is a postal application) but online is much easier and quicker.

Each visa has certain requirements that need to be met before you apply and a list of documents for each visa can be found on the Department of Immigration website. Once you’re application is lodged the visa should be confirmed in a matter of days although the Department of Immigration ask you to allow up to four weeks for the application process just in case.

After your application has been lodged, you’ll get an email decision and your visa is automatically updated to your passport electronically and you’re good to go! You can print your visa decision if you want, just to make sure you have a physical copy, but you won’t get a visa stuck in your passport like other countries.


How Long Are They?

Well, a tourist visa gives you three months in Australia and a working holiday visa gives you (at least) a year but that depends on the visa you get.

A 417 visa lasts a year but you can complete three months of regional work to get a second year visa, the 462 visa offers the same option. Your second year visa can be taken immediately after your first year or anytime before you turn 31, it’s up to you!


What Do They Let Me Do?

The biggest difference (aside from how long you get in Australia) is that on a tourist visa you can’t work and on a working holiday visa…well, the clue is in the name!

You can only work for six months for one employer and you can study for up to four months too (if you want to), they are the main rules around your working holiday visa no matter what country you’re from.

Your working holiday visa also allows you to enter and exit the country as many times as you like during the period of your visa whereas a tourist visa has to be renewed every time you want to leave and re-enter.


How Much Are They?

Good question! The visa prices change all the time so it’s tough to pinpoint an exact price.

The eVisitor visa for a tourist from the European Union is free of charge if you do it yourself and an ETA Visa is $20.

Working holiday visas are more expensive. If you do the visa yourself on the Department of Immigration website, it’ll set you back $420. You can ask us to take care of it for you when you book your UltimateOz trip by selecting the visa addon for your UltimateOz tour – this takes the hassle and paper-work out of your hands and leaves it with the experts!


How Many Times Can I Get Them?

You can get as many tourist visas as you want, there is no limit but it will look a bit dodgy if you keep dipping out of the country every three months and heading straight back in.

With your working holiday visa you get only one, unless you do the regional work, in which case you’ll get a second year.

With each visa option, you get a year to enter the country and as soon as you enter, your visa begins.


Which Visa Is Right For Me?

At the end of it all, it depends what you want to do in Australia. If you want all the benefits of living and working in Australia for a prolonged period of time, then you’re all about the working holiday visa.

If you are stopping in Australia for a couple of months on a round the world trip then the tourist visa will be just fine for what you need and if you love Australia, you can always come back for a year or two on your working holiday visa!

The important thing with a working holiday visa is not to waste it. If you’re only coming to Australia for a month then what’s the point in wasting a year long visa? You may think you’ll find work right away (and you might) but imagine someone turning up in your home country for a month, expecting to work before they move somewhere else. Seems a bit far fetched! You only get one shot at your working holiday so weigh up all of your options before deciding what to do!

If you’ve got any other questions about your visa for Australia or about living and working in Australia in general, let us know by email, in the comments below or on Facebook!


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Once you’ve arrived in Australia, you’ll quickly realise it’s a pretty expensive place! Don’t worry though, with our help you’ll learn how to save money in Australia and getting ready for your next big adventure!

This is the boring bit of travelling but it has to be done. If you want to dive on the Great Barrier Reef, jump out of a plane, bungee jump, rent a campervan for an epic road-trip – whatever it is – you’re going to need money!

Saving starts before your trip begins so start making sacrifices at home for the good of your trip abroad! Think about it, don’t go to your local and spend the money on booze in Australia! You do not need those jeans but you do need to see the Great Barrier Reef!

When you get over here though, there are a few things you can do to get yourself in the best position possible for the rest of your time in Australia.

Get a Job

It’s an absolute pain (and painfully obvious) but it has to be done. Our amazing TAW service can help you find work quickly right the way across Australia and in a whole heap of different industries.

Whether you just want a job for a few weeks or whether you are after more meaningful work, TAW can help you out. Our awesome TAW staff can go over your CV, help with job applications and cover letters and tell you all you need to know about your visa, your farm work, your tax and how to claim it back!

The Farming  Question

If you’re in Australia on a working holiday, I’m sure you’ll have given your farm work at least some thought. For the uninitiated, if you work for three months in agriculture in a specified area of Australia, you are able to apply for another working holiday visa to be used anytime before you turn 31.

Farming is the easiest of the specified work to find and can be a great opportunity to save some money but it is really tough work.

Many farm jobs include accommodation, food and wages and because of the location – make saving much easier. It is harder to spend your money when you live on a farm an hour and a half away from the nearest shop!

Be wary with some farmers and their promises though. A lot of them will want you to work cash-in-hand (which is illegal) and may not pay you on time or at all. There are millions of great farmers in Australia to work for so just keep your wits about you and you’ll be saving heaps.

Buy Groceries

If you are back in the city or need to buy your own food on the farm don’t fall into the eating out trap. I’m not talking about Michelin starred restaurants but three kebabs a week and a pizza can soon add up.

Get to Coles or Woolworths armed with a shopping list and start saving money! Make big batches of stuff – a massive bolognaise will last you ages and work for lunches and dinners!

When you’re at the supermarket, head for the deli counter. Your jaw will hit the floor when you see how much a packet of 2 chicken breasts can cost in Australia and if you hit the deli up for the same weight in chicken thighs, you’ll save a fortune! Don’t be put off by the price per kilo, it looks expensive but it is well cheaper than the alternative.

Share A Place

The accommodation question is always an interesting one. Once you’ve finished your UltimateOz trip, it is highly likely that you’ll either live with or travel with someone that you met on your group – trust us, it happens every single week of the year!

If you come into Ultimate Travel HQ in Sydney or get in touch with us online, we can sort you out with a bunch of viewings with our mates over at Furnished Property. These guys are shared accommodation specialists and they can normally find you short-term leases which when you split between a few of, work out a pretty cheap rent. Plus, as their name suggests, they specialise in furnished property so there is no need for you to go and waste money on stuff you’ll only need for a few months.

Hostels are amazing but the bills soon add up when you’re staying there. It isn’t just the fees though, it’s the temptation. How many times have you been sitting in your hostel room when someone has suggested a night out and you’ve gone for it!?

These are always amazing nights out but not the best way to save your cash for a big trip!

Book Travel in Advance and Altogether

Once you’ve done the boring work and saving bit, it’s time to spend the money!!

Whether you are looking at doing a little trip of the whole East Coast, the best way to save money is to book in bulk and with as much time in advance as possible!

UltimateOZ can get you the best rates around on Greyhound tickets, hostels, campervans and every amazing experience you can think of. whether you want to do some white water rafting or a scuba diving course – we’ve got you covered!

You can book tickets open-ended if you do want to have more flexibility but the sooner you can hone in on your plan the better. By booking all of your hostels, experiences and tours together you are given a great bundle rate.

Australia is a great place to live, work and travel plus you can save some money to fund your next travelling adventure! Get in touch with us and we’ll help you organise the best time of your life!!

Need help saving money? Look no further than our guide on how to save money in Australia!

So, you’re thinking about a working holiday visa in Australia?! That is an excellent start but don’t be put off by the many Australian working holiday myths!

You might have heard from a friend of a friend whose cousin moved to Australia in 1998 that certain aspects of the visa are true. Don’t trust the word on the grapevine (the grapevine lies!) everything you need to know about the working holiday visa can be found on our site or by asking one of us!

There are certain myths that surround the working holiday visa and we at Ultimate Travel have decided to debunk them left, right and centre!

The Government Are About to Update the Visa So It’s Two Years Automatically

This is the dream but it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen any time soon.

By completing your farm work, you can stay for a second year visa, but the government has no plans to update the visa regulations so the 417 visa is an automatic two year visa.

The Government continues to update the countries that can apply for a working holiday visa (Poland and Uruguay, welcome to the club!) and the visa may change in the future but it isn’t on the immediate horizon.

Keep your eyes peeled on the Department of Immigration website though, all changes will be announced there.

I Can Get More Than One Visa

ONLY if you do the farm work!

If you don’t want to do the farm work, then you’re limited to just one where working holiday visas are concerned.

With 3 months of regional work completed, you are eligible to apply for the same visa again to be used straight off the back of your first one or any time before you turn 31.

Government proposals hope to change this by allowing backpackers to take one working holiday visa before they turn 25 and another after but this is still in early stages though so isn’t on the cards for the near future.

If I Claim My Superannuation, I Can’t Come Back To Australia

If you don’t know what superannuation is, it is basically a pension that your employer has to pay into on your behalf so you lose 12% of your wages into an account that you can’t access. It is a great idea if you plan on retiring in Australia but if you are just here for a working holiday, it can be annoying.

Don’t worry though, once your visa expires and you leave the country, you can apply to get your superannuation back! A lot of people seem to think that once you’ve closed your Super account, you can’t come back to Australia and this isn’t the case.

Any employer is legally bound to pay into your Super account and if you come back to Australia on a different visa, you are fine to open up a new one and start working again. Of course, it has to be a visa that allows you to work but you’re all good to start earning once again!

I’m only a Backpacker, I won’t pay tax

This isn’t true. You’ll pay tax if you are working in Australia but you’ll be able to claim it back at the end of the tax year.

When you arrive in Australia with UltimateOz, we’ll sort out the basic things you need before you start working – namely a bank account and help with your application for a tax file number. If you are from the UK a tax file number is then same thing as your National Insurance number, from the States it is the same as your social security number.

A tax file number gives you the right to work in Australia, and more importantly, puts you on a lower tax bracket. You can work for one month without a tax file number but you’ll be taxed about 50% of your wages. Nobody wants that!

Once you’ve got your tax file number, your tax rate drops to around 29% (depending on earnings) and as mentioned earlier, you’ll be able to claim some, if not all, of your tax back at the end of the tax year in July (again, depending on how much you earn).

Got any more questions? Get in touch with us and we’ll do our best to help you out!