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If you’re reading this, the chances are that you’ve arrived in Australia on your first working holiday visa, fallen in love with the place and wondering how you can spend more time in this amazing country. If the idea of heading home after a year in Oz scares you, luckily there is a way to stay for another year: the Second working holiday visa. To obtain your 2nd year visa, you’ll need to complete 3  calendar months (or 88 days on and off) working in a designated regional area doing what the department of immigration class as ‘Specified work.’

Most backpackers work on farms, fruit picking and packing, carrying out general farm work or mustering cattle. You can also carry out construction or mining work or volunteer with programs such as WWOOF (Willing workers on organic farms), where you work approximately 4-6 hours per day in exchange for food and accommodation. Volunteering has been a popular way for backpackers to gain their 2nd year visa: it’s a great way to learn the skills necessary to work on a farm and with lots of casual short term jobs with host families available, it’s a great way to travel around while you work.

Second Year Visa Changes

Despite the popularity in backpackers volunteering to gain their 2nd year visa, on the 1st May 2015 the Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, announced that soon, volunteer work will no longer count towards 2nd working holiday visa extensions. This means that any work done through the WWOOFing association or any unpaid regional work will no longer be counted towards the 3 months or 88 days work needed to apply for your visa.

Minister Cash said the changes address a concern that some employers are exploiting the second Working Holiday visa initiative by encouraging Working Holiday visa holders to work for less than the minimum wage. He said, “The current arrangements can provide a perverse incentive for visa holders to agree to less than acceptable conditions in order to secure another visa.”

The department of immigration are now in the process of implementing the changes to the 2nd year visa that are said to be ‘phased in’ over the next few months however no official date has been set for the changes. To keep up to date with these changes, we would suggest keeping an eye on information posted on the WWOOF site.

How will the changes affect you?

Those seeking to apply for a second Working Holiday visa will be asked to produce an official payslip from their employer, demonstrating they have completed their regional work component. If you’re currently doing volunteer work to gain your visa extension, our advice is to bear in mind that you may need to complete paid regional work to make up the 88 days needed before applying for your 2nd year visa. These changes won’t impact on current visa applications.

If you wish to apply for a second working holiday visa and you’re looking for your farm work, take a look at our Guide to Farm Work in Australia. It has everything you need to know about the when, where and why!

For more information regarding 2nd year visas check out our website, Travellers at Work. Completed your regional work and need to claim your tax back? We recommend registering with Taxback.com now to avoid the rush at the end of the tax year in June!

Now that we’ve answered all of your questions concerning your regional work, it is time to help you try and find some work!

There are many options for your regional work but by far the most popular is the farming route.

If you are a skilled construction worker, that could definitely be an option for you but you will need a white card before you can get on a building site. Building work can also be a little bit sporadic so remember it is only the days you work that count if you aren’t working full-time hours.

Firstly, take a look at the Ultimate Outback Ranch package which gives you training as well as access to a host of job contacts across Australia!

The Outback Ranch course is an amazing experience that allows you to learn the ropes of farm work so that you become more attractive to employers looking for station hands.

You learn how to herd livestock, there are riding classes, lassoing and sheep shearing plus much more!

Next, you have a membership for TAW. If you arrive in Australia on one of our Ultimate adventures then you are likely to have a TAW membership included in your costs (check specific packages for more details).

TAW (or Travellers at Work) is an online job agency specifically designed for backpackers. They share an office with us at UltimateOz and are experts at finding work for backpackers in Australia!

Everything with TAW is online so head to the website to check out the jobs list before you become a member – you’ll see that there are lots of jobs all over the country and they are updated each day so make sure you keep checking the site!

Our awesome TAW representative can help you build a successful CV and cover letter and can help guide you on all things regional work (or any kind of work) related. As our site is built for backpackers, many farmers and regional employers use the site regularly to find workers so keep your eyes peeled and get in touch with TAW if you have any, more specific questions!

There is also the Harvest Guide which you can pick up from or UltimateOz shop or download here. The Harvest Guide is a government run job seeking platform which can be of use when finding farm work.

It is a nationwide organisation but can also be used by Australian’s looking for work so you may find it more difficult to find work via the Harvest Guide than the backpacker-driven TAW. Worth a shot though!

Then there are other sites such as Gumtree which can also be used to source work. If you’ve spent time in Australia, you’re probably aware of the negative reviews surrounding Gumtree and these are true to an extent.

Be careful, don’t believe everything you read and try not to be an idiot and you should be fine with Gumtree! I’ve found work using the site and nobody tried to kidnap me while I was doing it so that’s got to be a bonus! Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!!

Word of mouth is probably the best way to find regional work in Australia! Stay in touch with people that are over here, strike up conversations in hostels and see what others have done. The best thing about this is that you’re talking to someone who’s actually worked where you are going and can give you the skinny on the area and the boss!

If you’ve got family or friends (even Facebook friends that you never talk to and are probably on the way out in the next friend cull) get in touch with them and see where they did the regional work! Chances are, if they spent a lot of time there then they either loved the work, the place or the people and the feelings are probably mutual!

If you fancy a more holistic approach to the whole farm work idea and don’t want to be chasing wages WWOOFing is for you.

As a Willing Worker On an Organic Farm, you are not paid for your work but are given room and board in return for your graft. It sounds a bit rubbish but it can be really fun and the people you work with are probably going to be nicer than the average farmer because they know you aren’t getting paid.

To become a WWOOFer, you first need to buy a WWOOF book so come to the UltimateOz office and we can sort you out! The WWOOF book is full of contact details for farmers across Australia and also covers your insurance while you are working on each and every farm mentioned in the book.

Working hostels are probably the most common option for completing regional work and there are good and bad things to consider with these.

Firstly, if you’ve got the name of a working hostel do a quick Google search before you decide anything. If people are going online it is more than likely that they want to moan (no-one is bothered about writing good reviews) so bear that in mind but if there are hundreds of negative comments maybe think twice about going!

Working hostels are a great way to meet backpackers in the same situation as you, looking to get their regional work sorted and get on with their time in Australia and can be fun places to stay whilst completing some pretty boring work.

These hostels organise the work for you with farmers in the area and organise transport and accommodation and take a cut of your weekly wage.

One thing to remember with all aspects of regional work – seasons change. If you are looking at the farm side of regional work then bear in mind that crops come and go and the harvest moves right the way across and around Australia. The Harvest Guide has a great seasonal calendar which gives you an idea on what if going on in each area at what time which can help you stay ahead of the curve when it comes to seasonality.

If you are looking for construction work (the second most popular option) take a look here to book onto a white card course. A white card course gives you the health and safety training that you need to work on any building site in Australia. IF you want to come to the UltimateOZ shop or get in touch with us, we can chat through all the options available.

There are many ways to find farm work for your second year visa. The important thing to remember is that you’ve got to find the work! Don’t sit back and wait for it to come to you, use as many options as you can and get ready for your time in the Outback!

If you are in Australia on a 417 working holiday visa (the majority of European nations) then it is highly likely that you are able to complete 3 months of regional, specified work to gain another 12 month visa to stay in Australia!