The Government has announced the introduction of reciprocal work and holiday arrangements between Australia and Greece. Under this scheme, 500 places will be made available each year for Australian and Greek citizens to visit each other’s respective countries for work, travel and cultural exchange opportunities.

Under the new arrangements, commencing from 1 July 2019, Greek citizens who are aged between 18 and 30 will be able to apply for a Work and Holiday Subclass 462 visa to Australia.

How long can you visit Australia as a Work and Holiday Visa holder?

As a Work and Holiday visa holder, you will be able to visit Australia for up to 12 months. You will then have the option of applying to extend your Work and Holiday visa for an additional 12 months, provided you have completed at least 3 months (88 calendar days) of specified work in your first year as a Work and Holiday visa holder. To meet this requirement, you will need to have performed specific work tasks in a selected field or industry in a designated regional area of Australia for which you have been remunerated in accordance with Australian workplace requirements.

Changes recently enacted have added the option of applying for a third year Work and Holiday Visa, provided you have completed a minimum of 6 months of specified work in a designated regional area during your second year Work and Holiday Visa, or during the period when you held a Bridging Visa which was in effect and which was granted when you applied for your second year Work and Holiday Visa. To qualify, the additional 6 months’ work must be performed on or after 1 July 2019.

What are the benefits of applying for a Work and Holiday Visa?

As a Work and Holiday visa holder, you could potentially remain in Australia for a total period of up to 3 years, subject to satisfying all eligibility requirements for a first, second and third year Work and Holiday visa. Apart from the added time this allows you to spend travelling around and exploring Australia and the many great things to see and do, if you are thinking about potentially settling in Australia for a more extended period, or even permanently in the future, having this extra time means you can truly experience what it is like to live and work in Australia, so that you can decide whether this is an option that you would like to pursue.

There is another benefit, and that is you can use the time on your Work and Holiday visa to prepare and qualify for a further visa down the track, such as an employer sponsored Temporary Skill Shortage (subclass 482) visa. To be eligible for this temporary residence visa, you will generally need to have a minimum of 2 years skilled employment experience in a skilled nominated occupation.  You could use the time on your Work and Holiday Visa to gain this work experience (subject to prescribed work limitations that apply to the Work and Holiday Visa, as discussed below).

Or, you may consider applying for a Skilled (Independent) or Skilled (State Sponsored) Visa, which are both points-based permanent residence visas for which you can gain additional points by gaining Australian skilled work experience whilst you hold a Work and Holiday visa.

Additionally, to receive nomination approval for State Sponsorship, a minimum period of residence in a specified State or Territory in Australia may be required. As a Work and Holiday Visa holder, you will be unrestricted in where you can reside in Australia and you can therefore settle for the minimum period required in the relevant State or Territory where you intend to apply for State Sponsorship in the future.

What are the key criteria for grant of a Work and Holiday Visa?

To qualify for a Work and Holiday Visa, you will need to:

  • Be a genuine visitor with your principal purpose being to spend a holiday in Australia;
  • Have enough funds for your travel fare to depart Australia and to support yourself during your stay in Australia (approximately $5,000);
  • Have a good immigration history;
  • Not have previously entered Australia on a Working Holiday subclass 417 visa or a Work and Holiday Subclass 462 visa (if you are applying for your first year);
  • Have complied substantially with the conditions of your previous Work and Holiday Visa (if you are applying for your second or third year);
  • Either hold, or be studying towards tertiary qualifications;
  • Have Functional English;
  • Provide a letter of support from an approved nominated agency if you are applying for your first year (further details are yet to be released by the Government); and
  • Meet health and character requirements.

What does the Work and Holiday Visa allow you to do?

As a Work and Holiday Visa holder, you can work for the same employer for up to 6 months on each Work and Holiday Visa (this restriction can be waived in limited circumstances). Changes recently announced extend this maximum period to 12 months if you perform agricultural work (plant and animal cultivation) for an agricultural employer.

You can also travel to and from Australia on an unrestricted basis and undertake study for up for 4 months on each Work and Holiday Visa.

For up to date advice on your eligibility for a Work and Holiday Visa, book your confidential consultation with a migration agent in Adelaide. PAX Migration Australia is a leading immigration advice service based in Adelaide, and we aren’t expensive! Just ask us!