Australian Working Holiday Updates for British Backpackers

Latest Working Holiday (subclass 417) Visa Arrangements for UK Passport Holders​

IT’S OFFICIAL

Australia and the UK have agreed to put in place new arrangements under the Working Holiday Maker (WHM) program and Youth Mobility Scheme within two years of the entry into force of the Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement (Australia-UK FTA). With the new arrangements commence, UK passport holders will be able to:

  • apply for a Working Holiday visa between the ages of 18 and 35 years inclusive
  • be granted up to three Working Holiday visas without having to meet any specified work requirements. This does not include any ‘COVID-19 affected visa’.

New Australian Working Holiday Visa Rules For British Backpackers

Under the new arrangements:

  • From 1 July 2023: UK passport holders can apply for a Working Holiday visa between the ages of 18 and 35 years inclusive.
  • From 1 July 2024: UK passport holders can be granted up to three separate Working Holiday visas without having to meet any specified work requirements.

The new arrangements will apply to all Working Holiday (subclass 417) visa applications for UK passport holders lodged from the date of implementation.

Australian Working Holiday Visa Updates for British Backpackers New Working Holiday visa arrangement for UK Passport Holders in Australia
New Working Holiday visa arrangement for UK Passport Holders in Australia.

Increased eligible age range for UK applicants

The eligible age for UK applicants for Working Holiday (subclass 417) visas is currently 18 to 30 years inclusive.

From 1 July 2023, the upper limit will increase to 35 years. From this date, UK passport holders can lodge an application for any Working Holiday (subclass 417) visa until midnight (Australian Eastern Standard Time) on the day before their 36th birthday.

Increased-eligible-age-range-for-UK-applicants-coming-to-Australia-under-working-holiday-visa-sydney-australia
The eligible age for British backpackers for a Working Holiday (subclass 417) visa is now between 18 to 35.

No more farm work for British Backpackers

Before 1 July 2024 in order to be eligible for a second or third Working Holiday visa extension, working holiday makers (including British backpackers) must show that they have done at least three or six months of ‘specified work’ in Australia’s regional areas.

From 1 July 2024, UK passport holders/British backpackers will no longer have to meet this requirement when applying for a second or third Working Holiday visa on or after this date.

British backpackers will no longer have to do regional work or farm work UK passport holders will no longer have to meet the specified work requirements for WH visa extension
British backpackers will no longer have to do farm work to apply for Australia working holiday visa extension.

Maximum stay of three years in Australia

Working Holiday visa holders can currently stay three years in Australia. This stay consists of three separate visas granted for 12 months each. This excludes any ‘COVID-19 affected visa’ granted at the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. These arrangements will not change.

From 1 July 2024, UK passport holders, including those already granted a subclass 417 visa, who are eligible to apply for a second or third Working Holiday (subclass 417) visa, will not have to meet any specified work requirements when applying for a second and third visa.

UK passport holders can choose to apply for a first, second, and third Working Holiday (subclass 417) visa at any time while they still meet the eligible age requirement. They do not need to stay in Australia for three years in a row. Applicants can lodge applications for second and third Working Holiday (subclass 417) visas in or outside Australia.

UK passport holders can apply for second, and third Working Holiday visa extension without having to do farm work British backpackers can extend working holiday visa for three years
British backpackers can apply for a second or third working holiday visa in Australia without having to do farm work.

If a UK passport holder has already spent one or two years in Australia on a Working Holiday (subclass 417) visa before the new arrangements commence, they can apply for the remaining visa(s) under the new arrangements from 1 July 2024. This will enable access to a maximum of three years in Australia.

Other WHM program settings

All other existing arrangements under the WHM program will continue to apply to UK passport holders.​​

Scenarios for the new arrangements

Example 1: Amanda came to Australia on her first Working Holiday (subclass 417) visa in 2015. She was 25 years old. Amanda returned to the UK in 2016. Amanda is now 32 years old. She cannot apply for another Working Holiday visa as the age limit for applicants is 30 years.

With the new arrangements commencing, Amanda will be able to apply for second and third Working Holiday visas. She can apply from in or outside Australia, up to the age of 35 years. She will not need to meet any specified work requirements.

Example 2: Bridget was in Australia on 20 March 2020 when COVID-19 travel restrictions started. She was on her first Working Holiday visa (a ‘COVID-19 affected visa’). She returned to the UK without completing any specified work. Her visa ceased before 31 December 2021.

She is eligible to apply outside Australia for a new Working Holiday visa with no Visa Application Charge (an ‘offshore nil VAC visa’ ). This will replace her ‘COVID-19 affected visa’. She can carry out three months of specified work on her offshore nil VAC visa. This would make her eligible for a second visa, as the ‘COVID-19 affected visa’ will no longer count towards the maximum of three visas.

Alternatively, with the new arrangements commencing, she will be able to apply for a second and third visa (in addition to the offshore nil VAC visa). She will not need to meet any specified work requirements.

Example 3: Colin was in Australia on 20 March 2020, on his second Working Holiday visa (a ‘COVID-19 affected visa’) when COVID-19 travel restrictions were imposed. Because of the pandemic, he could not complete the six months of specified work required to apply for a third visa. He transitioned to a COVID-19 Pandemic event (subclass 408) visa to remain in Australia.

From 5 March 2022, he is eligible to apply in Australia for a new Working Holiday visa with no Visa Application Charge (an ‘onshore nil VAC visa’). This replaces his ‘COVID-19 affected visa’. He can carry out six months of specified work on his onshore nil VAC visa to become eligible for a third visa. The ‘COVID-19 affected visa’ will no longer count towards the maximum of three visas.

Alternatively, with the new arrangements commencing, he will be able to apply for a third visa (in addition to the onshore nil VAC visa). He will not have to meet any specified work requirements.

Example 4: Doug held a first Working Holiday visa in Australia in 2017. He returned to the UK before the COVID-19 pandemic. If he wishes to apply for another Working Holiday visa before the new arrangements start, he will have to meet the specified work requirements.

With the new arrangements commencing, he will be eligible to apply for second and third Working Holiday visas, up to the age of 35 years. He will not need to meet any specified work requirements. He can apply from in or outside Australia.

Source: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/

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4 thoughts on “Australian Working Holiday Updates for British Backpackers

    • Avatar
      Working Holiday Guide says:

      if he has a British passport and applies for the second-year visa before the 1st July 2024 then he has to complete 88 days of regional work. But if he applies for the visa extension after the 1st of July 2024, then he no longer needs to complete 88 days of regional work.

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