How to Calculate 88 Days of Regional Work in Australia For Your Second Year Visa

Ultimate Guide to Calculate 88 Days of Regional Work in Australia How to Calculate 88 Days of Regional Work in Australia

Let’s just be honest from the outset here, we want the visa but we don’t really want to do the work do we? Well, the specified work required for the 2nd year anyway.

If you want to stay in Australia for another year, you have the option to apply for a Second Year Visa and even a third-year visa. Prerequisite: You must have completed 3 months or 88 days of specified work in a rural area in Australia for a second year and 6 months for the third year. How you calculate these days for your second and third-year visa in Australia is a bit complicated, but this article will surely shed light on the matter.

Requirements for the 2nd Working Holiday Visa

The same as when applying for your 1st Working Holiday Visa, you have to meet the following requirements when applying for the Second Year Visa.
When applying, you must:

  • Be between 18 and 30 years old (you can apply until your 31st birthday or 35th if you are an Irish, French or Canadian citizen).
  • You must have a valid passport
  • You must have worked for 3 months or 88 days in a specific job in a rural area.

Regional Work Exemption For UK Passport Holders

Australia and the UK have agreed to put in place new arrangements under the Working Holiday Maker program. When 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.

The Australia-UK FTA has not yet entered into force.

Read more here: British Backpackers Won’t Have To Do 88 Days of Farm Work In Australia

How to calculate 88 days of farmwork in Australia correctly

The Australian government has implemented some rules regarding the 88 days of work. Three months is taken to mean a period equivalent to the 3 shortest ‘calendar’ months of the year. This is a minimum period of 88 calendar days, including weekends or rest days during your period of employment. You can either work :

  • in one block with the same employer OR
  • several blocks for one or more employers. The different periods of work can be performed in different kinds of specified work and different industries. For example, you can work as a harvest helper in the Northern Territory for one month and as a miner in Tasmania for two months. You are free to spread the work over the stay period of your WHV visa.

You can complete the 3 months or 6 months requirement in a variety of ways:

  • working multiple short periods of work in full-time, part-time or on a piecework rate, which adds up to the equivalent of 5 days a week over 3 months
  • working 5 days a week for a continuous period of 3 months (including piecework rate agreement)
  • working less than 5 days a week over a period longer than 3 months

Number of hours

A day’s work: One single day of work is considered to be the normal number of hours per day that is considered standard practice in the industry in which you are employed. In Australia, these are usually 35 to 40 hours a week and 7 to 8 hours a day.

For a full day to be accounted you must work 7 or 8 hours depending on the industry. Public holidays and sick days can be counted as a day of specified work if you are paid for that day.

You cannot count work carried out on any one calendar day as more than one day of specified work. For example, if the industry’s standard day is 5 hours, working 10 hours on one day cannot be counted as 2 days of specified work.

If you are working on Piece Rate (make sure it is written in your contract), there are no minimum hours needed to work to count a day.

Contract type

In general, it doesn’t matter whether you are a casual, full-time or part-time employee. The important thing is that you don’t work below the industry standard. For example, if you work two weeks on and two weeks off, you can count the full four weeks (28 days). But only if this is common in the industry (e.g. in mining, nursing etc).

In general, weekends are included when you work 5 days a week. If you work for several employers on the same day, only one day counts.

What about the salary?

Some applications for a second visa were refused because the government considered that the worker had been underpaid. So remember to check that you are paid the legal minimum wage.

Minimum wages for all jobs in Australia are set by collective agreements (awards). They can vary depending on your age and the type of contract under which you are employed (full-time, part-time or casual). Casual workers must be affected more than permanent employees (15 to 25% depending on the collective agreement).

To know the legal minimum wage to which you are entitled, it is important to know the professional sector on which you depend. Indeed, the minimum wage varies from job to job because it is set by collective agreements. For example, if you work in horticulture, you will depend on the Horticulture Award. On the contrary, if you work on a construction site, it will be the “Building and Construction General On-site Award”.

The national minimum wage has been set at $21.38 per hour since July 2022 (before tax). This represents $812.60 per week.

For pieceworkers and under the Horticulture Award, a full-time/part-time employee must earn at least $23.38 per hour. For a casual worker, the minimum is $29.22 per hour.

Eligible Jobs For A Second And Third-Year Visa

There are several jobs you can do to count towards your second visa. Industries differ depending on your visa type (417 and 462).

For 417 visa holders

Industries approved for specified work:

  • plant and animal cultivation
  • fishing and pearling
  • tree farming and felling
  • mining
  • construction
  • bushfire recovery work in declared bushfire-affected areas only, after 31 July 2019
  • Critical COVID-19 work in the healthcare and medical sectors, after 31 January 2020
  • Tourism and hospitality in northern, remote or very remote Australia only (from 22 June 2021)

Read the full list here: Eligible Jobs For A Second And Third-Year Visa Subclass 417 in Australia

For 462 visa holders

Approved industries and areas for specified work:

  • plant and animal cultivation in northern Australia and other specified areas of regional Australia
  • fishing and pearling in northern Australia only
  • tree farming and felling in northern Australia only
  • tourism and hospitality in northern Australia only
  • construction in northern Australia and other specified areas of regional Australia
  • bushfire recovery work in declared bushfire-affected areas only, after 31 July 2019
  • Critical COVID-19 work in the healthcare and medical sectors, after 31 January 2020
  • Tourism and hospitality in northern, remote or very remote Australia only (from 22 June 2021)

Read the full list here: Eligible Jobs For A Second And Third Year Visa Subclass 462 in Australia

Sick leave, accidents, weather

In the case of illness or an accident, the missed days are still counted. Provided that it was agreed on in advance that sick leave will be paid. In these cases, the employer has to provide evidence.

If employees are unable to work and are not paid due to illness, an accident or weather-related circumstances (such as a storm during harvest), the days are not counted.

EXAMPLES How to calculate 88 days for your second-year visa

Examples where the requirements for a 2nd working holiday visa are met:

Work during the week
Employment: 3 months on a farm
Working time: 5 days a week
Standard in the industry: 5 days a week
Calculated working time: In this case, the days are counted for the weekend, so 7 days a week
Shift work
Employment: 3 months
Working time: Every fortnight
Standard in the industry: irregular working hours, e.g. 1 week of work, 1 week off
Calculated working time: 3 months
In case of Illness
Employment: 3 months full-time
Paid sick leave
Calculated working time: 3 months
Different employers
Employment: 60 days as a harvest helper, 28 days as a construction worker
Calculated working time: 88 days

Examples where the requirements for a 2nd working holiday visa are NOT met:

Work during the week
Employment: 3 months on a farm
Working time: 4 days a week
Standard in the industry: 5 days a week
Calculated working time: In this case, the days of the weekends are not counted, instead of 7 days a week, you only get 4 days per week.

Employment when you are on another visa
You can only apply for the Second Year Visa if you have a Working Holiday Visa. For example, if you work for 3 months on a farm on a student visa, you will not be able to stay in Australia for another year.

Seasonal circumstances
If you’ve worked on a farm on a number of occasions, accumulated 80 days and you can’t work for another 8 days due to inclement weather before your Working Holiday Visa expires, you can’t apply for a 2nd Working Holiday visa.

Conclusion

Firstly, remember to check that the job and the geographical area are eligible. Be sure to check your status when you sign your Tax File Number Declaration when starting a new job (full-time/part-time/ casual) as this will affect your day count. If you are employed on a “casual” basis, we advise you to count only the days actually worked in order to be completely sure that you have completed your specified work.
If you do your 88 days in several instalments, be sure to keep a count of your days so you don’t have any bad surprises.

Each case is unique, so the decision will always depend on the goodwill of an immigration officer.

Remember to keep all documents proving your work (payslips, photos, bank statements, etc.).

Minimal wage

In order for your second WHV application to be approved, it is important to know that you must be paid the national minimum wage currently set at $21.38 per hour (before tax). This represents $812.60 per week.

If you are a pieceworker in the agriculture industry, know that since 28 April 2022, workers paid a piece rate will be guaranteed a minimum hourly wage. Under the Horticulture Award, a full-time/part-time employee must earn at least $23.38 per hour. For a casual worker, the minimum is $29.22 per hour.

Apply for a third-year Working Holiday Visa in Australia

Since July 2019 it is possible to do the third year of WHV in Australia!

For this, it is necessary to perform 6 months of specified work in regional areas while being on your second WHV (417 or 462). The types of jobs and eligible regional areas are the same as for the second visa.

Also read: The Ultimate Guide to Working Holiday in Australia – Step-by-Step Guide

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