Got questions about working & travelling in Australia? we’ve got answers!
Do I need a visa to work in Australia? If so, how much does it cost and how do I get it?
Australia has arrangements with 20 countries where passport holders from those 20 countries can get an ‘Australian Working Holiday Visa’. This is a special visa for 18 – 31 year olds that allows entry into Australia for 1 year (extendable to 2 years) and allows the holder to work with a limitation of 6 months in any one job.
For more information on visas and how to get them, see the Visa section of this website.
Do I need a physical visa sticker in my passport?
No. Your visa is linked to your passport electronically when your application is processed. This means you do not need anything physical in your passport. However, you can obtain a visa sticker if you are travelling through Sydney airport. If not, you can obtain a sticker at any Australian Immigration Office located in all Australian cities.
Some people do this so that they can prove to suspicious employers that they actually have a visa, however there is now a hotline which employers can use to check visa status if they have any doubts.
What about 'Sufficient Funds?' How much money do I need to enter Australia on the Working Holiday Visa?
When you go through immigration into Australia you may be asked to prove that you have ‘Sufficient Funds’. This refers to having enough money to live on until you find work. There is no set rule here and the immigration officer is able to assess each person on a case by case basis. It is well known that AU$5,000 is definitely considered Sufficient Funds, however unofficially they will accept less.
With this in mind, we believe any amount less than $3,000 could be risky. If you are travelling on a one-way ticket, you may have to prove that you have enough money for a return or onward ticket on top of this.
To prove sufficient funds, take documents with you that may include: recent credit card statement (showing credit limit), bank balance or other document showing you have access to Sufficient Funds. These documents can be from your home bank or from your Australian bank.
Should I get a one-way or return flight?
If you know exactly when you are going to return home from Australia it makes sense to buy a return ticket because it is invariably cheaper than buying 2 separate one-way tickets.
If you do not know exactly when you are going to return, consider getting an ‘open return’ ticket. This means you buy a return ticket with a return date that can be altered sometime in the future for no extra cost. This gives you a lot more flexibility for deciding when to return.
Do I need to book accommodation in advance?
We recommend you do! At various times of year, hostels and backpackers can get very full. We have heard countless stories of backpackers having to pay top dollar to stay in a hotel for lack of anything cheaper available!
Should I transfer some money to Australia before I leave home?
This is a good idea for two reasons. Firstly, you will get a good exchange rate by sending your money through the bank at the bank rate. This rate will be better than the rate you would get exchanging it at the airport for example.
Secondly, you will have Australian money ready to use as soon as you arrive. You will not have to use a foreign credit card and pay fees while you arrange for money to be transferred and wait for it to clear…this all would have been done in advance.
Is it easy to get around in Australia?
Australia is very spread out. Public transport such as buses, trains and trams do exist and are quite easy to use in the main cities. However if you wish to travel to another city, you will usually find that flying is the best option (Australia is huge!)
What kind of jobs do working holiday makers get and how do you get them?
Working Holiday Makers will usually get seasonal jobs on farms such as fruit picking (no experience required) or hospitality jobs such as waitering and bar work which usually require some experience.
You will not normally find employment in a professional field because you are a working holiday maker and only allowed to work for one employer for 6 months maximum (see the Visa section for more).
Jobs for working holiday makers will be advertised on hostel noticeboards, online and in the local papers. Go Workabout can help you arrange work in advance, visit our Job Page to view out current job opportunities.
Is it essential to get a Tax File Number (TFN)?
The short answer is definitely. You will need a TFN within 28 days of starting work or else you will pay around 48% tax on your pay. With a TFN, your pay will be taxed at a normal rate somewhere between 15% and 29%. See the Tax File Number section if you’d like Go Workabout to help arrange this for you.
What is Superannuation?
Employers in Australia generally have to pay a compulsory 9% superannuation contribution. This means that an additional 9% of your before tax pay must be paid into a superannuation fund.
This is the Australian version of the pension or retirement saving. It basically forces Australians to save 9% of their gross earnings over their lives; they can then access this money when they retire. As a non-resident, you can claim this money back from the government when you leave Australia.
How do I get my tax back?
When you work in Australia, employers are required to deduct tax from your pay. You can often end up paying too much tax because of the way this system works. You can claim any of this extra tax back when you do your Tax Return. These can be done at the end of Financial Year (July), or when you have finished working, or even after you have left Australia.
What about insurance?
All employers in Australia must provide ‘Workers Compensation Insurance’ for their employees. This insurance covers workers for work related accidents, only while you are at work. It does not replace regular travel insurance, which covers you for accidents outside of work. We recommend you purchase travel insurance. Generally travel insurance must be purchased from your home country.
Will I get bitten by snakes and spiders in Australia?
The majority of people who visit Australia survive several spider bites and maybe even a snake bite – shark bites are one to try and avoid… But seriously, this is not worthy of much concern. Consider yourself lucky if you encounter these things!
Will my phone work in Australia?
Yes – as long as it is not locked to a network from your home country. If so, remember to get it unlocked before you leave (some American phones will not work in Australia).
Do Australian’s really ride Kangaroos?
No, no and no. This is a complete myth. Whilst you may be lucky enough to see Kangaroos in the wild during regional stays they are otherwise confound to Zoos and Nature Parks. There are some places that will allow you to feed and touch the Kangaroos but you should under no circumstances approach a Kangaroo in the wild – they kick!
What’s the weather like?
Australia has the best and most diverse weather in the world. Winters are hot compared to European winters with most days still around 17-20 degrees Celsius. Summers can get very hot with a few days over the 40 degree mark. Once you get to around March the days will still be hot but nights will start getting very cold so make sure you pack some warm clothes!
Any further questions?
We are also more than happy to answer all your other questions before, during and after your trip – after all we live and breathe this stuff and literally have all the answers.