Backpackers Working Holiday Visas (Class 417)

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A person holding a Working Holiday visa (class 417) is generally referred to as a backpacker. He (or she) is legally entitled to work during his holiday in Australia. He is entitled to remain in Australia for 12 months, work for half of that time but must not stay at any one job for more than three months. He must be under the age of 30. Australia has reciprocal Working Holiday visa arrangements with UK, Ireland, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Germany, Malta, Cyprus, Japan, Hong Kong and Korea. Negotiations are afoot to extend the Working Holiday arrangements to many other countries on a reciprocal basis.

A backpacker can also apply for other temporary work visas or even a permanent visa while in Australia provided, of course, that he otherwise qualifies. The most popular visas applied for by backpackers whilst in Australia are a) permanent residency visas (class 136 ) and b) employer-sponsored temporary work visas. If a backpacker applies for a permanent visa, then in judging his eligibility, he will be awarded extra points for having spent time on a working holiday in Australia. A backpacker who applies for permanent residence will stand a strong chance of obtaining it if a) he has professional or trade qualifications, b) he has some years work experience in his profession or trade and c) he speaks fluent English.

Further information regarding obtaining permanent and temporary visas can be obtained at the Immigration Department's website. Applications can be made online.

(Source: Patrick J. Kissane)

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