Working holiday visas to Australia – Backpackers given green light to help with 2019-20 bushfire recovery

Published: 17-03-2020

Author

Julie

On February 17, 2020, the Australian government relaxed rules for Working Holiday (subclass 417) and Work and Holiday Maker (subclass 462) visa holders to move forward with bushfire recovery efforts.

The new rules aim at encouraging WHV holders to support recovery efforts in Australia and get backpackers back into fire-affected regions.

Just a quick reminder, there are two kinds of WHV in Australia--the Working Holiday (subclass 417) and the Work and Holiday Maker (subclass 462). Each of them has its own set of eligibility requirements and conditions. You should check what applies to your country of citizenship.

Three major announcements were made. Read on! They may increase your eligibility for a second or third WHV, plus you’d be helping Australia.

If you’re assisting with bushfire recovery efforts, you can now work for the same employer for up to 12 months (vs. for up to six months)

With a few exceptions, conditions of your visa limit you to a maximum period of six months’ work with any one employer. On February 17, 2020, the Government of Australia changed the policy to include bushfire recovery efforts.

Therefore, if it applies to you, you don’t need to ask permission to work longer than six months for the same employer.

This information was added to the Working Holiday visa (subclass 417) and to the Work and Holiday Maker (subclass 462) pages under “6-month work limitation”:

limitation-6-mois-meme-employeur-australie

Paid and volunteer disaster recovery work in declared areas impacted in the recent bushfires now counts towards the “specified work” needed to apply for a second or third year 417 or 462 visa

You can apply for a second or third WHV to Australia if you have completed 3 months of “specified work” on your first or second WHV.

For Working Holiday (subclass 417) visa holders, “specified work” must have been completed outside major urban centres like Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth. For Work and Holiday Maker (subclass 462) visa holders, work must be undertaken in various areas of northern Australia only.

As of December 1, 2015, all “specified work” must be paid—volunteering no longer counts towards eligibility for a second or third WHV.

However, as of February 17, 2020, the Government of Australia added that voluntary work can be included as specified work for the purpose of applying for a second or third Work and Holiday visa where it is related to bushfire recovery efforts.

In a joint media release, the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs and the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment declared:

Paid and volunteer disaster recovery work in declared areas impacted in the recent bushfires will count towards the ‘specified work’ needed to apply for a second or third year 417 or 462 visa.

The definition of “specified work” now includes construction work in a disaster area for Work and Holiday (subclass 462) visa holders

Previously, construction work wasn’t included in “specified work” for Work and Holiday visa holders. It is now captured if construction work is done in disaster areas.

Note that disaster areas also include regions that were previously excluded from the designated, eligible regional areas of Australia, like Sydney.

A closer look at “disaster areas” and “assisting with bushfire recovery”

The Government of Australia updated its website on March 6, 2020, to give more info about “specified work” and eligible regions.

Here is the list of designated postcodes where you can complete eligible bushfire recovery work:

Victoria :
3159, 3213, 3218, 3272-3287, 3289, 3292-3294, 3300-3305, 3309-3312, 3314-3315, 3317, 3328, 3330-3333, 3342, 3350-3352, 3355-3357, 3360, 3363-3364, 3373-3375, 3377-3381, 3384, 3387-3388, 3407, 3444, 3453, 3467-3469, 3515-3516, 3550, 3555-3357, 3570, 3607-3608, 3665, 3677, 3682, 3687, 3690, 3691, 3694, 3697-3699, 3700-3701, 2704-3705, 3707-3709, 3713, 3715, 2720, 3722, 3732-3733, 3735, 3737-3741, 3744, 3781-3783, 3807-3810, 3812-3816, 3818, 3820-3825, 3831-3833, 3835, 3840, 3842, 3844, 3847, 3850-3852, 3854, 3856-3860, 3862, 3864- 3865, 3869-3871, 3873-3875, 3878, 3880, 3882, 3885-3893, 3895-3896, 3898, 3900, 3902,3904, 3909, 3950, 3953, 3971, 3978, 3980-3981, 3987-3988

New South Wales :
2069-2075, 2083, 2224-2228, 2230-2234, 2250-2251, 2256-2257, 2259-2260, 2264-2265, 2267, 2278, 2280-2287, 2289-2290, 2305-2306, 2312, 2320-2331, 2333-2337, 2344-2347, 2350-2356, 2358, 2361, 2365, 2370-2372, 2386, 2390, 2399-2404, 2408-2411, 2415, 2422-2431, 2439-2441, 2443-2450, 2452, 2452-2456, 2460, 2462-2466, 2469-2490, 2536-2541, 2545-2546, 2548-2551, 2568-2569, 2571-2581, 2611, 2623, 2625, 2627-2628, 2630-2633, 2642, 2644, 2649, 2650, 2653, 2658-2660, 2720, 2730, 2748-2750, 2752-2755, 2757-2759, 2773-2774, 2776-2780, 2782-2786, 2790, 2844-2849, 2852, 3707, 4375, 4377, 4380, 4383, 4385

South Australia :
5062, 5072-5073, 5076, 5110, 5112-5114, 5117, 5020-5131-5134, 5136-5142, 5144, 5151-5157, 5220-5223, 5231-5237, 5240-5245, 5250-5245, 5260-5261, 5264-5266, 5271, 5273, 5275, 5301-5303, 5321, 5351, 5576-5577, 5581, 5605-5606, 5630-5632

Queensland :
4157-4161, 4163-4165, 4183-4184, 4208-4211, 4212-4218, 4220-4230, 4271-4272, 4275, 4287, 4300-4301, 4303-4307, 4309-4313, 4340-4341, 4342-4344, 4345-4347, 4350, 4352-4356, 4358-4363, 4365, 4370-4378, 4380-4383, 4400-4404, 4407, 4570, 4580-4581, 4515, 4517-4519, 4550-4551, 4553-4569, 4571-4575, 4600-4601, 4614-4615, 4630, 4563, 4670-4671, 4673, 4674, 4676-4678, 4680, 4694-4695, 4697, 4701, 4703-4604, 4706, 4710, 4711

Tasmania :
7027, 7119, 7140, 7213-7216, 7264, 7304

Australian Capital Territory: all of ACT.

We created this useful map based on designated postcodes (in blue) so that you can visualize the info:

Here are the official definitions of “assisting bush recovery efforts” and “disaster recovery work”:

  • "Construction, farming, or any other work in association with recovery or restitution of land, property, farm animals or wildlife" : construction, travaux de ferme ou tout autre travail en lien avec la restauration/reconstruction des terres, des propriétés, des animaux de la ferme et de la faune.
  • Providing support services or assistance to people living, working or volunteering in the affected areas : aide aux personnes qui vivent, travaillent et sont en bénévolat dans les régions affectées.

Here are three examples of eligible specified work:

  • "Re-building fences destroyed in a bushfire affected community" : reconstruction de clôtures détruites par les incendies et qui ont impacté la population.
  • Caring for wildlife in a bushfire affected community : prendre soin de la faune dans les zones touchées par les incendies.
  • Support work for volunteer organisations assisting victims of bushfires : soutenir les organisations venant en aide aux victimes des incendies.

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