All You Need to Know if You Want to Work in Australia

Australia welcomes many new faces every year. Many come purely as tourists. Others come to study, work for an employer on a temporary basis, start a business, migrate permanently and there are those more unfortunate people who arrive as refugees.

Want to Work in Australia

The Australian government has established rules that apply to every type of person who wishes to come to the country. To get a relevant visa – the travel authorisation which allows you to arrive and stay in Australia – you generally have to apply in advance. Because there are so many different categories of visa, it can seem confusing working out firstly which category you belong to and what are the requirements you need to satisfy to gain the visa you need.

This article only covers working in Australia.

There are Two Basic Categories of Australian Work Visa Requirements:

The first is for those who are applying to work temporarily in the country for a specific employer and the second is for those younger people who wish to visit and work at the same time that they are on holiday in the country.

Note that there is no such thing as an Australian work permit or Australian work permit visa. All intending passport holders who are not Australian or New Zealand citizens need a work visa or a working holiday visa.

If you wish to migrate permanently to Australia you will need to consider separately how you can do this. For example, you can apply for permanent residence if you fit the criteria and you can also find out what the Australian business visa requirements are. These are not connected to a work and holiday visa in Australia.

Australian Working Holiday Visa Applications

There are 2 categories of working holiday visas. They are both designed for young people (mostly between 18 and 30) whose main intention is to visit Australia on holiday and work for a temporary period of time while they do so. Which visa category applies to you depends on the passport you hold. Generally, you can only apply and hold a visa of this category once, obey all rules in the country, have enough money to last you while in Australia, demonstrate that you have good character references, have no health problems and agree to pay all relevant taxes while you are in the country. You need to make sure which list you are on before applying for a working holiday visa and be sure to apply early before you make plans for travel to Australia.

Working Holiday Visa Subclass 462

Check the list on the government website, which is easy to use and very informative. There are two subclasses of working holiday visas – 462 and 417. The 417 visa is for people whose countries which may have a mutual working holiday visa arrangement. That means that young Australians may enjoy the same benefits of a working holiday in these countries as much as their young people can enjoy in Australia.

The 462 visa is for many other countries which do not have the same arrangement, yet Australia still allows their young people to come and stay and work or study for short periods in a longer stay of up to 12 months.

A good example of the difference is as follows: A 20 year old American or Chinese person can spend up to 12 months working in Australia subject to the conditions of the 462 visa. A 20 year old French or German person can spend 12 months on holiday and of this time, work for up to 6 months on a 417 visa.

It might seem that the 462 visa is more generous, but in fact, the requirements for getting this visa in the first place are much stricter than for getting the 417 visa. For example, depending on the passport, the applicant may have to hold a tertiary certificate or degree and be able to speak English with reasonable proficiency.

Australian Work Visa Applications

For all other stays in Australia for the purpose of employment, you will need to apply for one or another of the visa categories that permit you to arrive and take up employment. Most of these visas are only granted for the period of time the person is going to work on a temporary work contract. They may or may not allow family members to accompany the main applicant. The granting of the visa is dependent on certain criteria being reached.

Some of these Criteria are Listed Below:


● The applicant must not take a job that can be filled by an Australian
● The applicant must have qualifications or trade certificates which fit the job description
● The applicant must be of good character and not have a criminal record
● The applicant must be in good health
● There may be an English language requirement
● The applicant must agree to obey Australian laws, pay Australian taxes and superannuation and agree to respect ‘Australian values’

As there are several different categories of working visa in Australia, it is best to be very careful when choosing the application that fits your circumstances.

Once an application has been sent and a fee paid, it will be impossible to get the fee reimbursed if there was a mistake. Some people deliberately seek the help of professional migration agencies before they apply for an Australian working visa.

Translation Requirements

There will be a number of documents that you will need to provide to Australian immigration authorities before your visa is processed. These must be either in English or translated into English by a professional translator or translation agency. All documents that have been translated into English must also be accompanied by a certificate signed by the translator to confirm that the translations are an accurate version of the original.