Working Holidaymakers can now stay in Australia for a third year!
03 Apr 2019

There’s good news for prospective Aussie Backpackers.

The Australian Government has announced a number of changes to the Working Holidaymaker (WHM) program – the most significant of which allows Backpackers to extend their life down under into a third year.

From July 2019, travellers can now stay in Australia for three years if they complete at least six months of rural agricultural work.

The motivation behind the amendments is to boost farms and businesses in regional Australia who are constantly on the lookout for Working Holidaymakers to fill their job vacancies.

The changes in a nutshell

The Australian Government wants to encourage Working Holidaymakers to stay working in regional Australia for longer in order to support these rural communities. 

Changes introduced to the WHM Program include: 

  • Third year down under: Working Holidaymakers in their second year in Australia on a subclass 417 or 462 visa who, after 1 July 2019, undertake six months of agricultural work in a specified regional area now have the option of spending a third year down under

  • Expansion of regional areas: In order to qualify for a second-year in Australia, subclass 462 visa holders must work in agricultural roles (plant and animal cultivation) in regional areas of the country. The Government has expanded the areas of Australia which are considered ‘regional’. Previously, only areas in Northern Australia were considered eligible for this type of work

  • Remain with an employer for 12 months: Subclass 417 and 462 visa holders can now stay with the same agricultural (plant and animal cultivation) employer for 12 months. Previously Backpackers could only stay with these regional employers for a maximum of six months

  • Increase in number of visas issued: The annual visa caps for a number of countries that participate in the subclass 462 visa program are increasing

  • Raise in maximum age: The maximum eligibility age for subclass 417 visa applicants from Canada and Ireland is increasing from 30 to 35   



A new and improved Working Holidaymaker (WHM) program!

The announced changes to the Working Holidaymaker (WHM) program will potentially benefit both Backpackers and Australian businesses.

The changes aim to increase the number of Working Holiday Makers available for seasonal work needs and the availability of the additional year will no doubt encourage Working Holidaymakers to work for longer in regional Australia.

Employers in regional Australia will now be able to retain trained and experienced employees doing agricultural (plant and animal cultivation) work for up to 12-months, rather than the previous six month limit.


‘Plant and animal cultivation’ includes…

Plant and animal cultivation includes most agricultural work, such as:

  • the harvesting and/or packing of fruit and vegetable crops
  • pruning and trimming vines and trees
  • general maintenance crop work
  • cultivating or propagating plants, fungi or their products or parts
  • immediate processing of plant products
  • maintaining animals for the purpose of selling them or their bodily produce
  • immediate processing of animal products including shearing, butchery, packing and tanning
  • manufacturing dairy produce from raw material


What additional parts of regional Australia are included in the expansion?

The below areas are now considered ‘regional’ and agriculture work under taken here will be considered eligible in your third year visa application.

Regional areas in:

  • New South Wales
  • Queensland
  • Victoria
  • Western Australia 


All of:

  • Northern Territory
  • South Australia
  • Tasmania 

What’s the best way to apply for an Australian Working Holiday Visa?

If you want to move to Australia for a Working Holiday, Visa First can help you!

We offer a complete Australian Working Holiday Migration service.

Not only will we help you land your Working Holiday Visa (we have a visa approval success rate of 99.7% by the way!), we can also provide you with everything you need for your life in Australia.

Before you leave home, we can help you set up your Australian bank account and SIM card. Then when you arrive down under, we’ll collect you at the airport and provide you with accommodation and orientation.

We can even boost your chances of securing a job quickly after you arrive – you’ll have access to training courses and hundreds of backpacker vacancies each week!

Finally, we can help you to claim your tax refund at the end of your time in Oz!


Apply for your Working Holiday Visa the easy way here

Author: Visa First