Australia working holiday visa changes

Top 3 Working Holiday Visa Changes for UK Passport holders

Working Holiday Visa Changes from 1 July 2023

On the 31st of May 2023, the Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement (A-UKFTA) commenced, delivering tremendous working holiday visa changes to Australia’s Working Holiday (subclass 417) Visa program.

The A-UKFTA is set to boost Australia’s trade with the UK. It will not only bring export opportunities in the agribusiness and food sector, particularly for wine and beef but also other sectors and goods.

These include advanced manufacturing (aircraft and spacecraft), health (orthopaedics) and consumer goods such as cosmetics The agreement will also reduce duties on Australia’s imports.

From an immigration perspective, the new agreement eliminates the specified work requirement for UK passport holders in addition to the  age limit increase.

As a result of the free trade agreement, UK passport holders are able to:

  • apply for a Working Holiday visa between the ages of 18 and 35 years inclusive
  • be granted up to three Working Holiday visas without having to meet any specified work requirements.

Working Holiday Visa Changes – 1. New Upper Age Limit 

Prior to the Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement (A-UKFTA) agreement, UK passport holders who wanted to travel to Australia on a working holiday visa (subclass 417) had to be between the ages of 18 and 30, inclusive.

From the 1st of July 2023, the upper age limit will be increased to 35 years. As a result, individuals with UK passports will be able to apply for a Working Holiday visa up until the day before they turn 36. This increase is one of the major working holiday visa changes.

Working Holiday Visa Changes – 2. No ‘Specified Work’ Experience 

In order to qualify for a second or third Working Holiday (subclass 417) visa, UK passport holders were required to provide proof that they have completed at least three or a half year of ‘specified work’ experience.

From 1 July 2024, UK passport holders will not be expected to meet this criteria when applying for a second or third Working Holiday (subclass 417) visa. This change will apply to all working holiday visa applications made on or after 1 July 2024.

Working Holiday Visa Changes – 3. Maximum stay of three years

Prior to the Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement (A-UKFTA) coming into effect, Working Holiday (subclass 417) visa holders could spend up to three years in Australia, however the stay was partitioned into three separate 417 visas, each visa valid for 12 months. This excludes any ‘COVID-19 affected visa’ granted at the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

From 1 July 2024, UK passport holders who still meet the age prerequisite can apply for a first, second, or third Working Holiday visa (subclass 417) whenever and they are not expected to remain in Australia for three  years in a row.

Moreover, 417 visa holders can apply for the second and third Working Holiday visa (subclass 417) from either inside or outside Australia.

UK citizens who have previously spent one or two years in Australia on a Working Holiday (subclass 417) visa may apply for the remaining visa(s) from July 1, 2024, as a result of these working holiday visa changes. This will allow them to continue their stay in Australia for a total of three years.

Working Holiday Visa Changes – Dual Benefit

The A-UKFTA represents new opportunities for UK nationals seeking to apply for Australia’s Working Holiday (subclass 417) visa and for Australian nationals applying under the UK’s Youth Mobility Scheme. For both groups, the maximum eligible age has been increased to 35 from 30 and the maximum length of the visa has been extended to three years for all applicants.

Condition 8547 Reminder – Six months Work Limitation 

It is important to remember that the 6-month work limitation (condition 8547) will reimpose from 1 July 2023.  Fortunately, any work that is carried out before 1 July 2023 will not be counted towards the 6-month work limitation period.

Common questions about the Working Holiday (subclass 417) Visa

Did you know that an ETA Visa does not cease a Working Holiday (subclass 417) Visa? 

The grant of a subclass 601 Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) does not cease a subclass 417 visa. The person holds both visas simultaneously, and the Working Holiday visa is still in effect. As the ETA does not come into effect until WHV 417 visa ceases, a person who arrives in Australia holding both ETA and WHV visa will enter using the Working Holiday Visa.

Does my 1st Working Holiday Visa count if I do not use it to enter Australia? 

No, it doesn’t count. If a person is granted a Working Holiday visa but does not enter Australia within the validity of the travel component of the visa (12 months from date of grant), they are able to apply and be granted another visa, as long as they continue to meet the visa criteria. The initial visa is not counted if it was not used to enter Australia.

Meaning of 3 months 

From an immigration perspective, three months is taken to mean 88 days. One full day of work is defined as having worked the minimum number of hours considered a standard day by the particular industry in which the applicant is employed.

As a rule, working week is 35 to 40 hours, comprising 7 to 8 hours of work each day.

If the applicant is employed by more than one employer at the same time, they may only count each calendar day of work completed once towards their 88 day specified work requirement.

The shortest period that may be counted towards the specified work requirement is 1 day of full time work (for that industry). Applicants cannot count a long day of work as more than one day of specified work.

For example, if the industry’s standard day is 6 hours long, working a 12 hour day does not count as two days of specified work.

Contact your Australian Immigration Specialist 

Visa Lounge Team of Australian Immigration Specialists can answer any questions you may have regarding the new working holiday visa changes, temporary or permanent employer-sponsored visas, immigration compliance. Send us your immigration inquiry now.



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