Working in Australia - six months with one employer

If you hold a Working Holiday (subclass 417) or Work and Holiday (subclass 462) visa, the main purpose of your visit must be for an extended holiday. You can do any kind of work over the course of your 12 month stay in Australia, however the conditions of your visa limit you to a maximum period of six months work with any one employer, unless you've been given permission by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to work longer.

Meaning of 'one employer'

The 'employer' is the business or organisation for which you are working directly.

If you are referred by an agency or labour supplier to a business, you can work for six months for that business. The same agency or labour supplier can refer you to another business where you can work for another six months. You cannot stay in the same position with an employer for more than six months by using different employment agencies, business affiliates or sub-contracting arrangements.

The six month work limitation applies to full-time, part-time, casual, shift and voluntary work.

Workplace-based training is considered to be work. You are able to undertake workplace-based training with the same employer for up to six months.

Applying for permission to work beyond six months with one employer

If you wish to apply for permission to work longer than six months with an employer, you should use Form 1445 Request permission to work with an employer beyond 6 months on a Working Holiday or Work and Holiday visa (336KB PDF).

Permission to work longer than six months with an employer is only granted in limited circumstances.

There are certain industries where you can be given an employment extension, detailed below. If you are working in one of these industries and wish to work for longer than six months you must apply to the Department for an employment extension – if you work beyond six months without permission you are in breach of your visa conditions.

An employment extension will otherwise only be given in exceptional circumstances. Details on exceptional circumstances and the information you should provide are in Form 1445 Request permission to work with an employer beyond 6 months on a Working Holiday or Work and Holiday visa (336KB PDF).

There is no fee to apply for an employment extension.

Au pairs

From 21 July 2015, permission to work longer than six months with an employer may be given where a Working Holiday (subclass 417) or Work and Holiday (subclass 462) visa holder has been employed as an au pair with a family and is seeking to continue that employment for a further period.

To be considered an au pair, your primary responsibility must be the care of a family's children, rather than any domestic work. The youngest child being cared for should not be older than 12 years of age (that is, primary school age or younger).

You can work as an au pair in any part of Australia.

Certain industries in northern Australia

From 21 November 2015, you may be eligible for an employment extension to work beyond six months with one employer if you work in certain industries in Northern Australia.

Aged and Disability Care

The following work activities are eligible:

  • Aged Care Residential Services
  • Disabilities assistance services
  • Aged care assistance services
  • Aged or disabled carer

Agriculture

The following work activities are eligible:

  • plant and animal cultivation
    • the harvesting and/or packing of fruit and vegetable crops
    • pruning and trimming vines and trees
      Note: This must be the applicants primary employment task and directly associated with the cultivation and commercial sale of plant produce, such as fruit and nut crops (commercial horticultural activities). General garden maintenance is not eligible.
    • 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, including natural increase
    • immediate processing of animal products including shearing, butchery, packing and tanning
      Note: Secondary processing of animal products, such as small goods processing and retail butchery is not eligible.
      manufacturing dairy produce from raw material.
  • fishing and pearling
    • conducting operations relating directly to taking or catching fish and other aquatic species
    • conducting operations relating directly to taking or culturing pearls or pearl shell.
  • tree farming and felling
    • planting or tending trees in a plantation or forest that are intended to be felled
    • felling trees in a plantation or forest
    • transporting trees or parts of trees that were felled in a plantation or forest to the place where they are first to be milled or processed or from which they are to be transported to the place where they are to be milled or processed.

Construction

The following work activities are eligible:

  • residential building construction
  • non-residential building construction
  • heavy and civil engineering construction
  • land development and site preparation services
  • building structure services
  • building installation services
  • building completion services
  • other construction services.

Mining

The following work activities are eligible:

  • coal mining
  • oil and gas extraction
  • metal ore mining
  • construction material mining
  • non-metallic mineral mining and quarrying exploration
  • mining support services.

Tourism and Hospitality

The following work activities are eligible:

  • work in a range of positions where the primary purpose is to directly provide a service to tourists, including tourist guides and operators, outdoor adventure or activity instructors, tourist transport services
  • gallery or museum managers, curators or guides
  • hospitality workers, including a range of positions in hotels or other accommodation facilities, restaurants, cafes, bars and casinos
  • conference and event organisers

Eligible work undertaken in the tourism and hospitality industry must appear in the department’s list of tourism and hospitality occupations, which is based on Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) codes. For the complete list of eligible tourism and hospitality occupations, see:
Tourism and hospitality occupations for the purposes of Australia's Working Holiday Maker Programme.

Northern Australia is defined by postcodes, and includes all of the Northern Territory and those areas of Western Australia and Queensland above the Tropic of Capricorn.

Eligible postcodes

Defined areas

Postcodes

Northern Territory

Entire Territory

Queensland
(all areas north of the Tropic of Capricorn)

4699 to 4707
4709 to 4712
4717
4720 to 4721
4723 to 4728
4730
4732 to 4733
4735
4737 to 4746
4750 to 4751
4753 to 4754
4756 to 4757
4798 to 4800
4801 to 4812​​
4814 to 4825
4828 to 4830
4849 to 4850
4852
4854 to 4856
4858 to 4861
4865
4868 to 4888
4890 to 4892
4895

Western Australia
(all areas north of the Tropic of Capricorn)

0872
6537, 6642, 6646, 6701, 6705, 6707
6710 to 6714
6716
6718
6720 to 6722
6725 to 6726
6728, 6740, 6743, 6751
6753 to 6754
6758, 6760, 6762, 6765, 6770

Second Working Holiday Visa Holders

If you are granted a second Working Holiday visa you can return to an employer that you worked for on your first visa for a further six months. The six month work limitation resets once you have been granted your second visa.

While some industries listed above also provide eligibility for a second working holiday visa as well as employment extensions, not all do. In particular work as an au pair, in aged and disability care, or in tourism and hospitality does not count as ‘specified work’ under the second Working Holiday (subclass 417) visa initiative.​

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