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Working Holiday Maker (WHM) program

6 month work limitation

Working Holiday Makers can work for the same employer in Australia for more than 6 months without asking permission if the work is:

  • in different locations and work in any one location does not exceed 6 months
  • in plant and animal cultivation anywhere in Australia
  • in certain industries in northern Australia only

If you want to work longer than six months with one employer in any other circumstance you need to request permission.

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 in the same location with one employer for more than six months by using different employment agencies, business affiliates or sub-contracting arrangements.

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.

Calculating 6 months

The 6 months starts from the day you start work. It includes full-time, part-time, casual, shift and voluntary work. It is based on the length of time that has passed since you started working, not how many hours or days you have worked.

The condition resets and the 6 months begins again if:

  • a second Working Holiday Maker visa is granted or
  • a bridging visa comes into effect

This means you can return to an employer that you worked for on your first visa. The six-month work limitation and the rules regarding permission to work longer than 6 months with one employer also apply to your second visa.

Work in different locations

You do not need to ask our permission to work with the same employer for up to 12 months if you work in different locations and work in any one location does not exceed six months.

For example you can:

  • work for two hotels in the same chain at different premises
  • work for independently-owned franchises in different workplaces
  • work for State and Territory schools and health care facilities at different addresses
  • work at two different orchards owned by the same business
  • work for a subsidiary company (owned by the same parent company) but the ABN (Australian Business Number) on your payslip is different
  • work for different businesses (separate legal entities with different ABNs) owned by that employer
  • be self-employed and provide services to the same business for more than six months as long as that business is not the only business you provide services to during that time
  • work for independently-owned franchises, even though they operate under the same business name

Plant and animal cultivation work anywhere in Australia

You do not need to ask our permission to work with the same employer for up to 12 months if you work in plant and animal cultivation anywhere in Australia.

For example:

  • the harvesting and/or packing of fruit and vegetable crops
  • pruning and trimming vines and trees
    Note: This must be your 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 Note: Maintaining animals for tourism or recreational purposes is not eligible.
  • 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.

Work in certain industries in northern Australia only

You do not need to ask our permission to work longer than six months with one employer in Northern Australia if you work in the following industries:

  • Aged Care and Disability Services
  • Fishing and pearling
  • Tree farming and felling
  • Construction
  • Mining
  • Tourism and Hospitality

Aged Care and Disability Services

  • disabilities services
  • aged care services
  • aged or disabled carer

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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

Work in the tourism and hospitality industry must appear in our list of tourism and hospitality occupations. The list is based on Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) codes. For the complete list of eligible tourism and hospitality occupations, see Specified work for Work and Holiday visa (subclass 462)

For the purposes of the six-month work limitation, Northern Australia is defined in the following table.

Areas eligible for specified work in tourism and hospitality, or plant and animal cultivation, forestry and fishing -  by State/Territory Postcodes inclusive

Northern Territory

Entire Territory

Queensland (all areas north of the Tropic of Capricorn)

4472
4478
4481 to 4482
4680
4694 to 4695
4697
4699 to 4707
4709 to 4714
4717
4720 to 4728
4730 to 4733
4735 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

Eligibility for second or third Working Holiday (subclass 417) and Work and Holiday (subclass 462) visas

While some industries also provide eligibility for a second or third Working Holiday or Work and Holiday visa as well as employment extensions, not all do. For example:

  • work as an au pair, and in aged and disability care does not count as 'specified work' for either subclass 417 or subclass 462
  • work in tourism and hospitality in northern Australia is eligible 'specified work' for subclass 462, but not for subclass 417
  • construction work in eligible regional areas of Australia is eligible 'specified work' for subclass 417, but not for subclass 462

See Specified subclass 417 work and Specified subclass 462 work for more detailed information.

Change this condition on my bridging visa

To change this condition on your bridging visa: