Further Flexibility for Working Holiday Makers
The Australian Government has
announced further changes to the
Working Holiday Maker (WHM) program to assist with Australia’s COVID-19 economic recovery.
From 19 January 2022, WHMs working in any sector anywhere in Australia may continue to work for the same employer or organisation without requesting permission.
This arrangement will be in place until 31 December 2022 when it will be reviewed by the Government.
The Government has also announced that WHMs who arrive in Australia from 19 January 2022 to 19 April 2022 can apply for a refund of the Visa Application Charge (VAC) for their WHM visa.
This will apply to WHMs who already have a visa, as well as those who are granted a new visa, and who travel to Australia within this timeframe.
People travelling to Australia are required to make a declaration regarding their vaccination status, and be able to provide acceptable proof. WHM visa holders must meet Australia’s vaccination requirements, or have an approved travel exemption. Information on entry requirements is updated regularly so it is important to check the
Department’s website for the latest requirements before travelling. Eligible travellers will be able to apply for a refund of their VAC until 31 December 2022. Further information on how to apply for a VAC refund will be available on the Department’s website.
Travel to Australia for fully vaccinated eligible visa holders
From 15 December 2021, fully vaccinated eligible visa holders, including Working Holiday Makers (subclass 417 and 462 visa holders) can come to Australia without needing to apply for a travel exemption. For more information, see Vaccinated travellers.
Applications for a WHM visa can be made online through
We are currently processing a large volume of Working Holiday Maker (WHM) visa applications received since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. As we finalise applications that have not been prioritised due to travel restrictions, published processing times may increase.
We are processing some new and older applications at the same time to minimise processing times for as many applications as possible. Visa applications that contain all required information may be finalised faster than the published processing times.
For more information, see
Visa processing times.
Switzerland to access Work and Holiday (subclass 462) visa
Switzerland will become the 45th country to have access to Australia’s Working Holiday Maker visa program.
From 1 January 2022, young people from Switzerland, aged between 18 and 30, can apply to stay in Australia for one year and undertake short-term work and study while holidaying.
The Swiss Government has also announced that Australians can travel to Switzerland without a visa from 1 January 2022.
For more information, see the
Offshore nil Visa Application Charge (VAC) WHM applications
From 1 July 2021 to 31 December 2022, holders and former holders of a COVID-19 affected WHM visa will be able to make a nil VAC WHM application online.
WHMs who are offshore and who were unable to come to Australia or had to leave early because of COVID-19 will be able to apply for a replacement visa with nil VAC.
For more information about nil VAC WHM applications, see
Offshore nil Visa Application Charge (VAC) WHM applications.
VAC refund requests must be made before 31 December 2022.
For information about offshore nil VAC applications and VAC refund eligibility, see
Refunds and waivers of Visa Application Charges.
Working Holiday Maker visa changes helping COVID-19 recovery
The Minister has announced further
changes to the WHM program to assist with Australia’s COVID-19 economic recovery.
From 8 May 2021, WHMs working in the tourism and hospitality sectors anywhere in Australia may now work for up to 12 months with the same employer or organisation without requesting permission.
From 22 June 2021, work undertaken in the tourism and hospitality sectors in northern, remote or very remote Australia can also be counted as specified work towards eligibility for a second or third WHM visa. This option will be available for WHM applications lodged from March 2022.
From March 2022, eligible current and former WHMs in Australia will also be able to apply for a WHM visa with nil VAC. This will provide another opportunity to meet the specified work requirements for a subsequent WHM visa.
Australia and UK Free Trade Agreement
Agreement in principle has been reached between Australia and the UK to increase the maximum eligible age from 30 to 35 years for Working Holiday Maker (WHM) applicants from the UK and Australia.
While agreement in principle has been reached, no changes have yet been made to existing arrangements.
The agreement will also provide an opportunity for WHMs to stay in the UK and Australia for up to three years, with no requirement to undertake ‘specified work’. Negotiations have not yet concluded, however it is anticipated that these changes will be made within five years.
The UK’s Youth Mobility program already allows young Australians to stay in the UK with unrestricted work rights for up to two years. Australia has previously negotiated arrangements on a reciprocal basis with Canada, France and Ireland to expand the eligible age range for WHM applicants to between 18-35 years.
Other partner country arrangements under the WHM program are established through bilateral negotiations and will not be affected by the Australia and UK Free Trade Agreement.
Transitioning earlier to a COVID-19 Pandemic event visa
From 5 January 2021, WHMs working in agriculture can apply for a COVID-19 Pandemic event visa up to 90 days before their current visa expires. They do not need to show that they cannot leave Australia.