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Working Holiday Maker (WHM) program

​​​New Working Holiday (subclass 417) visa arrangements for UK passport holders

Australia and the UK have agreed to new arrangements under the Working Holiday Maker (WHM) program and Youth Mobility Scheme following entry into force of the Australia-Un​ited Kingdom Free Trade Agreement (Australia-UK FTA)​​.​

Commencement of new arrangements

From 1 July 202​​3

UK passport holders can apply for a Working Holiday visa between the ages of 18 and 35 years inclusive.

From 1 July 2024​​

UK passport holders can be granted up to three separate Working Holiday visas without having to meet any specified work requirements.

The new arrangements will apply to all Working Holiday (subclass 417) visa applications from UK passport holders lodged from the date the relevant change commences.

Eligible passport holders

These new arrangements are only available to applicants who use a passport issued by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to lodge their visa application.

‘UK or British passport’ refers to a passport issued by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, including a British National (Overseas) passport, commonly referred to as a BN(O) passport.

Under longstanding legislative arrangements, irrespective of which Working Holiday (subclass 417) eligible passport a dual national uses, a person can only access three (the maximum number not counting any nil VAC WHM visa held) Working Holiday (subclass 417) visas in their lifetime.

UK citizens who have previously been granted and entered Australia on a Working Holiday (subclass 417) visa using a different passport (for example, from the Republic of Ireland) are eligible to apply using their UK passport for a second and/or third Working Holiday visa.

Increased eligible age range for UK applicants

From 1 July 2023, the eligible age for UK applicants for Working Holiday (subclass 417) is 18 to 35 years inclusive. UK passport holders can lodge an application for any Working Holiday (subclass 417) visa until midnight (Australian Eastern Standard Time) on the day before their 36th birthday.

Removal of ‘specified work’ requirements

To be eligible for a second or third Working Holiday visa applicants currently must show that they have done at least three or six months of ‘specified work’.

From 1 July 2024, UK passport holders, including those who previously entered Australia on a Working Holiday (subclass 417) visa using a different eligible passport (for example, from the Republic of Ireland), will not have to meet this requirement when applying for a second or third Working Holiday visa on or after this date.

Maximum stay of three years

Working Holiday visa holders can currently stay three years in Australia. This stay consists of three separate visas granted for 12 months each (not counting any 'COVID-19 affected visa'). These arrangements will not change.

From 1 July 2024, UK passport holders will not have to meet any specified work requirements when applying for a second and/or third Working Holiday visa.

UK passport holders can choose to apply for a first, second and third Working Holiday (subclass 417) visa at any time while they still meet the eligible age requirement. They do not need to stay in Australia for three years in a row. Applicants can lodge applications for second and third Working Holiday (subclass 417) visas in or outside Australia.

If a UK passport holder has already spent one or two years in Australia on a Working Holiday (subclass 417) visa before the new arrangements commence, they can apply for the remaining visa(s) under the new arrangements from 1 July 2024. This will enable them to access the maximum of three years in Australia. This also applies to UK passport holders who previously entered Australia on a Working Holiday (subclass 417) visa using a different eligible passport.

Other WHM program settings

All other existing arrangements under the WHM program, including the six-month work limitation per employer and ​four-month study limitation​​​, will continue to apply to UK passport holders.

Examples

Example 1

Ffion is 22 years old and was granted her Working Holiday (subclass 417) visa under her Republic of Ireland passport. This is her first Working Holiday visa and she is a dual Republic of Ireland/UK national.

Ffion entered Australia on her first Working Holiday visa on 20 July 2023, and intends to apply for her second Working Holiday visa under her UK passport on 10 July 2024 while in Australia.

Ffion does not need to undertake any specified work to be eligible for her second W​orking Holiday visa, as long as she applies on or after 1 July 2024 using her UK passport as her primary travel document.

If ​Ffion uses her Republic of Ireland passport to apply for her third Working Holiday visa, her application could only be granted if she has undertaken specified work for 6 months while holding her second visa. However, if she applies for her third Working Holiday visa with her UK passport she will not need to have undertaken any specified work to be granted this visa.

Example 2

Tim holds a Hong Kong passport and a United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland British National Overseas (BNO) passport. Tim entered Australia on his Hong Kong passport holding his first Working Holiday (subclass 417) visa.

Tim may apply for a second (and then third) Working Holiday visa using his BNO passport as his primary travel document. If Tim applies for his second Working Holiday visa using his BNO passport on or after 1 July 2024, he does not need to have undertaken specified work to be granted this visa.

Example 3

Amanda has previously held her first Working Holiday (subclass 417) visa in Australia. She turned 31 years old in April 2023 and holds a UK passport.

As the age limit increased on 1 July 2023, Amanda can apply for a second (and third) Working Holiday visa(s) up until the age of 35 years. If she lodges her application on or after 1 July 2024, she will not need to meet any specified work requirements.

Example 4

Bridget holds a UK passport and was in Australia on her first Working Holiday (subclass 417) visa (a 'COVID-19 affected visa') on 20 March 2020 when COVID-19 travel restrictions were imposed. She returned to the UK during the pandemic.

She was later granted a Working Holiday visa with no Visa Application Charge, which replaced her 'COVID-19 affected visa'. She can now access a maximum of two more Working Holiday visas, as the visa she held during the COVID-19 pandemic no longer counts towards the maximum of three visas.

If Bridget lodges her applications on or after 1 July 2024, she will not need to meet the specified work requirement.

Example 5

Colin is a UK passport holder and was in Australia on his second Working Holiday (subclass 417) visa (a 'COVID-19 affected visa') on 20 March 2020 when COVID-19 travel restrictions were imposed. Because of the pandemic, he could not complete the six months of specified work required to apply for a third visa. He was granted a COVID-19 Pandemic event (subclass 408) visa to remain in Australia.

If Colin can meet the specified work requirements while holding a COVID-19 Pandemic event (subclass 408) visa, he can apply for a third Working Holiday (subclass 417) visa.

Alternatively, from 1 July 2024, he will be able to apply for a third visa without having to meet any specified work requirements provided he applies as the holder of a UK passport.

Example 6

Doug holds a UK passport and is currently in Australia on his first Working Holiday (subclass 417) visa, which is in effect until 4 March 2024. If Doug wishes to apply for a second Working Holiday visa without undertaking any specified work, he will need to wait until 1 July 2024 to lodge his application.

When his first visa ceases, Doug can choose to leave Australia and apply for his second Working Holiday visa from outside Australia. If he wishes to remain in Australia, he will need to apply for a different visa to remain in Australia lawfully after his first visa ceases.