At the beginning of this year I moved to Queensland, Australia in order to be with my partner. Although Australia has the option to come over on a spouse visa I chose to come over on a Working Holiday (417) Visa seeing as it was a more affordable option for the time. As it is quite common for young people from all over the world to come to Australia on a Working Holiday Visa I thought I would share my process as a Canadian.
For starters you need to apply for your visa. In order to qualify you must be between 18 and 30 years of age, hold a passport from an eligible country, state whether to not you have any children or dependants, have a clean criminal record, be healthy enough to be within the country without the need to use their medical services, and have enough funds to enter and leave the country. To apply you complete simple online application through the Australian Government. At this stage you will also need to pay the fee.
Once you have been accepted you have one year to enter Australia and make use of the Visa. Also know that your visa does not ‘start’ until you enter Australia. So from the day you land within Australia you have exactly one year from that date to legally work within the country.
After your visa you need to consider travellers health insurance. This will vary depending on your current health insurance and also what province or territory you currently live in. I used Alberta Blue Cross and was able to find a package for the full year I would be abroad. There are various providers and also different package options and time durations you can have.
As a Canadian living in Queensland I am able to drive with my current Canadian license because it is an English license. This is acceptable for all of Australia excluding Northern Territory. Northern Territory requires you to hold an international drivers license which you will need to get while in Canada.
As for getting car insurance while here I was able to be added to my partners current insurance, via phone, with no issues. In caution though I did retrieve a Canadian driving record and proof of insurance just incase they required it.
Another thing you will need to consider is what you plan to do about your mobile phone. Some phone companies will offer over seas phone plans however they can be quite costly as they often add an additional price onto your current plan. Since I was not willing to do this for an entire year as it would cost a fortune I decided to buy out my phone. This meant that the phone was no longer tied to the company I bought it from and it meant I could go to any provider anywhere and set up a new phone plan. If you choose to do this the price will vary depending on how much you owe for the phone. This did mean however that I would lose my Canadian phone number. When I got to Australia I simply chose a provider and got a monthly plan. Not only was this the cheapest option but it also meant I could change my plan every month if needed or even not renew my plan for a time period if I was travelling abroad. I would avoid signing any year long phone contracts because you never know how long you’ll be here for.
Some things to know with you visa is the restrictions. For example you can only work with one employer for a period of six months before you must find another. In addition you do not qualify for any health or dental benefits that may come with a job. Due to the six month per job limitation you are limited to jobs such as retail, hospitality, customer service and serving/bar tending simply because these jobs have a high turnover rate and often don’t involve too much training.
Tax File Number
When it comes time to find a job you will need to go online and get yourself a tax file number. This will act like your Social Insurance Number for Australia. To do this you simply go online and put in your personal and visa information. Then they will mail you a government official letter with your tax file number on it. You will need this number for paperwork once you get hired and also to file your taxes at the end of financial year in July.
Disclaimer: Please note these are just the steps and methods that I used based on my circumstances. The steps you need to take may differ based on who you are and where you’re from.