Second Year Australia Visa – Everything You Need To Know

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Want to extend your stay in Australia? I’m answering 17 of your most frequently asked questions in this detailed guide of everything you need to know about the second year Australia visa.

I’ll be sharing everything from how to apply for your second year Working Holiday Visa to the BEST times to do your Australian farm work.

If you haven’t yet applied for your first Working Holiday Visa in Australia I share everything you need to know to get set up in the post below.

*Disclaimer – At the time of writing (November 2019) to the best of my knowledge all this information is correct. That being said I’m your travel BFF not a lawyer or immigration specialist. For any legal information, it’s always best to refer directly to the Australian government website.

What is a second year Australia visa?

A second year visa in Australia is a visa that gives you the opportunity to extend your existing Working Holiday Visa. In order to qualify for the visa you will need to complete farm work in regional areas. On the Working Holiday Visa (462) you have the option to complete numerous other positions outside of farmwork as long as it is done within the specified postcode areas!

After completing you will be granted 12 more months to work and live in Australia. Woohoo!


Who is eligible for a second year working holiday visa?

Anyone between the ages of 18-30 who is currently on their first year Working Holiday Visa (417) or (462) is eligible for a second year Working Holiday Visa.

What jobs can I do for my second year Australia visa?

There are SO many different jobs you can do for your second year visa in Australia from working on a dairy farm to working on a winery. You can find the full list of eligible jobs here.

Some people choose to complete their work at one farm while others will follow seasons or switch between farms for various reasons. I completed my work on a banana farm and you can read more about that my farm work experiences below.


How do I find a reputable farm?

There are definitely a lot of horror stories about farm work floating around so take time to make sure you’re finding a reputable farm. Where possible speak to people who have previously worked there.

Google the farm to make sure it’s legitimate not just any old creep with a Gumtree account. If you’re using Facebook groups survey the profiles that are making the ads. Also, make sure that the postcode falls into the eligible regional areas. Ask friends or mutual friends for recommendations. If you get a gut feeling that something isn’t sitting right listen to it!

Lastly, there’s also an app called WikiFarms that has the contacts of thousands of reputable farms. Although I haven’t used the app myself it has great reviews and it will cost you $9.99.


How much is a second year Australia visa?

At the time of writing in November 2019 both the Second Year Working Holiday Visa (subclass 417) and Second Year Working Holiday Visa (subclass 462) are $485 AUD. You don’t need to apply until after you’ve completed the work though.


How long does it take to process the second year visa?

Most applications are processed in 2-3 weeks, but there are always exceptions to the rule. If your application is taking an abnormally long time you can always call immigration to get an update on the progress.


Can you apply for your second year visa outside of Australia?

If you’re in the country when you apply for your second year visa you’ll be granted a Bridging Visa, which means you can continue to stay on the terms of your existing visa even if it expires before your second visa has been approved. If you apply outside the country you can’t reenter until your second year visa has been approved.


What is a second year visa investigation?

There is a possibility that your visa may be investigated so make sure to keep your payslips and evidence that you were where you said you were in your application. If you completed all your days there is nothing to worry about!


When should I do farm work?

I strongly advise doing your farm work as soon as possible for a couple of reasons. One – just get it out of the way so you can get on with living your best life. Two – the earlier you start the less stress there is worrying about having enough time to complete it. 

If you’re not yet in Australia I’d recommend travelling for a little first so you can see some of the country and work out where you might eventually want to settle. Set up the essentials like a SIM card and a bank account. 

If you’re relocating to Australia you’ll definitely want to use Transferwise to transfer money from your existing bank account overseas. It is waaaaay cheaper than sending through your bank or PayPal and if you use this link you can get your first transfer absolutely free!

Then after a month or so start your farm work. Trust me when you’ve already made roots with work and an apartment it is so much harder to then leave and commit to three months of hard labour.


What is a working hostel?

A working hostel is a hostel that has close working relationships with local farms. As well as living there they will organise your work and transport to and from the farms. In some ways, this can be good as it takes the stress out of finding a job on your own. But they are notoriously known for ripping people off. I completed my farmwork at Budget Backpackers in Innisfail and though the hostel itself was a bit of a shit hole I would still recommend it. 

The owner, Steve, did his best to find everyone work and always managed to find additional odd jobs we could do around town and the hostel to earn money. 

Also, the biggest selling point for me was that I spent a few weeks living in the actual hostel before I moved to one of the flats he owned across the road. If you do decide to stay there as soon as you get to the hostel put your name down on a waiting list for a flat. Preference is typically given to couples as a lot of the rooms have double beds but there were single rooms too. Although the flats were still shared it was WAY better sharing a room with one person instead of 8.


What is it like to live at a working hostel?

Let’s start with the good. 

You’re surrounded by other people who are in the same sucky situation as you. Anything you’re going through you have other people in the same position or even further on so you never feel alone. You become super close to other people living in the hostel – in fact, two people I did my farm work who met whilst there have just recently got engaged!

While I can’t promise a future husband/wife for you, it’s just a given that the environment brings everyone together. I met many of my current best friends through this experience and they were absolutely worth the downsides. 

Downsides. You’re surrounded by people all the time. It can be hard to get time to yourself. I definitely cried in the shower a couple of times because it was the only place I had privacy. Sometimes you want to sleep and other people are partying until the early hours of the morning. But you don’t want to be that one dickhead who ruins everyone’s fun. 

If you’re a couple you may be cooped up in a single bed together or your own separate beds and again you won’t have any privacy. You’ll have to get creative with *cough* spending time together.

Messy. Some people will never have lived away from home before and have no respect for communal spaces because they’re used to people cleaning up after them. Or they have lived away from home and still don’t respect other people’s space. When I lived at the hostel the kitchen was definitely… a character-building experience.

Where’s the best place to go for farm work?

There’s really no definitive answer on this one but for me personally, I wanted to follow the seasons. After getting fired from my first job I decided I wanted to complete the rest of my days somewhere warm and I have to say it really does make a difference having good weather. Also, look out for it being too hot – it is Australia after all. You can work out the best seasons by industry or by state here.


How long does it take to complete farm work?

To complete enough hours for your second year visa you must complete 88 days. Although in theory, this should only be three months if you’re not working every day it can take a lot longer.

A loophole we learned of at my working hostel is that if you complete 13 consecutive weeks at the same farm you can still qualify without having to work every day. In order to complete your visa this way, you must be employed as a full-time staff member and be working at least 35 hours a week.

I did around 52 days working on average 9 hours a day for 4 days a week. I am SO glad I was able to do my farm work like this because although it doesn’t sound like a lot, in theory, it is DRAINING.

What skills do I need to work on a farm?

Honestly, most farm jobs require very basic skills and some won’t even check your CV at all. If they do you should make sure to demonstrate that you’re reliable and hardworking. 

A lot of farms, for example, banana farms, will also have gendered roles that have requirements. That means for guys they have to be a reasonable degree of fitness and tall so they can carry bags of bananas off of the trees. In instances like this, you may be asked for your weight/height in advance of securing a position.

If you’re staying at a working hostel the hostel owner will determine what jobs you’ll be suitable for by eye.


What clothes do I need for farm work in Australia?

The clothes you need will largely depend on what the weather is but generally, you want clothes that you don’t mind being completely ruined by the end of your time there. A lot of the clothes I wore on the farm I found at the working hostel left behind by previous workers. Things like mud and fruit sap tend to permanently stain so there’s no point buying something new.

Working on a banana farm I wore a sports bra, shorts, a t-shirt and flip flops/wellingtons. We arrived in flip flops and socks then had to decontaminate before entering the farm and changing into our wellies.

If you’re working somewhere that’s likely to be cold make sure to pack layers like tights, leggings and thick socks as there is nothing more miserable than being cold!


How much does farm work in Australia pay?

The rate of pay for most farm jobs in Australia is minimum wage. At the time of writing this is around $21 p/h. Although the rate of pay is pretty average it’s still a great opportunity to save as living in a rural area means there’s very little to spend your money on.

It’s important to know that there are two systems of pay for farm work. Base rate and piece rate. Piece rate is determined by the number of fruit/vegetables you pick to incentivise people to work hard. I personally would avoid doing jobs that pay this way as it can be incredibly hard going for little reward.


How much does it cost to live?

For my farm work, I lived on a working hostel where rent was $125 dollars a week. Included in rent were drop-offs to and from work and a bed in a shared room in the hostel. On my best weeks managed to live on around $50 a week for food AND activities (which mostly was just walking around town or watching movies in the hostel). 

Living on $50 a week meant I was eating very basic foods and pretty much the same thing every day. For breakfast, I’d eat porridge oats with half a handful of frozen berries I’d mix water and almond milk together so I could make the milk last. And get this I DON’T EVEN LIKE PORRIDGE. 

Each day I’d force it down so I recommend picking foods you’ll actually enjoy. For lunch I’d have a wholemeal wrap with lentils and avocado, a sandwich with ham and cucumber or couscous with carrots. And for dinner, I’d make a big pot of something like chilli or soup and eat it throughout the week. I could have easily spent more money and been more adventurous but I knew I’d be going travelling straight after farm work so while I had the chance I lived WELL below my means.


Final thoughts 

Overall getting your second year working holiday visa isn’t necessarily easy, but I will say it’s worth it. I don’t regret completing mine for a moment. Even getting fired from the first job I had led to the second where I met the most wonderful people. If you go looking you will find the horror stories but I hope I’ve given you an accurate overview of what you need to know – good and bad!


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What about you? Are you thinking about doing a second year working holiday visa? Let me know in the comments!

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