Your Guide To The Work And Holiday Visa In Australia
Malaysians love to travel abroad. According to a Visa survey, Malaysians make an average of three leisure trips overseas, higher than the global average of two.
Sure, these days, many Malaysians are adjusting their spending due to the rising cost of living and depreciating ringgit, but there are ways to work around that.
How about a work-holiday combo where not only you get to vacay but take advantage of the weak ringgit by earning some foreign currency?
Enter the Australian Work and Holiday visa (subclass 462).
What is the Australian Work and Holiday visa?
This visa is for those aged 18 to 30 who want to holiday and work in Australia for up to one year.
It allows you to:
- stay in Australia for up to 12 months
- work in Australia, generally for up to six months with each employer
- study for up to four months
- leave and re-enter Australia any number of times while the visa is valid.
There are a few types of work-holiday visa subclasses, depending on your skills and reasons for applying. So it’s best to familiarise yourself before proceeding to apply.
The Australian High Commission in Kuala Lumpur processes the visa applications for those holding Malaysian passports.
Under the programme, an annual limit of 100 visas are available each year and once all visas have been allocated, there will be no new visas granted until the following visa programme year.
Who is eligible for the visa?
You may qualify for the Word and Holiday visa if you:
- are aged 18 to 30 years (inclusive) on the date you apply;
- hold a valid Malaysian passport;
- have a Malaysian Certificate of Good Conduct, which has been issued no more than 12 months ago*;
- have not previously held a Working Holiday (417) or Work and Holiday (462) visa;
- have functional English; and
- hold a degree, or have successfully completed at least two years of undergraduate university study.
*Note: In Malaysia the letter of government support is the Malaysian Certificate of Good Conduct (CGC). You must submit the original CGC as part of your application – if you do not do so, your application will be refused.
More information on eligibility and a document checklist, please refer to the dedicated page on the Australian High Commission Malaysia website.
What jobs can you get?
There are a variety of jobs, but the common ones are:
|Type of work||Pro||Con||Ave. salary||Where to find|
|Hostel concierge or helper||Easy to find on a working holiday visa.||Not always the best paying or best working conditions.||Minimum wage or a free place to stay||Ask at your hostel/look on job boards.|
|Retail worker||Relatively easy work and easy to find in-season.||Hiring is usually seasonal and has high turnover rates.||A$14-18/hour.||Pass your resume around in-store.|
|Server, bartender, or barista||Better pay, interesting people.||Strange hours, unsavoury people.||A$15-18/hour plus tips (which may be split).||Pass out your resume in-person.|
|Fundraising||Working outside, usually relaxed work environment.||Many are scams.||Base pay of A$100-200/week plus commission.||Online job boards.|
|Office work||Much better pay and job security.||Very difficult to find.||A$18-25/hour.||Online applications, friend referrals, and temp agencies.|
|Regional work (farm work, crop-picking, etc.)||Second-year visa applicable, brotherhood-through-tribulation mentality.||Back-breaking work, sketchy at times.||Often paid by kilos of fruit harvested rather than hourly wages.||Online, hostel-posted job boards, friend referral.|
How much does it cost?
|Visa category||Base visa application charge|
|Work And Holiday (subclass 462)||A$440 (RM1,506)|
There are three payment options available: credit card, card, demand bank draft (payable to the “Australian High Commission”).
In addition to the base charge, Malaysians will need to pay a VFS Service Fee for all visa applications lodged and biometrics collected at the visa application centre.
Payment is payable by cash only and made at the application centre. For mailed in applications, payment of the service fee can be made by bank draft payable to VFS (M) Sdn Bhd.
Refer to the table below for a breakdown of the fees:
|Primary client fee|
|Application lodgement and biometric collection – Primary applicant||RM127|
|Resident Return visa applications - no biometrics required|
|Secondary client fee|
|Application lodgement and biometric collection – Secondary applicant||RM89|
|Citizenship by Descent and Australian Declaratory Visa applications – no biometrics required|
|Additional document submission – if not accompanied by a letter from the Visa Office|
|Biometric collection (only) fee||RM121|
Generally, you’ll be paying the primary client fee and biometric collection fee. Overall, including the base charge, the Work and Holiday visa will set you back RM1,754.
But remember, you can only apply before the deadline and before the cap of 100 visas is maxed out. If you miss the window, you’ll have to wait for next year.
Credit and debit card payment
By providing your credit card details on the application form, you agree to be charged in Australian dollars.
So, you may incur banking, currency conversion fees and you accept the risk associated with any currency fluctuations.
Also, applications with declined credit card payments will be deemed invalid. You will be notified and will be asked to lodge a new application at the visa application centre with payments made by cash or a bank draft.
How do I apply?
Before applying, it is always best to read the VFS Global website for the latest updates and requirements.
But here’s a breakdown of the application process:
Select a visa subclass which is appropriate for the purpose of your travel to Australia and download the relevant visa application form.
Please note: You can also obtain a visa application form at the Australian visa application centre (AVAC).
Ensure you have supporting documentation. For a list of supporting documentation required for your visa, see checklists provided under Visa Types. Gather all required supporting documentation for your application.
To avoid delays, submit all supporting documents at the time of application.
Organise payment of visa fees either in the form of cash, credit card or bank draft from Malaysian bank in ringgit only. This is made payable to the Australian High Commission.
Visit the visa application centre to lodge your application and submit your biometrics.
VFS Australia Visa Application Centre
Address: 19, Wisma Mca, 163, Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, 50450 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Phone: +60 3-2166 6550
Some applicants who apply for a visa online (including Electronic Travel Authority) are excluded from providing biometrics. For more information visit the Biometric Data Collection page.
How long is the processing time?
After applying for your visa, you can track the status of your application. Just remember the service may only provide information on the current process of your application at the Australian visa application centre.
It cannot provide information on what is happening with the application once it reaches the Australian High Commission.
Processing time for your visas can be viewed in your relevant visa subclass information you have applied for.
The Work-Holiday Visa Checklist
As even a well-prepared applicant can miss out on important details, use this checklist to make sure your application is complete:
- Applying by post or in person:
- Acceptable evidence of employment includes certified copies of:
- pay slips (work must have been undertaken after November 18, 2016 in order to be counted towards your three months’ specified subclass 462 work total)
- a written and signed piecework agreement setting out the pay rate per piece and how it is measured
- group certificates
- payment summaries
- tax return
- employer references
- a completed employment verification form
- Australian bank statement covering the period of declared specified work.
- a written and signed agreement setting out any lawful deductions in pay.
Complete these forms only if you are lodging a paper application:
- If someone gives you advice or lodges your application for you:
- Form 956 – Advice by a migration agent/exempt person of providing immigration assistance (133KB PDF)(the agent or exempt person completes the form and you must sign it).
- If you would like someone else to receive correspondence from us on your behalf:
- Form 956a – Appointment or withdrawal of an authorised recipient (116KB PDF) (the recipient completes the form and you must sign it).
- Pay the visa application charge.
Your personal documents
Here is the list of supporting documents required for your application.
For first and second Work and Holiday visa applications:
- Copies of the biographical pages of your current passport or travel document (these are the pages with the holder’s photo and personal details and the issue/expiry dates).
- A copy of your birth certificate showing both parents’ names. If you do not have a birth certificate and are unable to get one, you must provide a copy of the identification pages of at least one of the following documents:
- family book showing both parents’ names
- identification document issued by the government
- court-issued documents that verify your identity.
- If your name has changed, a copy of the evidence of the name change.
- Two recent passport-sized photographs (45 mm x 35 mm).
- These photographs should be of the head and shoulders only against a plain background.
- Print your name on the back of each photograph.
- If you have served in the armed forces of any country: copies of military service record or discharge papers.
- Evidence of sufficient funds for personal support during your stay in Australia, of approximately AUD5,000.
- Evidence that you hold an onward travel ticket out of Australia or have sufficient funds to purchase such a ticket at the conclusion of your stay. This must be in addition to your funds for personal support while in Australia.
First Work and Holiday visa applications – additional documents
- Evidence of relevant educational qualifications.
- For relevant countries, a valid letter of government support for this application. For details, see: Work and Holiday visa (subclass 462).
- Evidence that you have a level of English which is assessed as at least functional. You must provide one of the following prescribed types of evidence: the results of a specified English language test (IELTS, OET, PTE Academic, TOEFL, CAE) taken in the past 12 months or other eligible evidence of English skill. If you are providing the results of a Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) test, the test must have been undertaken on or after 1 January 2015. For details, including other eligible evidence of English skill, see: Work and Holiday visa (subclass 462).
Why opt for the Work and Holiday visa
Let’s start off with the cons. First, you’ll have to work, and spending forty-odd hours a week means you can’t see the sights and enjoy your holiday to the fullest. Also, if you get jobs such as being a farm hand, you’ll be nowhere near the city or even touristy destinations.
Then, there is competition, and with only 100 visas offered each year, competition is tough. You’ll also have to ensure you apply within the deadline.
The bigger problem is that you’ll have to fork out roughly RM1,700 without the assurance that you’ll get the visa.
The pros? Well, the obvious thing is money. You needn’t cut your trip short if you can bag a money-spinning gig. As the visa lasts you a year, you can easily work for the first six months and go on vacation during the next six months.
For example, being a kitchen hand or washing cars can get you anywhere between A$15 and A$22 an hour. If you target sales job, such as door-to-door installation of free energy-saving products, you can make several times more than with an hourly paid job.
One guy managed to get up to AUS$2,500 a week just by selling things. He ended up saving up more than enough to not only tour all eight states in Australia, but also continue travelling to New Zealand with A$40,000 in his pocket. Imagine returning home with that much cash!
Sure, as these jobs are not high-paying ones, it means that you will confine your stay to most hostels and be prudent with your finances – but with the Work and Holiday visa, you get the chance to not only enjoy a vacation but also an experience.