Your working holiday: Can you stay with an employer longer than 6 months?

Condition 8547 on your working holiday visa says you have to move to a new job after six months. But you love it so much you want to stay. Is that possible?

Generally speaking, no it’s not. You can get around the ruling by moving on and working somewhere else, then getting a second visa (if you qualify for one). If you do that, then it’s like your conditions reset, so you can go back. By all chances though, the opportunity will be gone.

This is an image of a calendar with "Deadline" written on it and a date circled. It is used under license, original artwork by
Image used under license. (Source.)

What employment is restricted to six months?

All types of work are subject to the time restriction: part-time, full-time, casual, contract, and volunteer.

For the purposes of this visa, volunteering is considered work.

You can apply to work there longer – but it’s really tough

You can apply to work longer than six months with an employer. It is only granted in exceptional circumstances. Probably, your definition of what is exceptional will be different to how the Department of Immigration sees it.

The circumstances must be both ‘extraordinary and unforeseeable’.

So, what is extraordinary and unforeseeable circumstance?

Here are some examples of what may be considered (they’re on the application form, too):

  • You are critical to a special project that has unexpectedly gone over time. These special projects aren’t things like software development. Being critical means that you are a lawyer in the middle of a trial; or a doctor who plans to operate on a patient you’ve been treating.
  • You are performing disaster recovery or clean-up work following a major disaster like flood, fire, or cyclone clean-up.
  • You are waiting on a decision on a visa that could allow you to continue full-time work with that employer (such as Temporary Business (Long Stay) visa, or a spouse visa).

The purpose of working holiday visas is to holiday, mostly

The purpose of a working holiday visa is to holiday in Australia. The work part of it means you can work here, but it’s not your primary goal. That’s why your employment is limited to six months. It’s also why extending that employment is really difficult.

If you believe you have extraordinary and unforeseeable circumstances that might allow you to stay longer, give us a call. We can clarify whether you might be eligible to apply to have your employment period extended.

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