I’ve decided to dedicate this week to Australia namely as it’s Australia Day this Thursday so thought why the hell not!
So you’ll probably be expecting a post about the basic facts of Australia to begin with but actually I’ll be telling you about my Australian Visa dilemma which has plagued me for about 2 weeks.
Looking at my 2012 Travel Planshttp://rexyedventures.com/2012-travel-plans/, I realised that I would only be in Australia for 3 months. Now is it worth getting a Working Holiday Visa which has very stringent rules upon it?
What is an Australia Working Holiday Visa?
This visa is for people aged 18 to 30 years of age, who are interested in a working holiday of up to 12 months in Australia.
Sounds perfect! But I would be there for 3 months. Could I get a job and use the WHV to obtain more funds?
So that was my plan since I booked the flights but I had this nagging voice at the back of my head. Is it really worth using a WHV, which I need to fork out for one, to be only used for 3 months?
Also, I needed to travel in Australia as well. I figured maybe a month would do it. And have 2 months working,
Hang on, would I really see the real Australia? That was my main reason why I wanted to go to Australia. I didn’t want to do fruit-picking and only receive $37 to fill a bin the size of a small swimming pool and I wouldn’t see anything! But if I got a job in the cities, would I just be escaping from one cubicle job to another?
With those questions in mind, I stumbled across a clause in the WHV. I really wanted to qualify for a second WHV to use as an option as I’m still under 30 when I finish this year’s. (I still haven’t bought a visa at this point). What I stumbled upon was this:
You must have completed three months of specified work in regional Australia while on your first Working Holiday (417) visa.
That threw a spanner in the works. I would have to work solidly throughout the 3 months I had in Australia in order to qualify for a 2nd WHV and I wouldn’t get to travel!
Should I resign myself to the fact that I wouldn’t be able to get a 2nd WHV?
I mean how will I be able to support myself in terms of funds if I didn’t have the WHV this year? I needed a job to help me to get round New Zealand, Fiji and USA afterwards. Accommodation in Australia is expensive!
So then I came across a lifeline.
It’s not a dog!
It stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms.
WWOOFing aims to provide volunteers with first-hand experience in organic and ecologically sound growing methods, to help the organic movement, and to let volunteers experience life in a rural setting or a different country.
WWOOF volunteers (‘WWOOFers’) generally do not receive financial payment. The host provides food, accommodation, and opportunities to learn, in exchange for assistance with farming or gardening activities. Sometimes it’s not even farming or gardening activities but rather sustainable businesses and many more.
Reading their website and reviews from other people, I really became interested and this in fact met my need to see the real Australia.
I didn’t want to spend all my time in hostels partying a long the coast. I’m here to get proper experience!
So this is what I was really looking for. Sure enough, I won’t get paid but I will have free bed and board. Fantastic!
So looking into this, and also being aware of the very strict rules of Australian visas, I did some research.
On a tourist visa, which is free, you can WWOOF to your heart’s delight providing you do not receive any monetary remuneration at all.
So here was my dilemma.
Do I go for the WHV this year and work in a proper job so I can top up my funds, but cannot receive a 2nd visa?
Do I go for the tourist visa and WWOOF around Australia and travel to my heart’s delight? Next year, I could try for a proper job on a WHV and stay in Australia longer to obtain another WHV for the following year?!
I secretly knew what I wanted to go for but wanted to hear what other people thought. I gave them the options but I did find myself pushing for the tourist visa to get them to agree and usually they would say to me ‘you’ve answered your own dilemma haven’t you?’
So, yesterday, I took the plunge and applied for a tourist e-visitor visa. You only need your passport that’s got more than 6 month’s validity left, your email address and your wits. The whole process took half an hour online and it was all free of charge!
I would really recommend going through the Australian Government’s website: http://www.immi.gov.au/visitors/
I hear many people have been ripped off by travel agents who charge to get it sorted for them. It’s really easy!
And everything was pretty much self explanatory and off it got sent!
I’m very pleased to say that my Australian Visa Application got quickly accepted 12 hours later and my e-visitor visa arrived in my email inbox.
Will I be one of the convicts that originally got sent off to penal colonies in Australia? Haha!
So I’ll be going to Australia WWOOFing and travelling this year on a tourist visa and hopefully next year, there might be a possibility for me to go to Australia to work there on a Working Holiday Visa.
I’m going to Australia Baby!
Wooohooo! So glad to hear you’ve got it all sorted on…I can’t wait to WWOOF myself when I get there eventually =D So happy for you!
Good find…I’ve read several experiences with Woofing…Some loved it, some hated it. I hope your experience falls in the “love” category!
Awesome mate! You might also want to check out http://www.helpx.net/ – there are organic farmstays on there but also a lot of other opportunities as well right across Australia. Good luck!
Will check them out! Have you used helpx?
I haven’t yet (moved around way too fast on our RTW) but if we ever get back to long-term travel we’d definitely consider it.
Good call Ed, as I discovered at Christmas you need a month just to travel round Tasmania never mind the rest of the country!! 🙂 hope you will be visiting Perth!
Course I will be! I wouldn’t miss you for all the world!
I’m the king of visa problems hahaha! right Kieron?
Took me 1,5 years to get my Belgian working visa sorted and unless I get a double nationality, visa issues will haunt me for the rest of my life. SIGH!
Lucky for you, getting visas are relatively easier. Take the full advantage of it, mate!
I don’t remember if Australia is one of the countries which requires a visa for WWOOFing or not. I know New Zealand does and so does the USA. There was even an article somewhere about a girl from the Canada who came to the USA to WWOOF and she told border patrol that is what she is doing and they took her aside and questioned her and sent her packing back to where she was from in the middle of the night. If you go to a country where that is the case you can still get away with it I would think since so many people do it, I just would not tell anyone.