Last week, the Government announced Irish and Canadian citizens can now apply for a Working Holiday Subclass 417 Visa in Australia up to the age of 35. Prior to the change on 1 November 2018, people over the age 31 were ineligible for the program. The increased age limit therefore opens an opportunity for more Irish and Canadian citizens to work and travel in Australia for one or two years. It also allows Australian businesses in the mining, construction, agricultural, hospitality and tourism industries less restrictions to employ temporary workers under the Working Holiday visa program. The change complements the Government’s recent announcement to further relax Work and Holiday visa program restrictions from July 2019.
Australia’s new Immigration Minister, David Coleman says the increased age limit will help to strengthen the nation’s ties between the two countries. Under the agreement, Australians will also be able to travel to Ireland and Canada on a Working Holiday Visa up to the new age limit of 35.
Mr Coleman said, “Both Canada and Ireland have been part of Australia’s Working Holiday Maker program since it began in 1975, so it is fitting that they are the first countries to become eligible for the extended age range.”
What is Australia’s Working Holiday Visa Program?
Australia has two visa categories designed to provide opportunities for young people from particular countries to work and travel in Australia – the Working Holiday (Subclass 417) and the Work and Holiday (Subclass 462) visa. Different countries are eligible under each visa type, however both visas are issued for one year with the possibility to extend the visa for a second year if eligible. The change to the age limit applies only to the Working Holiday Visa Program (Subclass 417) for Irish and Canadian applicants.
To apply for a second visa you need to have undertaken three months of ‘specified work in regional Australia’ while on your first visa. This can include various types of work in the mining, construction and agricultural industries in designated regional areas. View our fact sheet to see which areas are classified as ‘regional’ in Western Australia for the purposes of a Working Holiday Visa. Our migration agents can assist you to understand if you are eligible for a second Working Holiday Visa. Under this visa you can also study for up to four months and freely leave and re-enter Australia during your stay.
New age limit | The success of the Working Holiday Visa program
According to Ireland’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Patrick O’Donovan, “Since the Working Holiday Programme began in 1975, it is estimated that more than 275,000 young Irish people have spent up to two years in Australia under this scheme.” He says, “In 2017 alone, some 8,653 visas were issued to Irish citizens under the Working Holiday programme.”
Last year, more than 16,000 Canadian and Irish citizens were granted Working Holiday Visas for Australia. Mr O’Donovan believes the increased age limit will help to foster Australia’s existing ties with Ireland and Canada saying, “The agreement to extend the age eligibility on a reciprocal basis underscores the wide-reaching success of the programme to date.”
For all other countries who have a Working Holiday agreement with Australia, the maximum age of 31 has remained the same. The Government is however considering options to expand the age limit, timeframes, and engagements with other partner countries. This week, the Government announced Working Holiday Visa program restrictions will be relaxed from July 2019 to help farmers fill job shortages while the Government considers a dedicated agricultural visa. Read more about this in our article here.
If you would like to understand your eligibility for a first or second Working Holiday Visa, or if your business has a need for temporary visa holders, our migration agents provide a free assessment of your visa options. Simply contact Interstaff’s Registered Migration Agents on 08 9221 3388 or firstname.lastname@example.org