Benefits and Drawbacks of the American Work and Holiday Visa for Oz

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Work and Holiday visa for Australia
Ah, so you’re an American hoping to spend a year working and traveling in Australia? Let me tell you from experience that this is an excellent decision. However, when you do finally get there and fall in love with the country and lifestyle, you might be sad to find out that you don’t get the same benefits as visitors from the Commonwealth countries. In fact, you don’t even get the same class of visa as the Brits and Canadians down under.

When Americans are applying for a working holiday in Australia, they actually apply for the Work and Holiday Visa (462), as opposed to the Working Holiday Visa (417). As stated before, it has different restrictions than what other countries’ residents receive, but there are both benefits and drawbacks involved.

Since I like to end on the positives, let’s start out with the drawbacks:

1) Unlike the Commonwealth countries, Americans are only able to apply for one working holiday visa. Simply put:  you only get to spend 12 months working and traveling in Australia, while they get to spend a whopping 2 years doing the same.

2) Your job prospects might be limited. First off, any working holiday visa holder can only work for each job for up to 6 months… on each visa. So, while job prospects are definitely limited to casual work, the Commonwealth countries might have a slight advantage since it is possible for them to work for the last 6 months of the first visa, and the first 6 months of the second visa at the same location. It’s a small loophole that some have discovered.

Luckily, the American version of the visa definitely has some benefits as well:

1) You don’t have to worry about getting in your 3 months of regional work. What this means is fruit-picking is not a top priority for you (unless that sounds appealing of

live and work in Australia- Beach
Who wouldn't want to live near the beach?

course). Commonwealth countries are required to have this under their belt in order to receive their 2nd year’s visa.

2) You have less chance of getting “trapped” in one location. Some people get into the mindset that they have a lot of time, so traveling later, and working now, is an OK option. However, in that case, it sometimes turns out that these people get stuck in a location and miss out on a bunch of others. At least with the American working holiday visa, you know that your time is limited and will hopefully make the most of it while you can.

>> Read more about working holidays in Australia

Getting your Work and Holiday Visa for Australia is generally quite easy, but if it is not a temporary working visa you desire, there are also a number of visitor and permanent visas to choose from. All in all, Australia is a top destination for those looking for extended breaks, and the Work and Holiday Visa is one great way to make it all possible (drawbacks included).

About Brooke:  Brooke is the WhyGo Australia expert author. She is an American currently living in Sydney, Australia, blogging and tweeting about the journey.

6 thoughts on “Benefits and Drawbacks of the American Work and Holiday Visa for Oz”

  1. This is a great article! I have always been confused about working abroad and this is a great resource for anyone who wants to work in Australia!

    1. You’re welcome! Anytime! It’s great to know there is an avenue for American’s to live and work in Oz. I know so many people who will benefit from this info.

  2. Really good information Craig and Caz! It’s interesting how visa requirements and work permits work in different countries. I have friends who live and work in Spain and the entire process can be frustrating. It’s good to have information like this.

    You could always get a visa and then just write and blog about your travels. Although we know freelance travel writing isn’t a good idea right? 🙂

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