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Canadians Working in Australia

Updated on June 27, 2010

Escape to Sunny Australia

What Canada tends to lack is warm weather.  Some places might have the sunny aspect of things down, but warmth is something else entirely.  Sure, Ontario might get boiling hot in the summer, and BC may have warm summers, but it's just not quite enough.  As a warm weather species, it's only natural that people want to escape to warm destinations every now and then (or all the time, in some cases).  A Canadian entering and travelling in the United States is easy, but living and working there is something else entirely.  While there may be some truly warm and beautiful places just south of Canada, it requires a lot of hard work and dedication to get there. 

Humans are like electricity:  Lazy.  If you work your butt off to relocate to Southern California, Arizona or Florida, only to get turned away or rejected, you might find yourself discouraged.  But don't be!  It turns out that one of the sunniest places around is not only happy to host you, they'll let you work there... For up to two years!  Where is this magical warm and sunny destination?  Why, it's the big island (just kidding) of Australia!

Why live and work in Australia?

  • It's warm.
  • It's sunny.
  • It doesn't snow.
  • It's sunny.
  • Beaches.
  • Night life (in the cities).
  • It's warm and sunny.
  • It's a nice change of pace.
  • The people.
  • The places.
  • The food.
  • It's huge, and can keep you busy.
  • The women (if you're a man).
  • The men (if you're a woman).
  • It's warm.
  • Sydney, Perth, Adelaide, Alice Springs

Warm, sunny weather. White sandy beaches. Friendly people with funny accents. There is a lot about Australia that appeals to people. As Canadians, it is our duty to complain about our typically less than ideal weather. Yes, this even applies to people who live in British Columbia, where it rains. And only rains. It turns out that it rains in Australia, too. But it doesn't snow. And their yearly average sunlight will weaken your knee's with jealousy.

And it's even easy to get a 12 month Working Holiday Visa (WHV), which can be extended for as long as two years. Two years of sunny weather, beautiful sights and world class beaches.  If you have been thinking about making the (temporary) move to Australia, do it quickly, you may be running out of time.  In order to be considered for a Working Holiday Visa, you must be between the ages of 18 and 30.  No exceptions.  Below is a list of requirements you will have to meet in order to be eligible.

Welcome to Perth, it's warm and sunny.

Working Holiday Visa - Subclass 417

Is the Working Holiday Visa (Sublcass 417) for me?

The Working Holiday Visa is for people between the ages of 18 and 30. If you are interested in vacationing and working in Australia for up to 12 months, this is the visa you want. This Visa is for people who are primarily interested in traveling Australia rather than working in Australia. It allows for short term employment that will enable you to afford such a long stay.


  • You are between the age of 18 and 30.
  • You are in Australia as a tourist, and only want to work to be able to remain in Australia for tourism related things.
  • You are a Canadian citizen with a Canadian passport.

People who are on their first Working Holiday Visa can make themselves eligible to apply for a second Working Holiday Visa by spending 3 months (88 days total) working in regional Australia. Think of it as putting up with a boring and terrible job for 3 months, so that you can remain in country longer!  "Regional Australia" refers to areas within certain postal codes.  Working a job within these postal codes (which may include harvesting, picking fruits and the like) for three months (88 days) means that you will be allowed to apply for a second Working Holiday Visa.  This offer is available to Canadians. among several other countries.  American's are not eligible for this program.

Bondi Beach - It's crowded and there are British people everywhere.
Bondi Beach - It's crowded and there are British people everywhere.

Applying for your second Working Holiday Visa

If you have decided that you love Australia and are not interested in leaving, you can put in your three months of hard work in regional Australia and apply for your second Working Holiday Visa. Eligibility for the second is the same, but it is more difficult to obtain one. Below is a list of things a Canadian must do to obtain a second Working Holiday Visa.

  • Apply within 12 months of entering Australia. You must be in Australia when you are accepted, if you applied from within Australia. You must be outside of Australia when you are accepted, if you applied from outside of Australia.
  • You must be between the ages of 18 and 30.
  • You can have no dependant children.

You will be required to submit to health tests. You may be required to take a medical examination. This could include X-rays, HIV, Hepatitis B or C testing. A decision about your Visa application will not be made until you have undergone medical tests. You have to pay for your own medical examination. Health care in Australia is not cheap, and you are not covered by Australia's national health scheme. You should have health insurance provided by a company in your own country before leaving for Australia.

Don't be a big jerk. The second Working Holiday Visa requires that you must be of good character. They may ask you to provide police records (or lack of) from any country you have lived in for a minimum of 12 months since turning 16.

You must have sufficient cash to support yourself initially. You may be required to provide evidence that you can afford to buy return airfare to Canada. Working while there is designed to cover your in country expenses, not every expense you will encounter from start to finish (which mainly includes airfare).

You hold Australia values close to your heart. This means that you respect the values and traditions of Australia, and you will not participate in criminal activity. All I can say here is this: Don't participate in any tomfoolery. They'll love you if you're a model visitor.  If you really want an edge on this one, read the "Life in Australia" book.  It's not a requirement, but if you show a knowledge and general "I care" attitude about the country, you are much more likely to be granted your second Working Holiday Visa.

What is this going to cost?

Two hundred and thirty bucks.  $230.00.  That's it.  It's non-refundable and probably ends up in some rich guys pocket, but that's all it will cost to get this Visa.  $230.00 for one full 12 month period in one of the best places on Earth.  $230.00 that allows to you work, play and party for an entire year.  And if you work three months in regional Australia, it will cost a total of $460.00.  A small price to pay for two years of fun and adventure.

Alice Springs: It's the one right in the middle

It's also hot and sunny all year round.  You had better remember your sun screen, because it's gonna be a scorcher!
It's also hot and sunny all year round. You had better remember your sun screen, because it's gonna be a scorcher!


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