Changes to Working Holiday Maker Visas Affected by COVID-19

On 5 March 2022, significant changes to Working Holiday Maker (WHM) Visas Subclass 417 and Subclass 462 were introduced through migration legislation. These include:

1. Working Holiday Visa Extension

This change allows for onshore Working Holiday Maker Visa Holders impacted by COVID-19 through the inability to work and travel without restriction, to be granted a further WHM visa to remain in Australia for an extended period. This will give Subclass 417 and Subclass 462 visa holders the opportunity to meet specified work requirements and apply for further WHM visas.

To be eligible the following criteria apply:

2. Exceptions to Visa Application Process

Due to the nature of COVID-19 and travel restrictions, the Australian Government acknowledges that this has provided obstacles for individuals needing to renew or reapply for passport documentation. As a result, when applying for a working holiday maker visa extension, the Government has allowed applications to be made without a valid passport. This gives applicants extra time to allow for their passports to be renewed and validated. However, it must be noted that the Working Holiday Maker Visas will NOT be granted without a valid passport. Therefore, applicants must ensure their passports are renewed and valid at the time of the visa grant.

3. Nil Visa Application Fees for Eligible Applicants

The changes implemented for Working Holiday Maker Visas allow for applicants that meet the relevant criteria to be eligible for NO visa application charge (VAC). Those eligible for the nil VAC are as follows:

The definition of ‘excluded applicant’ essentially means that an individual who is eligible for the nil VAC cannot receive this benefit twice.

4. Expanded definition of ‘specified work’ for requirements under Subclass 417 and Subclass 462 visas

Working holiday makers can work in ANY occupation or industry in Australia for generally up to 6 months. Visa holders can choose to undertake specified work to become eligible for a second or third subclasses 417 or 462 visa to extend their time living, working, and travelling in Australia. The definition of ‘Specified Work’ has expanded to include:

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