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In this article I am going to talk about one of the scarier things that backpackers in Australia will face at some point along the journey, the dreaded 2nd year visa Australia application. For some it’s a doddle for other less organized travellers it’s a downright nightmare!
With all the fun to be on the road many forget, or put off getting this sorted until the last minute. Be warned, leave it too late and soon enough you’ll find yourself on an early flight home, while all your comrades are planning their second year in paradise.
So let’s look into what needs to happen to avoid the unthinkable…
Who can apply?
so who can apply!? Anyone that is between the ages of 18 and 30, who has completed their 88 days of regional work within the first 12 months of being in Australia. You must also have at least 6 months left on your passport. You should always allow at least 28 days for your application to be processed before your first year runs out.
How to gain your second year down under?
Gaining your second year visa means working in regional Australia for a minimum of 88 days. I recommend arriving in Australia, sort out your bank account and TFN (tax file number) and then get straight into it.
Yes it might only be 88 days but finding rural work can sometimes be hard and problematic due to the fact a lot of the work is seasonal and the competition fierce. Most people I met found that it took around 6 months to complete, yes double the days required to get it done.
Most job advertisements will state if they are situated in an area eligible for the visa extension, if not just ask they will always say. Or you can check here for yourself.
Now how to prove that you have in fact completed the “days”? Payslips, tax returns and bank statements are always good forms of proof, if requested by the authorities. For most travelers just filling out the form online suffices as evidence but can be investigated.
Out of all the people I met that applied for their 2nd year visa Australia, only one was investigated and had to send the evidence they had to the visa bureau. I.e bank statements, payslips and even conformation from employers of how many days they actually worked to earn the amount on the payslips.
Now for people I met that left it too late and struggled to get the working days in before the deadline, dotted around rural areas there is always someone with a business that could sign your days.
For either a fee or free labor they will iligitimately sign your days. This is something that I do not endorse at all. If they have been doing this for years it’s only a matter of time before they are investigated.
For example: David, a small time orange farmer in the Riverland, South Australia starts signing 200 backpackers a year when he only really employs 10 people. How hard would it be for the authorities to figure out David’s game!?
City dwellers tend to dread their regional work but I found it’s the best way to see the “real Australia”. For many, regional work/farm work pushes them outside their comfort zone, leaving the cities in pursuit of a completely different way of life for a few months.
Leave the hustle and bustle of the crowded capital cities and descend onto the industrial farm, smallholdings, roadhouses and just about anything else imaginable.
There are many good ways to find regional work, word of mouth is always a win regarding anything, especially good farmers to work for as most of them don’t tend to tell you upfront that the work is hard and the pay little. As always, networking is key.
Where do I get it from and how much does it cost?
To apply for your second holiday visa the best place to do this is direct with the “Australian Visa Bureau” via their website.
There are other ways of applying but their costs will be higher as you will be paying for an unnecessary middle man. The cost can vary depending on home country and other factors so best to check the website. Mine was $365.
Do I have to be outside of Australia to apply?
To put it simply, no! You can be in Oz, at home or at a full moon party in Thailand. Just remember if still in Oz then allow at least 28 days for you application to be processed to avoid any disasters.
Even if you run shy on time but have all of your days completed before your first year visa runs out then you may be able to apply for a bridging visa.
A bridging visa will normally allow the authorities enough time to consider your application for a 2nd year visa before you must leave Australia. It can be a bit of a hassle getting one so maybe just get your 88 days done early and save yourself the grief.
Don’t leave it to the last minute, apply with time to spare for processing and enjoy doing your “days”, mine were my best time in Oz.