Working Holiday Visa (Subclass 417)
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Specified work is work that is undertaken in a 'specified' field or industry in a designated regional area.
See: Regional Australia Postcode List
Work that is eligible is now referred to as 'specified work' not 'seasonal work'. The specified work definition below applies to all of the following:
- visa applications lodged on or after 1 July 2008
- work undertaken at any time while holding a first Working Holiday visa.
Note: Prior to 1 July 2008, specified work was known as seasonal work.
If the applicant was refused a second Working Holiday visa for not meeting the seasonal work requirement, but now meets the specified work requirement they may be able to apply again. However, they will need to pay another visa application charge.
See: Working Holiday and Work and Holiday Visas
Specified work is any type of work described in the list below:
- plant and animal cultivation
- the harvesting and/or packing of fruit and vegetable crops
- pruning and trimming vines and trees
Note: This must be the applicants primary employment task and directly associated with the cultivation and commercial sale of plant produce, such as fruit and nut crops (commercial horticultural activities). General garden maintenance is not eligible.
- general maintenance crop work
- cultivating or propagating plants, fungi or their products or parts
- immediate processing of plant products
- maintaining animals for the purpose of selling them or their bodily produce, including natural increase
Note: Maintaining animals for tourism or recreational purposes is not eligible.
- immediate processing of animal products including shearing, butchery, packing and tanning
Note: Secondary processing of animal products, such as small goods processing and retail butchery is not eligible.
- manufacturing dairy produce from raw material.
- fishing and pearling
- conducting operations relating directly to taking or catching fish and other aquatic species
- conducting operations relating directly to taking or culturing pearls or pearl shell.
- tree farming and felling
- planting or tending trees in a plantation or forest that are intended to be felled
- felling trees in a plantation or forest
- transporting trees or parts of trees that were felled in a plantation or forest to the place where they are first to be milled or processed or from which they are to be transported to the place where they are to be milled or processed.
- coal mining
- oil and gas extraction
- metal ore mining
- construction material mining
- non-metallic mineral mining and quarrying
- mining support services
- residential building construction
- non-residential building construction
- heavy and civil engineering construction
- land development and site preparation services
- building structure services
- building installation services
- building completion services
- other construction services.
Work undertaken in the areas of plant and animal cultivation, fishing and pearling, and tree farming and felling must be described in the list above to meet the specified work requirement.
The Australian New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) provides further detail about eligible work in mining and construction. Work undertaken in the mining and construction sectors must appear in the ANZSIC division for these sectors to meet the specified work requirement.
ANZSIC - Mining Division
ANZSIC - Construction Division
Supporting work, such as book-keeping, in any industry described in the list above does not meet the definition of specified work.
- must be an activity listed above
- must be the primary role, function or activity performed during the applicants employment.
Examples of eligible specified work:
- picking fruits on an orchard
- feeding and herding cattle on a farm
- horse breeding and stud farming
- landscaping the grounds of a construction/house site
- painting the interior/exterior of new buildings
- conservation and environmental reforestation work
- zoo work involving plant or animal cultivation
- erecting fences on a construction site
Examples of ineligible specified work:
- ship/boat building
- performing specialised social science services (such as anthropological and archaeological assessments) for mining companies
- town planning or architecture
- working as a nanny on a farm
- working at a cellar door providing wine tastings
- manufacturing materials used on a construction site (such as concrete or steel)
- cooking/catering on a mine site
- cleaning the interior of mine complexes or buildings.
Construction work can be vital in helping regional disaster zones, such as those affected by flood or bushfire, to rebuild and recover from disaster.
Working Holiday visa holders who conduct construction work in eligible regional areas of Australia following disasters can count the work as specified work. This work may be paid or unpaid work.
Examples of construction work that qualify as specified work include:
- demolition of buildings, trench digging, land clearing and earth moving
- residential and non-residential construction or renovation/repair, including of roads, footpaths, bridges, parking lots, fencing, railways, dams, irrigation systems, sewage and storm water drainage systems.
A full list of eligible construction activities is available from the Australia Bureau of Statistics website.
See: Division E – Construction
Applicants can find specified work vacancies in the same way as they would find other job vacancies, such as through employment pages in newspapers, the Internet and job placement service providers. Vacancies specifically for plant and animal cultivation can be found on the Harvest Trail website.
Note: Not all vacancies advertised on the Harvest Trail website will qualify an applicant for a second Working Holiday visa.
See: Harvest Trail
Applicants should ensure that the vacancy meets the definition of specified work listed above and that the work will take place in an eligible postcode of regional Australia.
See: Regional Australia
'Three months' means three 'calendar' months or 88 days. Work can be either:
- in one block with one business
- in separate blocks with one business or a number of businesses. Blocks of work may be in different kinds of specified work.
One full day of work is defined as having worked a minimum number of standard hours for a particular industry. Working Holiday visa holders cannot count a long day of work as more than one day of specified work. For example, if the industry’s standard day is six hours long, working a 12 hour day does not count as two days of specified work.
Full time workers may include weekends in calculating the number of days worked.
Applicants who work part time or on a casual basis can only count the full days actually worked. The shortest period that can be counted is one day of full time work (for any given industry).
Note: The hours the applicant work must be the industry standard. Generally, the Australian working week is 35 to 40 hours, consisting of 7 to 8 hours worked each day. Individual employers cannot set a smaller period of time than the industry standard to satisfy the specified work requirement.
Full time workers can count sick days only during periods where they were in paid employment and entitled to sick leave or covered by a workers compensation scheme. In these situations, supporting evidence must be provided by the employer.
Applicants who were prevented from obtaining employment because of injury or seasonal circumstances cannot count any time they were unable to work towards the three month period.
Example: Cyclones interrupting harvest activities.
Some possible examples to help clarify the definition of three months of specified work are outlined below.
Examples that meet the three month requirement
- Working week
Working on a farm for three months for five days each week, where the industry standard is five days a week of full time work.
- Shift work
Employed as a miner for three months and under the employment contract are only required to work every second week, which is the standard full time contract for the industry.
- Blocks of work
Completing 60 days of harvest work, followed by a period of travel for two months. Then completing another 28 days in construction, bringing the total days worked to 88 days.
- Sick days
Employed for a three month period but take several days of sick leave during the period.
Examples that do not meet the three month requirement
- Working week
When five days of work a week is the industry standard on a farm, but the applicant only works four days a week for three months.
- Work done on another visa type
Completing three months of specified work during the summer break while on a Student visa.
- Seasonal circumstances
Picking bananas for 80 days on a casual basis, but the applicant cannot find more work as there is a cyclone and their first Working Holiday visa ceases.
If the Working Holiday visa holder applies for a second Working Holiday visa, they will need to provide evidence that they have satisfied the specified work eligibility requirement. Acceptable evidence of specified work (completed while on their first Working Holiday visa) includes original or certified copies of the following:
- group certificates
- payment summaries
- tax returns
- employer references
- a completed employment verification form signed by the applicants employer
- original Australian bank statement covering the period of declared specified work.
See: Form 1263 Working Holiday visa: Employment verification ( 75KB PDF file)
Note: Providing a completed Form 1263 and additional forms of evidence will allow a Working Holiday visa application to be assessed more quickly. Please ensure that all information provided is correct. Contacting third parties to verify the claims of applicants for second Working Holiday visas will now be a standard component of second Working Holiday visa application assessments.
If the applicant chooses to undertake specified work in a voluntary capacity or for payment in kind, it may be difficult to verify they have completed the required specified work. If the Department of Immigration and Citizenship is not satisfied that they have completed three months specified work in regional Australia, their second Working Holiday visa may not be granted. To enable a successful visa application, it is preferable wages are paid directly into an Australian bank account and that an original bank statement is provided as evidence.
Warning: Providing a false or misleading declaration or fraudulent evidence for any visa application may result in the application being refused or cancelled. If the applicant’s visa is cancelled they may be prevented from lodging further applications and be excluded from Australia for a period of three years.