Dreaming of working in the Land Down Under but don’t know where to start? Wondering how you can work abroad and travel at the same time?
I explored the urban jungles and rural landscapes while living like a local in Melbourne, Australia. I fell in love with the art filled alleyways off of the city’s business center and the laid-back vibe in this city known for its coffee, the food scene, and cultural festivals. And the best part? I was able to save up and I traveled for an additional year after I left!
How did I do it? I used a Work Holiday Visa – which is an application where once it’s approved – it allows you to enter a country and work there, travel, or do both!
The thought of doing this sounds scary, overwhelming, and complicated, but not to worry! Here’s a brief summary of the 10 steps you need to know to get your hands on that work holiday visa:
1. Apply for The Working Holiday Visa
NOTE: Eligibility requirements to be able to apply: 30 years old or younger.
This can be done easily online through the Australia government website. I applied for mine when I was outside of my home country, while still traveling in Europe. It mainly will ask for your passport information and payment.
2. Book your one-way flight to Australia!
After your visa is approved, I suggest using Skyscanner.com to find flights. Play around with the dates to find cheap flights. Cheapest cities to fly into are Sydney and Melbourne.
3. Get A Sim Card/Aussie Phone #
Once you land at the airport, there will be kiosks and stores that sell phone plans. I recommend Optus. Once you buy their sim card, you just pop it into your phone and you will have an Australian mobile number!
4. Apply for a Tax ID
A Tax ID is kind of like getting a social security number so you can apply for jobs, bank accounts, etc.
5. Open an Australian bank account
You will need to supply bank details when you get a job. I chose nab because they were to only bank that had no signup fees and I was able to open an account with $0 in it.
6. Find Housing
It’s much easier to find housing, jobs, etc. once you land. Gumtree is the main site for housing/apartment listings. Other sites that are good but can be more expensive are realestate.com.au and domain.com.au
7. Creating an Australian Resume/CV
This is something you can work on before you leave for Australia. It’s nice to have hard copies but you can also email it to yourself and print them out once you’re in Australia.
a) Remember to include contact details: Name, Email Address, (Australian) Address and Phone Number.
b) Create your resume and tailor it to the specific job you’re applying for.
c) Just in case, have a few Referees (aka References) and their email addresses.
d) Use Australian spelling: Z’s probably should be S’s. And don’t forget ou’s and ll’s. (Examples Organise, colour, traveller)
8. Find Work
I don’t recommend this, but If you are keen on starting the search ahead of time, SEEK is the main job search site. There’s also careerone, which can be a useful resource. Gumtree is also good for finding jobs, especially if you’re looking for casual or part-time work.
a) Try searching specifically for temporary/contract and casual jobs.
b) Hostel bulletin boards and staff can maybe help.
c) Networking and meeting people (both other backpackers and locals) can lead to information on job openings.
After You’re Hired
To get paid, you’ll need to provide: your TFN (Tax File Number – See Step 4) and bank details.
9. File Your Taxes
Holiday visa workers (aka you) will get taxed. You can easily “lodge” (aka file) your tax return online.
Superannuation (aka retirement fund):
Australian employers/companies pay a percentage of your earnings into a “super”, which is Australia’s version of a retirement fund. If a wage is listed as $25/hour, a percentage of it will be put in a retirement fund.
AFTER you leave Australia, you can file online to get your ‘super’ annuation retirement funds back. You probably won’t get it all back, but you should get some which is a nice little bonus!
10. Your Social Life
Don’t forget this important step, as you want to have fun as well and get to meet new people, travelers, and locals! Melbourne and Sydney have many travelers trying to do the work holiday visa scheme as well. I found numerous outings and activities through the active Couchsurfing community and Meetup.com
Working and living overseas is a wonderful opportunity that I highly recommend everyone to do. The experience will give you a different view and understanding on how people live. It’ll make you view issues differently than what you’re used to back home. Living in Melbourne was one of the most memorable years of my life as I adjusted to a new environment and made amazing life-long friends. I hope these brief steps will help you get closer to your dream of working and living abroad!
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Step by Step with FULL details including:
Where to Apply for the Work Holiday Visa (direct link)
Which Specific Banks to Sign Up For
How to Find Housing
Links on Where to Find Work