What is the change? Australia is planning to add 13 countries to its Working Holiday visa program.

  • Implementation timeframe: Australia is negotiating with13 countries, but has not implemented the expansion.
  • Visas/permits affected: Work and Holiday (Subclass 462) visa and Working Holiday (Subclass 417) visa.
  • Who is affected: Nationals from Greece, Spain and Portugal and 10 other countries are under consideration.

Background: Australia is looking to attract young labour from struggling economies by expanding its Working Holiday visa program. The program allows individuals aged 18 to 30 years old to vacation and work in Australia for up to one year (with a six-month limitation on the period of employment per company) and also permits study for four months. Australia plans to add Greece, Spain and Portugal to the program. Other countries negotiating to join the program are the Czech Republic, Hungary, Israel, Latvia, Mexico, Poland, Slovakia, and Vietnam.

With the largest Working Holiday visa program in the world, Australia issued 260,000 visas under the program in 2012 to 2013. In particular, the visa program has benefited the agriculture, mining, construction and tourism sectors. However, the program is controversial in Australia because it sets foreign workers in competition with local unions. While many applicants engage in low-skilled work to supplement their travel, the program can also be used by recent graduates who would like to train and intern – but who might not have the qualifications or experience to qualify for a subclass 400 or 457 work visa.

BAL analysis: For companies with global training programs, the Working Holiday visa program is a good option for enabling young employees to obtain valuable training and internship experience, as well as limited study.

This alert has been provided by BAL Australia. For additional information, please contact

MARN: 0850984

Copyright © 2016 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. All rights reserved. Reprinting or digital redistribution to the public is permitted only with the express written permission of Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. For inquiries please contact