What is the change? Australia will expand the benefits of the Working Holiday (Subclass 417) and Work and Holiday (Subclass 462) visa programs for key industries in northern Australia.

What does the change mean? Visa holders under either program may extend their employment with a single employer beyond six months for a maximum of 12 months. Industries include mining, tourism and hospitality, agriculture, construction, and aged and disability care.

  • Implementation timeframe: 21 November.
  • Visas/permits affected: Working Holiday (Subclass 417) and Work and Holiday (Subclass 462) visas.
  • Who is affected: Employers in designated industries in northern Australia hiring foreign nationals ages 18 to 30 for short-term employment.
  • Business impact: The change will give some employers more flexibility in retaining international workers for a longer period of time.
  • Next steps: Employers should work with their BAL team to confirm which jobs in the designated sectors and which areas in the north are eligible for the extended employment period.

Background: The expansion of the two programs is intended to develop northern Australia and help employers fill seasonal labour demands in key sectors. The geographical areas are defined by postal codes and cover all of the Northern Territory and portions of Queensland and Western Australia that are north of the Tropic of Capricorn.

Eligible jobs in the mining sector include roles in oil and gas extraction; coal, metal ore and non-metallic mineral mining and quarrying; mining support services; and others. Other sectors include agriculture (designated jobs in plant and animal cultivation, tree farming and felling, and fishing and pearl culturing); construction (residential and non-residential construction, engineering and other services); tourism (hospitality and museum workers, conference organizers, and others); and aged and disability care services.

A full list of the postal codes, industries and job titles covered by the new rule can be found on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s website.

BAL Analysis: The expanded employment under the Work and Holiday and Working Holiday programs provide greater continuity for employers in designated areas who wish to retain foreign nationals beyond six months.

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

MARN: 9683856

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