My life and my time on Working Holiday-Australia!
I wanted to be astonished and surprised during my travels and I wanted a country as far as possible from my native country.
By talking to friends and travelers, looking through the internet, I thought it might be a good idea to apply for the famous Working Holiday Visa. By choosing to leave my country with a WHV, the list of available countries to visit got shortened.
Then, in order to make my decision, I had to make some conditions for my final choice: An Anglophone country with perspectives for work, a safe place (as I wasn’t an expert traveller at this time), many activities and places to visit for a year or more and beautiful landscapes.
Working Holiday-Australia! And naturally, I chose Australia.
Internet, Facebook and forums became my best friends for few months during my preparation for this experience. I looked up everywhere I could to find information, tips…
My Working Holiday-Australia Planning
My first concern was the budget. To establish how much money I needed before leaving and how much I would need once I arrive in Australia, it was a bit tricky – as everyone on forums said something different.
I calculated the average price of a flight from France to Australia, the cost of the Visa, the minimum amount of money asked by Australian Government and the minimum to live on my first weeks/months in Australia.
Please note this information concerns French Travelers restrictions for the WHV. You’ll find the information concerning your own country on the Australian immigration website.
The application process for the WHV was quite easy. I needed to create an ImmiAccount to access the website first. Then, I filled up the application form. You need to do it carefully as a little mistake could cause the government to refuse your entrance in the country. The form is in English, for those who are not able to understand everything or scared to make a mistake, tutorials are available online (YouTube, Forums…).
The application is usually processed really fast (one or two days for my friends, 1 week for me). Sometimes, the Immigration ask you more information or documents if necessary.
Once the WHV is granted, you have one year to enjoy it and it only starts the day you enter Australia, which is definitely super convenient.
Few months later (September 2015), I landed with my friends in Australia. Nobody at the airport checked for the sufficient funds asked by the government or any other details.
My Working Holiday-Australia: New life has begun
For our 2 first weeks in Australia I’ve booked (in advance) a dormitory in a youth hostel in Perth, Western Australia. I wanted to have a safe and sure place to arrive. The aim during those 2 weeks was to find a flat for rent with my friends, to have a mobile phone line, to get a credit card and do all the paperwork and administrative tasks we may need.
My first impression of Australia was the image of a socially diversified country. Our youth hostel was located in Northbridge (the north part of Perth City) which is a place highly influenced by the Asian culture.
Almost every restaurant and shop were Chinese or Asians. It wasn’t a problem for me as it is a testimony of the immigration in Australia and the proximity of those populations. But of course, I was looking forward to find a typical Australian atmosphere.
During the first two weeks, my second impression was that Australia had a pleasant lifestyle: fantastic weather, streets and public spots really clean, many outdoor activities even in town, swarming shops and restaurants…
My Working Holiday-Australia: Essential
For me, finding a flat to rent and all the process to settle in Australia (Tax File Number, having a phone number, a bank account…) sounded easy and fast.
In maximum 3 weeks, everything was done and settled. Of course, being already fluent has been a huge advantage. If you don’t speak English very well, it gets more complicated, but take it as a challenge. Plus, I found everyone really helpful in banks, shops…
Once installed, getting a job became my first preoccupation. One thing I learned in Australia is that money flies. Indeed, everything looks expensive for a French like me (rent, phone, internet at home, food…). This is why I needed to stop digging in my personal savings meant to be used only for emergencies and my return ticket.
First thing you need is a suitable resume for Australian companies and employers.
This may differ from your own country’s standards. When in France, your resume has to fit on one page and has to be brief, in Australia you need to develop your experience a bit. What matters are your skills, what you’ve done before that could be a benefit for your new work, and if possible recommendations from your past employers.
If you’ve worked abroad like in New Zealand, this may also be an advantage.
To find a job I used the website Gumtree.com.au (which is one of the most useful websites during your WHV: place to live, cars, furniture, jobs…), Indeed.com.au (well known across the world), and social media (as Facebook page “Perth backpackers”).
If you feel confident about speaking and pushing a little bit, it is important to print out some resumes and going door to door in shops, bars, restaurants and asking in order to get to speak to the person in charge.
I noticed there is a huge roll over in terms of employees which is convenient when you are the one.
How new tax system impacts BACKPACKERS in Australia
Australian Taxation department has changed tax rate for Working holiday makers in Australia rezone year
On 1 January 2017, tax rates changed for working holiday makers who are in Australia on a 417 or 462 visa working holiday.
Working Holiday-Australia: What does this mean for BACKPACKERS
If you employ a working holiday maker on a 417 or 462 visa:
- You must register with taxation Australia (ATO) Travellers can withhold the correct tax amount .
- Backpackers should withhold 15% from every dollar earned up to $37,000 with foreign resident tax rates applying from $37,001 of your earns .
- If you don’t register you need to withhold at the foreign resident tax rate of 32.5% from the first dollar earned.
Working Holiday-Australia: Superannuation
What is superannuation in Australia?
Superannuation is a compulsory retirement saving for All Australians or non Australians that is paid by your employer. It is compulsory for employers to pay a minimum of 9.5% of your wages in superannuation if
The person is over 18, and earn more than $450 a month from that employer.
It does not matter if you are working on a permanent base or casual, or if you have a resident status or a non-resident status for tax purposes. Your employer must pay your superannuation for you if you meet the above work statues.
The superannuation paid by your employer is taxed by 15% by the ATO at every end of financial year or every 6 months.
How can Working holiday makers find out more information or withdraw travellers superannuation?
Working holiday makers can ask their employer about which superannuation fund they belong to. (Name of the company) Once you have this information, you can call the superannuation fund with your name, date of birth and other relevant information such as address, name of last employer to find about how much superannuation is in under your account.
Working holiday makers and international students are allowed to withdraw their superannuation if they permanently leave Australia or their visa expires or even when they get deported. The Australian government department of taxation takes out further 35% tax as soon as you apply for the superannuation withdrawal.
You can contact your superannuation fund or a tax professional regarding withdrawal your superannuation. We work with an independent tax adviser who can help you with claiming any refunds you may be entitled too. (Do your own, highly recommended)
Working Holiday-Australia: Looking for a job
The jobs I had during my stay: distributing flyers in the street, door attendant in venues, housekeeping for private, and receptionist for a youth hostel during 6 months (it is my job in France and requires a fluent English and knowledge of tourism and hospitality).
Your Tax File Number will always be asked if you work legally.
This is how you used to have some money back until last year. And this used to be one of the best assets of the WHV in Australia: you go back to your country with a certain amount of money from your Tax back and it’s helpful to start again after your return..
Money is a key during a long trip and a WHV, but the main goal for me was still to travel and discover. Money purposes tend to ruin and denaturalize the very essence of travels, as far as I’m concerned.
My Working Holiday-Australia: Feeling cultures and diversity
I stayed 11 months in Australia (3 months living in tents and doing a road trip across Australia) and during this amazing and unique adventure I met lot of people from all around the world.
Meeting people is certainly one of the most important things while travelling. It helps you in some ways you’d never imagined before: job tips, material help, emotional support, sharing experiences and philosophies.
I made some friends from France, Germany, Netherlands, Korea, Taiwan, Italy, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan… Australia is a diversified country by its permanent immigration but also thanks to WHV and tourist visas that bring plenty of travelers, workers and students every year.
Working Holiday-Australia: Is Meeting New People important??
By meeting people, your English gets better, you learn more about Australia and other countries people have visited. It gives you motivation to travel more and to go to countries you have never thought about before.
It is essential to force yourself to make friends even if you’re shy, not confident about your English skills and even if you already are traveling around with your own friends.
Working Holiday-Australia: My Travel Life
We drove thousands of kilometres, and visited fantastic places: The South West and its tremendous trees, the Northwest with the fantastic Coral Coast, the Outback, the wonderful cities of the southeast and eastern coast…
To conclude, I would definitely recommend Australia as WHV destination for young travelers (limit age is 31 years old) for its breathtaking landscapes, its sweet lifestyle and its work opportunities.
But please remember, this is my own feelings and experience concerning the WHV in Australia. Everyone has to learn from their own perspective but this was the point of view from a French girl who spent 11 months in Australia with a WHV from September 2015 to August 2016.
The Best feeling ever in my life ” Working Holiday-Australia”
Written by Solo Traveller Margaux Ot and Images
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