Let’s just be honest from the outset here, we want the visa but we don’t really want to do the work do we? Well, the specified work required for the 2nd year anyway.
So many of us get to Australia thinking that a year will be enough but the more you stay the more you love it and the more you love it the more you realise you don’t want to leave which leaves the only logical answer-get a 2nd year!
You are also now able to apply for a 3rd year work visa- for this the requirement is 6 months work under the same specifications as the 2nd year visa rural work.
Here at Welcome to Travel not only have we done our farm-work but we’ve also found work for so many people too.
With that in mind we’d like to pass on some free advice.
Let’s start with the logistics…
88 Days may sound a little daunting, but luckily there are a few little loopholes that help you along the way.
If you work 5x days a week on full-time hours then that will count towards 7x days of your 88. Unfortunately it does also mean if you lose a day’s work that week due to rain or illness, only the amount of days you worked can count (fun fun).
With this in mind it is good to give yourself plenty of time to complete your farm work- as in DO NOT leave it till your final 3 months of your 1st year visa- it’ll be super stressful for you trying to jam in the days.
WTT Tip: We recommend doing your farm work in the first 6 months of your 1st year of your WHV.
What’s the difference in rural work if you are on a 417 visa or a 462 visa?
A 417 visa holder will need to complete horticulture or agriculture work in specific rural locations throughout the whole of Australia. It is imperative you check that where you are working will count towards your 2nd year before beginning or you may find yourself needing to head somewhere else to complete the days.
A 462 visa holder will need to work within the tourism or hospitality sector in Northern Australia (Above the Tropic of Capricorn line) for their 88 days.
So what are our top tips?
Research the towns and seasons
Australia’s a very big place, I mean very big. Within this big place there’s a lot of rural work opportunities but where do you go and when?
Farm-work is seasonal and dependent on weather conditions so some fruit grows in more tropical conditions and some in cooler temperatures. You need to know this so you know which places to target.
I’d massively recommend checking out this website and looking at what is in season at the time of year for you. From there you need to….
Call the working hostels in the town
If I am a farmer, the first place I’m going to go to get some workers is the working hostel. There’s no point me creating a job advert and then advertising a job online when I can go to the hostel that I know is full of people ready to work.
This means the working hostels usually have an excellent working relationship with the farmers and they exist purely because of the farm-work visa. They should be helpful to you as to be honest, you’re 3 months rent to them.
When calling the working hostels ask them the following things:
When are the picking seasons?
- If now, how’s the season going?
- How long should the season last?
- Do you help find jobs for people?
- How much is the hostel accommodation a week?
If speaking direct to a farmer you can also enquire:
- Is it paid hourly or piece rate? What is the rate? (What’s Piece Rate? – I’ll go through it below)
- How many days work on average are people getting a week?
- Do I need any certain clothing before arrival?
Get to the town
This is the absolute key bit of advice. I cannot stress this any more.
I know it can feel strange to be moving hours away to work in a town without actually having a job yet. While it may feel the opposite to anything you’ve ever normally done/felt, it’s something you should do.
The reason for this is linked to the previous tip, the working hostels.
The farmers are going to the working hostels for workers and if you’re not in one, you’ll find it hard to get selected. You need to get yourself to the area where the jobs are and be in the thick of it and give yourself the best possible chance of landing work.
There’s also the flipside that the farmers don’t want to be let down. Imagine a scenario where you’re in Melbourne and you speak to a farmer on a Wednesday for a job starting the next Monday. The pay is $25 an hour and you’ve promised you’ll get to Mildura and be there for a 9am Saturday.
On the Friday, farmer near Perth calls you back from an inquiry you sent a month ago, he offers you $35 an hour for an incredible opportunity. 9 times out of 10 you will drop the original farmer and head to Perth leaving the first farmer in Mildura in a terrible position. From then on that farmer will decide to never hire people that are not yet in Mildura, it’s of no advantage to him.
So you’ve reached the hostel, you’ve paid your rent, you’re looking around at this country town and wondering what on earth you’ve decided to do…. And your job offer comes in but how do you decide if it’s a good one?
There are two ways the farmer can pay you. Hourly, which means they pay you by the hour, the same as in a cafe or bar.
The other option is piece rate, what this means is you are paid by how much you pick. This way of payment can be a huge moneymaker once you have had a couple weeks to get good at the job. Don’t fool yourself though the first week will likely be tough with low rewards but you can definitely build it up and actually be earning higher than you would have done per hour. There are still requirements for how much ‘piece rate’ pay must be which you can find HERE.
There’s no doubt it will be nerve-wracking heading to that town with no guarantee of a job, no knowledge of the town and no experience in this kind of job but remember that you’re not alone in this, everyone else is in the same boat, counting down the days so they get the reward of that 2nd year.
Sometimes your farm work will be tough and the days long but keep that reward in your mind and it will be easier.
Also, your farm work will give you some of your friends for life. When you go through harder times with people, it brings you together. Plus, at the end of working 8 hours a day 5 days a week in the sun, you’ll need a beer together!