We are always getting asked what jobs qualify for visa extension. Let’s clarify what work counts for the 2nd year visa extension for 417 and 462 visas.
What’s the deal with visa extension?
Visa extension came about in response to a lack of staff on regional farms. Farmers needed staff and backpackers needed jobs, but backpackers weren’t staying long enough to complete the harvest season on farms.
The government decided to offer an incentive to do farm work. People who complete 88 days of regional work get the option of another year-long working visa as a reward. Farmers get staff and backpackers get to stay longer in Australia; it’s a win-win!
Two Types of Visas – 417 and 462
The 417 Working Holiday visa is available to people between 18-30 from the UK, Ireland, Canada, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Korea, Sweden, Taiwan and Cyprus.
The 462 Work and Holiday visa is available to people between 18-30 from the US, Argentina, Austria, Chile, China, Czeck Republic, Indonesia, Israel, Malaysia, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Peru, Thailand, Turkey, Uruguay, Bangladesh, Luxembourg, San Marino, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Vietnam and Hungary.
The 417 visa has been around for over 40 years. The 462 visa started 10 years ago. For most 462 eligible countries, applicants must meet educational and English language requirements prior to visa approval. Since the 462 visa is harder to get, there are many more people on 417 visas in Australia.
Visa extension work is different for 417 and 462 visas
417 Visa Extension Work
Work that counts for 417 visa extension must be two things: specified work in a regional area.
Specified work is work that is undertaken in a ‘specified’ industry, mostly within agriculture but also some construction and mining work counts. Here is the list of specified work categories.
Regional areas are rural areas outside of major cities. Check out this list of postcodes for eligible areas to complete regional work. All of the Northern Territory, South Australia and Tasmania are regional areas.
462 Visa Extension Work
People on 462 visas were granted the option of visa extension as of November 2016. Before then, there were some sad faces when we had to tell people on this visa that they could not get a 2nd year visa!
Currently, 462 visa holders are eligible for a second year visa by completing 3 months specified work in Northern Australia.
Specified work categories are very similar to those for the 417 visa extension with the addition of tourism and hospitality work. Check out the list of 462 specified work categories
Northern Australia includes all of the Northern Territory and areas of Western Australia and Queensland above the Tropic of Capricorn are classed as Northern Australia. Here is a list of eligible postcodes
Why can people on a 462 visa can do hospitality work for visa extension and not people on a 417 visa?
It’s hard for hospitality and tourism employers in Northern Australia to attract staff for their businesses. It’s remote and can be hot and humid for most of the year. To get more staff, businesses wanted to add hospitality jobs to the list of visa extension work. Many people in the agriculture industry opposed this. They feared backpackers would choose hospitality work over farm work if given the option to do either for visa extension.
The Australian Government came up with a compromise. They offered visa extension to 462 visa holders but only with regional work in Northern Australia. They also included hospitality and tourism work as regional work. Northern tourism employers get more staff but there are still plenty of 417 visa holders motivated to do farm work.
To be clear, working in hospitality at a country pub or roadhouse in a regional area does not count for 417 visa extension.
How do I know for sure if a job counts for visa extension?
All jobs listed The Job Shop website will indicate whether they are eligible for 417 or 462 visa extension. Contact the Department of Home Affairs (formerly named the Department of Immigration) by ringing 131 881 with any questions. Just be ready to wait on hold for a while!