There are a number of ways to get to Australia but one of the most popular ways is with the Working Holiday Visa, which is what I’m currently doing! And it is becoming an increasingly popular way of travelling to Australia so naturally I decided to write a blog to give some advice on how to go about it.
1) The Visa – Obviously the most important step is actually getting the Visa. There are a number of companies out there that offer to effectively do this for you (for a cost), but it is something that is relatively straight forward to apply for yourself through the Australian Department of Immigration website. It is relatively straightforward to complete and costs $365 AUD and typically you will get your visa back within only a few hours. It is all done electronically so you don’t need to keep hold of any paperwork. (Just make sure you keep a record of your Visa Reference number just in case) Also if you only intend to spend a few months in Australia and don’t really intend to work you are better off just doing a travel visa rather than a Working Holiday as it is something you can only do once and you don’t want to waste the opportunity. (A Travel Visa is also significantly cheaper!) The other important thing to remember is that if you live in London then it is likely that you may be asked to get a chest x-ray in order to prove that you don’t have TB, they class London as a high risk area for this. This costs around £95 and you have to get it done by a centre accepted by the Australian government.
2) The Flights – When booking your flights I would leave yourself as much time as possible as typically the earlier that you book your flight the cheaper it is. (Though this is not always the case) One of the best companies to look for flights through is skyscanner where you can get return flight for as little £500 depending on the time of year and how lucky you are. However it is likely that when leaving on a Working Holiday that you will only book a one way flight as it is difficult and potentially problematic further on if you aren’t flexible with your travel plans. The way I came was through Cathay Pacific who offer cheaper flight rates for people under 31. With most airlines that offer this option they only go up to 25 so this was good for me because I’m 25 whereas my girlfriend was 27 which meant that I was looking at an extra £300 for her ticket (about 1/3) of the original fare. Flying with Cathay Pacific also allowed me to have an unlimited stay over in Hong Kong for no extra cost, and it was nice to have that break as it’s a long ass flight, as well giving you the opportunity so see another city in another country! For £600 I found that quite reasonable but it is possible to get it a lot cheaper if you fly at a less busy time of year and fly directly (with multiple long layovers) as I did when I flew to New Zealand last year.
3) Jobs – Unless you have sponsorship for work, which will be the minority of you (and actually means you will probably be entering on a different visa), finding work before you get in to Australia is difficult and generally you will find most employers will ask that you get back in touch when you are actually in the country. However there are some steps you can take to get yourself prepared so you can hit the ground running when you do get to Australia.
a) Do some research on job boards and blogs and get a good idea where to look when you get to Australia in order to find work. Some good sites which I have been using are TAW and Jobs 4 Travellers. Then you can also use the generic ones like Gumtree and Indeed as well as specific agencies for the type of work you are looking for like Adecco for administrative work and Randstad and Sugarman for Childcare.
b) If you are working in Childcare it is very important that you get your qualifications assessed by ACECQA. This can be a bit of a pain as it involves getting some of your certificates counter signed by a solicitor for authenticity and can take a number of weeks to process. So make sure you do this well before you leave as this will hold you up when looking for work especially when working with younger children in nurseries etc. You will also be required to complete a childcare check when you get to Australia so it is important to research this and make sure you take all the necessary documents with you. It is a bit like a DBS but is usually required especially by agencies.