I read this storey @ http://www.victorborg.com/html/hungry_travellers_in_australia.html
and I really think that it sounds far fetched and probably isn't acurate but I just want to hear from some people that have done the working holiday thing. How hard was it to find work and were you treated well?
Interesting piece, that's for sure.
What is true (in my own opinion only of course) is that yes, it can be hard to find work in Australia. Especially depending on the time of year and place you are. The cities are the hardest, as there are plenty of other job seekers there who don't have visa limitations also searching for work there. Also, months like Dec to Feb in cities like Sydney and Melbourne it's going to be exceptionally hard with summer holidays going on for Australian students.
What the story fails to mention in full is the amount of travellers who don't stay in the city. Most backpackers I know make the bulk of their money working on farms or fruit picking. Why? Because salaries are pretty much the same as doing backpacker work in the cities but there is a lot less to spend it on. Accommodation is cheap (or free depending on the farm) and there is a lot less partying going on (this cuts heavily into most backpackers budget ). Also, the whole point for so many travellers is to actually see something of Australia and working on farms and such is a much more interesting and different experience than working in a city which is what most of the travellers are trying to get away from in the first place. I don't agree with the broad assesment that travellers on whm visas are treated terribly, because in general they aren't. Employers do have businesses to run however and especially in the cities are more sceptical of hiring travellers based on past experiences. And I am sure there are a few that are treated in the manner explained in the article but travel writing is less interesting if you explain that 95-99% of the backpackers have the time of their lives and consider it an experience not worth missing for anything
I totally agree it's best to save up money before you go down. That way, if you end up finding there is no work at that time of year, you can either go to where there is work, or travel for a few months and come back when there is more work.
The tax issue is tricky.... most backpackers still file for full tax returns even though the tax office officially discourages this. And I know a lot of backpackers that get back every single penny paid in tax that way....
It's definitely not as bad as it seems from that article but yes, it can be tricky to find work so if that is your primary objective you are probably better off staying at home....
Was just reading your reply and saw your comments about tax. Just wondering how filing for full tax returns works as I'm going out on a WHM visa in a few days?
Do you still get a TFN and then claim back at the end of the year as well?
Also how quickly can a TFN be issued as I'm going to be moving around quite a lot for the first few weeks and you need an address in Oz from what I can see?
Thanks for your help,
You can only file for your tax return after you have spent your time in Australia. Most accountants that do this advertise pretty actively in backpacker mags like TNT and don't charge a fee upfront but take a percentage or fixed fee out of any tax return that they arrange. They usually tell you after looking at your papers whether you will be able to get any money back or not. Main thing is to keep hold of these things if you want to apply for money back:
-Contact details of all of your employers
-Tax File Number
-Superannuation details (if known)
-Payment summary or group certificate (if received). A payment summary or group certificate is a summary of how much you have earned and taxed overall within a company.
You might also be able to get superannuation money back (retirement funds which every employer has to pay regardless of whether the employee is a backpacker or not) these days but that's a bit more tricky. The same accountants will probably be able to help you there.
You always need a TFN if you want to be taxed at the normal 29% tax rate. If you don't have one and you work, you could be taxed at 49% (I think that's the rate, could also be 47).
TFN's take about 4 weeks to process but you'll get a slip of paper when you apply for yours that substitutes for one while you are waiting for the real one. You'll need an address to have it mailed to though.
Thanks very much for the info - much appreciated.