Hi! I could really use some solid advice from those in the know, or who have done it before/are doing it now.
My boyfriend and I are looking for some regional work in Australia. We're in Brisbane just now and are happy to travel anywhere.
A bit of background info - we were staying for free (woo!) with family in Melbourne, and shot off to Bundaberg with a job offer. The job fell through, so we came back as far as Brisbane, but we're slowly running out of money - the trip to Bundy cost a lot at short notice. We can afford to move again, but if a job falls through again then we'll be stuck.
So far we're trying to locate work, apply and then we'll go when the offers come in, but that's not worked. We're not getting any replies at all, and I think it's because there are so many people in our situation. We don't have skills or farming experience, although we're hard working and fit and healthy.
We have looked at some working hostels, but they look dire for the most part. We feel like a good working hostel would be a good move, but are scared to take the leap and be let down again. Can anyone recommend a good one? Anywhere is good!
Also, does anyone have any recommendations of agencies to help find work? We've heard to steer clear of Harvest Hoppers. They said if we paid $85 each, we'd be guaranteed this job, but it might be gone later, and we'd have to pay $150 a week plus $50 deposit each for a hostel and we might have to wait for the work to start. They wouldn't tell me the name of the hostel before we forked out, which really put me off - I could pay all that and it could be a hellhole with no jobs!
We've been on Gumtree (of course), farmwork.tv (paid $15 for that pleasuse), called farms direct, looked at working hostel reviews and been thoroughly put off, called friends of friends who own a farm, and we just don't know what to do now.
We're pretty desperate now! We'll take any kind of work. We need somethig that's paid OR has bed and board included, preferably with a small renumeration so we can prove we did the work, and we'd like to stay together. Paying off the farmer or lying is not an option for us, as one day we'd like to apply for residency (we can't do this right now as we're not on the list of skilled jobs - WHV is the best option for now, as long as we get this bl***y extension).
So any advice on harvests, farms to call, decent working hostels, job agencies or new avenues to try, I'd really appreciate it!! Thanks, and I hope you're enjoying your travels!
Have you tried wwoof-ing yet? Not paid but bed and board included
Thanks for your reply!
We've applied for lots of work that propose a similar situation to wwoof-ing (no pay, bed and board) but we haven't signed up and bought the book yet. I guess that might be one I have to get over - it irks me that I need to pay for the pleasure of working for free to produce products that are sold for a fortune ...? But anything for the visa I suppose. I'd rather exhaust all other avenues first.
It also causes problems with proving we've done the work - immigration suggest you don't do voluntary work, as you may be asked to provide financial proof of work, including receipts to show you were in the area. So we planned to ask anyone who hired us on a voluntary basis to not buy food for us, but give us money to buy our own. I'm not sure how well this would go down in the wwoof-ing community, what do you think?
I have not gone WWOOFing myself but I think it's important to understand the membership fee is the only way hosts have of safeguarding themselves and their family. There are no police checks performed on volunteers and the WWOOF membership ID, which they have to record as part of the program, is the only way they can have any sense of security about opening their homes to strangers.
Many hosts are also small hobby farms and in fact, some are run only to sustain the family, not to grow produce for public consumption or turn a profit.
A portion of each membership fee goes towards an insurance policy for registered WWOOFers while on a registered WWOOF host property. Hosts also pay their own annual fee to be part of the program.
DIAC don't necessarily suggest not to volunteer, they merely advise it is preferable to have wages paid directly into an Australian bank account so the application can be processed smoothly.
With no wages or accommodation bookings, it can be difficult to verify a traveller was working in the location for the specified period. So, it is advisable to collect as many receipts and other proof as possible: keep the train/bus tickets to get to the farm; if possible make bank withdrawals in the local town and keep ATM receipts; get mail addressed to you at the property; travel in the region on your days off and keep food, entertainment, and transport receipts. Your hosts will have to sign the paperwork as well, so they can always be contacted for further clarification but DIAC needs proof you were there.
For that matter, some wwofers do explicitly say that they will help with WHM visa extensions so unless they are rogues luring unsuspecting tourists, t is highly unlikely they would not help you with it.
My personal opinion is to get out into the countryside and get whatever job they have and on their terms even if it is just volunteering since you would still be closer to the action and could then enquire about paid jobs nearby.
I don't know if you would also like to try hitch hiking to reduce travel costs once you are out of the cities. It's alot safer than you think and not to mention you have your bf with you