Hello there and greetings from New York City. I'm in the beginning stages of planning my big huge global trek leaving the end of this year. I want to start in Australia, bum around for a bit, then try to find some work there for a few months, probably in one of the bigger cities, perhaps Sydney. So I've started this thread and would love to hear from people out there who have done the same. I'd love to hear some stories! Also any tips on getting a work visa? I'm from the US and from what I've read it seems to require a different and more limited type of visa. This is my first post, I can't believe I just found this web site, it rocks. Thanks
Well, you're right about the visa... the visa for Americans that is most similar to the working holiday visa is a special visa and can only be obtained through 3 or 4 agencies that I know of, ie. you can't apply for it yourself like for example people in the UK can. Most of the other stipulations are similar, but one of the biggest differences is that it's only valid for 4 months (3 months of working). The three agencies that I know of that can facilitate the visa are BUNAC (biggest), Interexchange and Council (actually these guys might not do it anymore...). Price wise, they all should be pretty much the same I believe.
What tends to happen with Americans that want to stay longer (I lived with 5 or so of them while I was living in Sydney) is that they will leave the country briefly and get a tourist visa for three months. Or, the lucky ones with enough money try and get a 6 month tourist visa (you can get these without leaving the country actually but there's a fee involved). Obviously, legally you can't work anymore once you are on a tourist visa, so after using the first visa for working, the second visa is usually used for the travelling part....
Hope that helps, keep us posted on your plans!
Hi Sam, thanks for the response.. very helpful.
4 months should be plenty of time for me so that wouldnt be a problem. Just curious, is the fee for the American work visa similar to that of the standard working holiday visa? BUNAC's website said something like $550 USD.
Also, what kind of work is common for backpackers in the bigger Australian cities?
The working holiday visa for other countries is roughly 200 AUD if you get it yourself. That visa just isn't an option though for Americans so you can't really compare it (unless you happen to have a Canadian passport in which case you could get that visa using the Canadian passport).
All the organizations that offer the visa in the States offer it as part of a complete package (usually includes airport pickup, orientation, bank account, tax file number, accommodation for a couple of nights, help finding work, services of local partner for the period you are there etc.) The 550 USD would include all of this I presume and it's not a bad deal since it does clear up a lot of the mundane things you otherwise have to sort out for yourself the first week... I actually used to work for BUNAC's partner down under. Not a bad bunch although a little bit worse off now that I am not there, hahaha
Actually Sam you're right, it might not turn out to be such a bad deal if it includes help with those things. This is probably a basic question, but do I need to buy the work visa while in the US? And do you know if the BUNAC visa would allow me to travel around Oz for a month and then start work after that?
Yes, you'll need to get it before leaving. That's the same regardless of country by the way....
And yes again, it allows you to travel for one month. In fact, if you want to you can travel the whole four months on it but then you might as well get a six month tourist visa instead if you're planning that. The only 'work' rule is that you are not allowed to work longer than three months using that visa...
I should be on a commission from Bunac
Sam you are awesome, I can't thank you enough. I'm sure you'll be seeing more posts from me on this board, there's nothing better than hearing experiences and advice from people who have already done this sort of thing. There aren't too many of those here in NYC. Most would laugh at the idea, they are so caught up in their daily routine...
I love NY, but am not sure how I would cope if I was living and working there for very long.... kind of like the laid back atmosphere here in Oslo where I am the 'insane' workaholic type compared to 99% of the Norwegians
Don't get me wrong, NY is an incredible city. It's a scary thing to drop the world especially with all that living here affords me, not to mention my friends and family. And so I thank you for your support. -Brian