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The Do’s and Don’t's of Farm Work and Visa Extensions – Everything a Backpacker Needs to Know!!

Posted on 24th July 2019 by Jo Lothian

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Many visitors to Australia who successfully acquire a working visa are familiar with farm work. For those who are new to the country, it’s an excellent way to make money, meet new friends for life, and get to know the real and rugged rural Australia. If you already have a year of farm work under your belt, you may be considering applying for another. In addition to securing your second year of farm work, you can now also apply for a third.

We are going to explore how to do this in a safe and effective manner, giving you the peace of mind you need as you pursue your dreams in Australia.

Safety first

You need to prioritise your safety from the moment you begin searching for work. By using a reputable agency, you can avoid environments where you may come to harm, and find a destination that caters to your needs.

Do your research – backpackers journeying into the outback to complete farm work is a well-worn path and there will be lots of information online about areas of Australia best known for hosting travelers who want to extend their stay.  Quite often when you go out to your social media networks you’ll find recommendations of others who’ve had positive (and negative) experiences…. And where possible, plan your travel with a friend or group so you share the regional experience with others and also stay safe!

What’s involved?

Research the criteria you need to meet to be eligible for the 2nd year visa, including working full-time hours and being paid for your work. Your farm work can range from handling the animals to harvesting fruits and vegetables. You might also work as a farm hand.

In total, you need to spend 88 days working on a farm in the Australian outback. Many people who are applying for their second year working visa choose to do all the days in one place so they can spend the rest of their year exploring the country. If you choose to do all your days in one place, you need to know you'll walk away with all the money you've earned. One of the more unfortunate scams involves asking fruit pickers to pay upfront to secure work, and then withholding earned monies. Providing a payment like this isn't necessary, and it may be a warning sign that you won't receive a fair wage for your efforts.

Applying for your second year working visa

Applying for your second year working visa is slightly more complicated than the first. You need to specify the region, job type, and time you’re working for. Your second-year visa also comes with the understanding that you’ll work in a remote area. You’ll venture into the wilderness of Australia’s most rural regions, with the nearest towns being a fair journey away. 

Want to stay even longer?... how to apply for year 3!

As a new initiative that not everyone knows about yet, you can apply for a third year working visa too. It helps to know whether you want to apply for a third year working visa in advance, as this will change what you do in your second year.

To secure your second year working visa alone, you need to do 88 days of work in the first year and then complete your 88 days of remote work in the second. If you want a third year, you need six months’ worth of work in the second year, then again in the third year. To ensure your visa is approved, you need to provide the specifics regarding the region, job type, and time. 

At MAYDAY Recruitment, we recommend finalising these details well in advance of your visa application.

Watch outs….

To avoid delays, watch out for the following signs that a farm may not be legitimate:

  • They ask for a deposit before you begin work
  • They offer a guaranteed earning amount, which is not weather dependent
  • They only provide a PO Box address, not a full address
  • The work they're offering doesn't match the season you'll be working in

The beauty of remote farm work in Australia

Heading into the deep wilderness of Australia may seem alien to some people. It’s an experience you won’t forget, for all the right reasons.

The main benefit is that you’ll be living and working with other backpackers from around the world. You’ll gain a sense of camaraderie that you won’t find elsewhere. If you’re a solo traveller, it’s your chance to forge friendships that will last a lifetime.

Remote farm work in Australia is also lucrative. You save money with the low rent costs, as well as low-cost food. By the time you’re ready to explore the rest of the country, you have plenty of cash to do so.

Although working on a farm in Australia is both lucrative and enriching, you must do what you can to stay safe. Many employers are genuine and fair. However, there have been cases of kidnapping and exploitation in terms of wages. The best way to prevent this from happening is to use a reputable agency that puts your experience and safety first and to do your research before going anywhere.

If you’re looking for work in any of the major Australian cities and are keen to learn more about extending your stay through farm work, call MAYDAY on 8377 5600 or email info@maydayrecruitment.com.

We specialize in office-based roles such as administration, customer service, sales, reception, recruitment, marketing, finance and HR so can help you find work before and after your outback adventures!