Working Holiday Makers and the 6 Month Rule
Written By Lauren Slack
Fri, Apr 7, 2017
In its latest set of changes, the Department of Immigration and Board Protection (DIBP) has introduced a change to the policy in relation to the 6 month work restriction that applies to Working Holiday visas (subclass 417) and Work and Holiday visas (subclass 462).
Since Working Holiday Maker visas were first introduced, it has always been the policy that work should not be the main purpose of the young person’s stay in Australia. For that reason, a condition applying to the visa - Condition 8547 - sets a limitation of 6 months work with one employer. ‘Employer’ was understood to mean an ‘end user’. For example, it was not allowable for the person to stay at the same desk in the same office - or stand behind the same coffee machine at the same cafe - by moving them on paper from one payroll to another once they had worked for a 6-month period.
In the most recent up-date to its policy, however, a visa holder may now work for the same employer for a combined total of more than 6 months provided the work is undertaken in different locations and work in any one location does not exceed 6 months. Examples include different hotels, resorts or restaurants in the same chain; independently-owned franchises; and separate branches or facilities (such as farms or abattoirs) of the same organisation or business owner.
Note, however, that working in a different position at the same workplace (for example, changing to a cleaning role after initially working for 6 months at reception) would be considered a continuation of employment with the same end user and is not permitted.
Regardless, this is the sort of change that promises to benefit employers in the hospitality sector, particularly where companies may have multiple venues in regional Australia.
This advice is provided by way of general information. As in all immigration matters, it is prudent to take professional advice on how it may apply in relation to a specific case.
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