UPDATE: CHANGES COME INTO AFFECT ON 31/08/2015: On the 1st May 2015, Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, announced that the Department of Immigration would be implementing new rules seeing voluntary work removed as work that qualifies for applying for a 2nd Working Holiday Visa (2nd 417).
Thousands of young travellers arrive into Australia annually on Working Holiday Visas and a large majority are choosing to undertake primary industry work (agriculture, mining, pearling, and construction, etc.) in regional areas of Australia for 88 days to qualify for a 2nd Working Holiday Visa.
The average tax refund Down Under is AU$2600
For many years now, a lot of working holidaymakers have opted to undertake voluntary work to meet this requirement, where they would travel to a qualifying region of Australia and in exchange for their board (bed and generally meals), they work on farms, etc. without payment. Many have been happy to do this as they have little or no living costs during their 88 days and are able to apply for their 2nd year visa as a result.
As per the announcement by Minister Cash, the current arrangements can provide an environment where young travellers are agreeing to work in conditions that are less than acceptable in order to secure another visa.
Minister Cash went on to say that, "This Government is resolutely focused on upholding visa integrity and preventing exploitation - these changes will remove the incentive for visa holders to accept substandard conditions."
Free Australia Working Holiday Guide
In Australia, there are two main organisations that connect backpackers with farmers, etc. for these voluntary positions and they are WWOOF and HELPx.
Moving forward from the 31st August 2015, when applying for a 2nd working holiday, visa applicants will be required to submit an official payslip from their employer, demonstrating that they have completed their regional work component.
According to WWOOF, if you are already undertaking a WWOOF work placement on the 31st August and unable to provide payslips for work undertaken from that date, you will not be required to provide them under the new rules, provided there is proof, such as Form 1263, that your placement was already underway on the 31st August 2015.
According to their website, ''specified work performed before 31 August 2015 will not be subject to the new requirement for payslips. Second Working Holiday visa applicants will only need to provide payslip evidence to the Department for specified work performed from 31 August 2015 onwards.''
This change in itself is a big one as working in Taxback.com we see all kinds of pay documents being issued to people when completing their regional work. In many cases we're not able to accept them as they're not official, so moving forward under the new changes working holidaymakers should ensure they are getting official payslips or payment summaries. What I suspect the Department of Immigration will want to see here will be that the employers' details are very clear, including employers full name and ABN (Australian Business Number) so that all can be confirmed.
These changes to the rules on the 2nd year working holiday visas come into effect on the 31st August 2015.
If you're looking for paid work to secure your second year visa, then check out the following article: The top six Job Agencies for Working Holiday Maker jobs Down Under