Condition 8547 - Working Holiday Visas
Working Holiday Makers (WHM’s) arrive into Australia on either a Subclass 417 (Working Holiday) visa or a Subclass 462 (Work and Holiday) visa. These visas are subject to a mandatory condition 8547. The condition itself is deceptively simple;
“Condition 8547 – The holder must not be employed by any 1 employer for more than 6 months, without the prior permission in writing of the Secretary.”
Meaning of '6 months'...
The 6 months begins to run from the date you begin work or training for your current employer. The condition applies to all work arrangements full-time, part-time or casual. It is not calculated by reference to days or hours worked, but from the date you first entered into an employment relationship with your employer. This period does not need to be continuous, and it is permissible to break up periods of employment. Some breaks will still be classified as employment if they are for example annual or unpaid leave.
For example; Anna works with Brisbane Coffee Pty Ltd as a barista for three months. She then ceases employment completely and takes a road-trip north for four months. After returning to Brisbane she works with Brisbane Coffee again for a further three months. This is permissible under condition 8547.
In comparison, John works as a bartender for Brisbane Bar Pty Ltd for five months. He decides to head north for one month on a road-trip and takes a combined period of paid and unpaid leave. John then returns to work for a further month with Brisbane Bar, but has breached condition 8547.
Your 6 month period resets each time you are granted a Bridging Visa and that visa comes into effect as well as each time you are granted a new Working Holiday Visa.
...and 'One Employer'
The meaning of ‘one employer‘ can become a little murky in the context of the many prevailing work arrangements. Typically the focus by the Department of Home Affairs is on the ‘end-user’. In the most straightforward situation separate businesses operating under different ABN’s may be considered different employers.
In certain arrangements it is permissible to work for the same employer in excess of the 6 month period. This is provided that the ‘end-user’ is different. An arrangement that would fit within this example are WHM’s employed by the same labour hire company or contractor for more than six months, who provide services to different end-users for no more than six months. WHM’s may also be employed by the same employer or ‘end-user’ for more than six months, provided the work is undertaken in different locations and work in any one location does not exceed six months. An example of this may be two businesses that are owned by the same employer.
Those that are self-employed should ensure that they are not providing services to the same end-user for a period exceeding 6 months.
As this area is particularly dependent on context and your personal circumstances, you should seek the advice of a Registered Migration Agent to ensure that your work arrangements are not in breach of the 6-month workplace limitation.
When Permission for Extension isn't Required
In certain circumstances, it is not necessary to seek permission to work for an employer. These circumstances include
- Plant and animal cultivation work anywhere in Australia
- Work in Certain Industries in Northern Australia (e.g. Aged care, Fishing and Pearling, Tree Farming, Construction, Mining, Tourism and Hospitality.)
- Working in relation to the Bushfire recovery efforts.
- Working in different locations for the same employer
Requesting Permission for Extension
In all other cases, you will need to obtain permission from the Department of Home Affairs prior to working in excess of the limitation. Permission can be sought using a Form 1445, and is generally only granted in ‘exceptional circumstances.’
Exceptional Circumstances can include;
- Work undertaken for a very short time, that is critical to the completion of a specialized project
- Performing disaster recovery work
- Remaining in paid employment whilst awaiting an outcome for a visa that would allow you to work full-time e.g. a 482 or Partner visa.
- Other situations on a case by case basis
Breached the Condition?
If you have breached your working holiday visa conditions, you may face discretionary cancellation of your visa on the basis of breaching the conditions of your visa. Cancellation can have serious ramifications on your capacity to apply for a further visa in Australia, or re-enter Australia. If you are facing cancellation on the basis of breaching your visa conditions, you should contact a Migration Agent immediately to clarify your position, as there are strict time frames that will apply.
How We Can Help
These are just a few of the issues that our Registered Migration Agents can assist with:
- Providing advice on whether your work arrangements comply with the 6 month employer limitation
- Advising on a breach of visa conditions
- Outlining how best to use your time on the Working Holiday visa to position yourself for permanent residency.
Our Registered Migration Agents can analyse your circumstances, identify any areas of risk and discuss the most appropriate strategy to meet your goals. They can also assist you in many different ways.