There are a number of issues that an employer of Working Holiday Visa (WHV) (Subclass 417) holder should know about. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection allows young people to come to Australia for a holiday and to work to support themselves during their stay through the grant of a Working Holiday Visa (WHV) (Subclass 417). This temporary visa is granted for up to one year and allows people (who are at least 18 but not yet 31 years of age) to holiday, work and study in Australia as long as the main purpose of their stay is the holiday.

Subclass 417 Work Rights

You are responsible for taking reasonable steps to ensure the WHV holder has work rights before and throughout their employment. This responsibility is imposed regardless of whether you interviewed and hired the WHV holder or they were referred to you through an employment agency. You can check their visa details by registering with an online system called Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) which is available on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website.

You will be liable for penalties if you employ a WHV holder without work rights. The applicable penalty depends on your business structure and can include fines or imprisonment.

Licensing, Certification or Registration Requirements

You should also check whether the WHV holder has skills equivalent to the Australian standard where licensing, certification or registration is required for an occupation.

Visa Conditions

It is important to know that a WHV holder is permitted to do any work over the course of their extended holiday in Australia. However, their visa conditions state they are not permitted to work for more than six months with one employer unless they have been given permission by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. This limitation applies to full-time, part-time, casual, shift and voluntary work as well as workplace based training. If the WHV holder breaches this condition or any other visa condition, their visa could be cancelled, and the WHV may have to leave Australia.

Visa Cancellation

You do not have the power to cancel the WHV of your employee.

Address Regional Labour Shortages

If you work in an approved industry, you might want to consider employing a WHV holder to address regional labour shortages. This is because a WHV holder becomes eligible for a second visa if they have completed three months of specified work in regional Australia while on their first WHV. The approved industries include:

  • Plant and animal cultivation;
  • Fishing and pearling;
  • Tree farming and felling;
  • Mining; and
  • Construction.

The work undertaken must be their primary role, function or activity performed during the employment of the WHV holder.

Employer Obligations

You are obligated to provide your employees with pay, conditions and workplace entitlements by the Fair Work Act 2009 or relevant state legislation regardless of whether your employee is a WHV holder or not. These cannot be contracted out of within their Employment Agreement.


Are you interested in employing a WHV holder? Get in touch by sending LegalVision a message or calling 1300 544 755.

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