Staying in Australia during the COVID-19 Pandemic

I work in a critical sector for COVID-19 (Agriculture, Food processing, Health care, Aged care, Disability care or Child care)

Working Holiday Maker visas cannot be extended. However, if you have completed three or six months of specified work in Australia, you may be able to apply for a second or third Working Holiday Maker visa.

The Australian Government has introduced new measures in response to COVID-19. Working holiday makers who are employed in critical sectors including agriculture, health, aged and disability care and childcare will be exempt from the six month work limitation with one employer.

Working holiday makers employed in critical sectors who haven’t completed the 3 or 6 months of specified work required to apply for a second or third Working Holiday Maker visa, and are unable to return to their home country can apply for COVID-19 pandemic Temporary Activity Visa (subclass 408) Australian Government Endorsed Agreement Event (AGEE) stream visa and will not incur a visa application charge. This visa will allow you to remain lawfully in Australia, and continue working, should you wish to do so, until it is safe and practicable for you to return to your home country.

To be granted a new visa, you must meet the requirements for that visa, including any age limits, English language, health and character requirements.

Visa condition 8547 — six month work limitation with one employer

Working Holiday Makers can do any kind of work during their stay in Australia, but this is generally limited to six months’ work with any one employer, unless the Department has given permission to work with the same employer for longer than six months.

Working Holiday Makers working in critical sectors, like health, aged care or agriculture have permission from the Department to work for the same employer for longer than six months, on the grounds of exceptional, unforeseen circumstances.

Other situations where Working Holiday Makers have permission from the Department to work for the same employer for longer than six months, include where the work is:

  • in different locations and work in any one location does not exceed six months
  • in plant and animal cultivation anywhere in Australia
  • in certain industries in northern Australia only
  • assisting bushfire recovery efforts.

In any other circumstance, you need to request permission to work with the same employer for longer than 6 months.


Help the Bushfire Recovery

Update on specified work for the 2nd year visa 

The Australian government has announced its plan to expand the conditions of the 2nd year visa. This will allow backpackers on 417 and 462 visas to work in bushfire affected areas, and count this towards the required work for the 2nd year visa.

Find out the additional postcodes you can work in to assist the bushfire recovery, and get the 2nd year visa, see the links below:-

417 visa holders - https://www.thebyte.com.au/bushfire-recovery-areas-under-the-new-whm-417-visa-announcement/

462 visa holders - https://www.thebyte.com.au/bushfire-recovery-areas-under-the-new-whm-462-visa-announcement/


Sydney Mardi Gras Festival 2020

Check out the link below for all you need to know about the outrageous and amazing 2020 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival!

https://www.mardigras.org.au/


Backpackers on Bikes!

For most of us, getting food delivered has become a part of life - a time saving tool that allows us to eat pretty much anything we desire, whenever we want and wherever we are -  and all done at the touch of a button!

The explosion of delivery options in Australia has grown exponentially in the last few years, and now savvy backpackers are using this phenomenon to earn money.

Like food delivery, electric bikes are also now a “thing” and backpackers are using these to work for food delivery companies. With electric bike hire around $90 a week, and on average a delivery rider earning about $30 per hour, you can see how this can be quite an attractive proposition.

What do I need? All you need to do to register as a delivery bike rider is a Passport, International drivers license or ID card, and proof that you have Medicare or other medical insurance. It really is as simple as that.

So, what are you waiting for - get on your (electric) bike!!!


Thrill-seeking > Aussie Style

It has long been stated (mainly by Kiwi’s) that Queenstown is THE place to go for fun, thrills and adventure travel.

Now Australia is set to change all that, with its range of heart pumping, fear inducing and in some cases tear jerking experiences.

Here is our guide to the Top Thrill Seeking experiences in the country - strap yourselves in!

Spine Tingling – The obligatory bungy jump. Put simply, it’s not a gap year unless you have done this! We recommend Cairns as your jump location, and if one is not enough then you can get an unlimited jump pass and try out the 16 different styles of bungy!!

Find out more and book here: - https://www.worktravelcompany.com/product/aj-hackett-australia-bungy-jump/

Heart Racing – Skydive, and leap out of a place from over 15,000ft in the air. Not for the faint-hearted but a hell of a rush!

Find out more and book here: - https://www.worktravelcompany.com/product/airlie-beach-skydivers-tandem-skydive-14000ft/

Fist Pumping – Come face to face with the world’s largest reptile, and get up close and intimate with a 5ft Crocodile! It’s called the cage of death - hopefully you will survive to tell the tale! :-)

Find out more and book here: - https://www.worktravelcompany.com/product/crocosaurus-cove-cage-of-death-2-people-in-cage/

Heart Stopping – Grab your paddle and head to Tully for the best white water rafting in Australasia – yes really! No experience necessary, just don’t eat beforehand.

Find out more and book here: - https://www.worktravelcompany.com/product/raging-thunder-tully-white-water-rafting/

And finally just plain crazy – you can abseil off a 30 metre high rock and find out what sort of stuff you are really made of!! The Blue Mountains is a great place for novice and experienced abseiler’s alike.


Getting into the Christmas Spirit

Sydney’s Countdown to Christmas

If sunshine at Christmas is an alien concept and you are not feeling festive just yet, here are a few yuletide celebrations to get you into the mood to celebrate!!

From Sunday 1st December - Enjoy Christmas Carols under the branches of the Martin Place Xmas Tree (daily from 6pm).

5th December - See the Christmas lights at St Mary’s Cathedral form today until the 25th December.

5th December - Sip a mulled wine and get all your gifts wrapped up in one go at the Rocks Christmas markets.

7th December - Pyrmont Village Christmas Concert.

23rd November until 9th December - Visit the Pop-Up Christmas Carnival at Olympic Park and enjoy games, eateries and festive fun.

14th December - Carols in the Park at Mascot Memorial from 6.30pm.

14th December - Green Square Christmas Fair 6pm to 10pm.

17th December - Carols and Christmas celebrations at Town Hall in Sydney - $19.

25th December - Christmas Day Buffet Lunch Cruise 12pm to 3pm - $169.


The MORE you give the BETTER you feel!

We all want to do things that make us feel good, and giving your time to help others has got to be one of the most rewarding experiences you can have.

It’s an opportunity to give yourself a high five, but most importantly you can give back.

Volunteering can help improve your confidence, meet new people, gain work experience and most important of all  -  do something meaningful… I mean, who wants to spend their working holiday just laying on the beach?

Volunteering in Australia provides some fantastic opportunities to get involved in the local community, and add something extra to your gap year. From feeding the homeless to working at events, utilize your skills to help others.

Here are a few ways to get started:–

https://www.volunteer.com.au

https://govolunteer.com.au

https://www.vinnies.org.au

https://www.salvationarmy.org.au

http://www.sydneyhomelessconnect.com

Another option is to participate in the WWOOF program, where you work 4 hours per day on an organic farm in exchange for food and accommodation. You get rural work experience, cultural exchange and the opportunity to live with an Aussie family.


Digital Detox Time

Although the thought of not being “connected” may strike fear into some, there are a few of us that would love the opportunity to break free from tweets, hashtags and emoji’s. Your working holiday could provide you with just that opportunity.

If you have travelled in any rural location in Australia then you will know that Wi-Fi and phone connection can be patchy at best. Apparently the Aussie telco’s don’t realise that it is 2019 and  compared to Europe we are sadly lacking in the digital department.. One of the downsides of being on the other side of the world we guess.

But, for those of you who are brave enough to undertake a digital detox, here are a few places that have rubbish (or no) connectivity, but are pretty awesome on other ways…

Arkaba Station, South Australia


Committed to conservation and improving the lives of it’s over 5, 000, 000 native inhabitants this stunning bushland provides a mountain habitat for the wildlife residents. Plus, it’s not a bad place for humans either… It proudly states that it has no Wifi, telephones, televisions or mini bars.

So, if sober exclusion is what you are looking for, head to Flinders Ranges in South Australia.

Corinna, Tasmania


Located in the Western wilderness of Australia, where the rainforest meets the coast this remote location will allow your soul to breathe, relax while you get back to nature. This remote mining town is the ideal location to unwind, indulge in bushwalks and reflect on the crystal clear water.

Your devices will be useless, but your time spent here will not disappoint.

West MacDonnell National Park, Northern Territory


Mobile coverage is extremely limited, but your mind will be on the landscape and not the latest releases on Netflix. You may be able to find one bar when hanging off one of the ridges, but the chances are Orminston Gorge will take your breath away, so Snapchat will be the last thing on your mind.


9 Foods you MUST try when you visit Australia

Chicken Parma or Chicken Parmigiana
An Australian Staple in every pub and bistro in the country, the chicken parma is an Aussie take on the Italian classic made with eggplant as the hero base. The Aussie version is crumbed chicken topped with ham tomato sauce and cheese served with a side of salad and chips.

We challenge you to find a pub in the country that doesn't have a Chicken Parma on their menu.


Vegemite

This is one of those Australian foods (condiments) that divides nations and probably causes some civil unrest with travellers when they go back home. There is no in betweens here. You either like it or you hate it.

Its a staple in many Aussie homes and usually eaten with toast for breakfast. Vegimite is one of those Salty, Malty and umami tasting spreads. First timers should try it cheese or avocado and a thin layer of the spread to get used to it and mellow out the strong taste. But this isn't for everyone, but if you want to prove your worth being an Aussie you're going to have to learn to love it, even if it means faking it till your last days in Oz.


Tim Tams

One of Australia's most beloved biscuit items are Tim Tams. Having a Tim Tam with your afternoon Tea is a must when you're in  Australia. Trust us when we say they're amazing. Not only are they super YUM, but they also have their own way of being eaten. Get familiar with the term "The Tim Tam Slam". There are 3 steps to the Tim Tam Slam. And it goes like this;

  1. Bite off opposite corners off
  2. Dip one of the bitten corners into your team
  3. Suck from the other bitten end like a straw and enjoy a burst of chocolaty goodness as your team makes its way through the Tim Tam.

You can thank us later!

This is one of those chocolate biscuits that makes it onto almost everyone's luggage back when they leave the country and if you're not doing it you can be guaranteed someone you know that has been to Australia will be asking for you to bring back a few packets for them.


Pavlova

Probably Australia's most controversial desert not because of it taste or smell but it's origin. Is it Australia's desert or is it New Zealand's desert? This is one of those questions that will be asked till the end of time just like the baklava... which country should rightfully claim it is one of those questions that will be debated forever.

The pavlova is a meringue desert with a crispy outside and a marshmallow centre usually topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit.

ANZAC Biscuits

These biscuits are stooped in history and were made to commemorate the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps (hence ANZAC biscuits). These were made by wives of soldiers who served in the world war. Since then these biscuits have had a place in Aussie food culture. ANZAC biscuits are traditionally made and eaten on ANZAC day where all Australians and New Zealanders take the day to reflect and give thanks to past and present soldiers.

Meat Pie

The humble meat pie... No the most spectacular meat filled pastry but it's one of those quick cheap eats you must eat at the footy (football) when watching a game. Its Australia's version of a hotdog at the baseball. The meat pie is quite simple. Its pastry filled with minced or small chunks of meat and gravy. The best way to eat it is with tomato sauce.


Burger with the Lot

This is one of those menu items you will get at your local takeaway shop. Hands down beats the burgers from popular fast food chains. These burgers are the sloppy, juicy type with some fillings that may seem out of place but they all work. The standard 'The Lot' burger usually comes with beef meat patty, lettuce, tomato, onion, bacon, beetroot, pineapple, sauce and fried egg.

These are the quinte essential hangover burgers if that's your thing.


Kangaroo Meat

Yes, that's not a spelling mistake. You read it correctly, kangaroo meat. A little bit of trivia. The kangaroo is pictured in our coat of arms along with the emu, and with that being said we are the only country in the world that eats an animal on their coat of arms.

Kangaroo meat is somewhat gamey, but for the super health conscious it's a great source of lean meat with very little fat.


Lamingtons

Arguably Australia's national desert or cake the lamington is a simple sponge cake covered in chocolate sauce and desiccated coconut. Some variations also include cream or jam sandwiched between two sponge cakes then the entire thing is covered in chocolate sauce and desiccated coconut.

Traditionally these are also shared and eaten during afternoon tea with a nice cup of tea.

Simple but will easily satisfy any sweet tooth craving you have as a traveller.

Happy eating :)


Third Working Holiday Maker (WHM) visa program

From 1st July 2019, WHM visa holders who carry out 6 months of specified work in regional areas while on their second Working Holiday (subclass 417) visa or Work and Holiday (subclass 462) visa may be eligible to apply for a third visa. Eligible types of work and regional areas will correspond with the requirements for the second visa.

Note: The 6 months work must all be carried out on or after 1st July 2019, so a successful application cannot be lodged before January 2020.

Specified work for the third-year visa are the same as the eligibility for specified work for the second-year visa – see the links below for the list of specified work types:-

https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-listing/work-holiday-417/specified-work

https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-listing/work-holiday-462/specified-462-work

Please refer to the Australian Government – Department of Home Affairs for any further information on these changes, or anything else relating to either the 417 or 462 visa.