Working Holiday Makers (WHMs) will now be able to work for the same employer for longer than 6 months while on the same working holiday visa, as a result of changes to the 6 month work rule introduced on 27 March 2017.
What is changing?
Until now, WHMs were limited by condition 8547 to work for a maximum of 6 months with any one employer. Generally, this required that WHMs work for different employers or businesses (for example, with different ABNs) to comply with the 6 month work restriction.
From 27 March 2017, WHMs can work for the same employer for up to 12 months provided the work is undertaken in different locations and work in any one location does not exceed 6 months.
For example, a front of house manager employed by a hospitality group while holding a Working Holiday Visa can work for 6 months in Establishment A and 6 months in Establishment B where both establishments are operated by the same employer, without being in breach of the 6 month work restriction.
A web developer working in the Sydney office of a digital agency can now undertake a further 6 months in the Melbourne office of the same organisation.
However, working in a different position at the same workplace (for example, changing to a kitchen role after 6 months working in reception of a hotel) would be considered a continuation of employment with the same employer in the same location, and is not permitted under the new rules.
If the WHM extends their working holiday visa for a second 12 month period, then the 6 month work restriction starts again.
In some circumstances, it is possible to request permission from the Department of Immigration for an employee to work beyond 6 months where the employee has lodged an application for a subsequent visa with work rights (for example, a 457 visa). However, these applications can take 2 weeks or more to process, and sometimes extended work rights are not granted until the 457 visa grant itself. The changes to condition 8547 may provide a work-around for some employers.
What you can do
This will be welcome news for employers that hire WHMs to meet demand for short term, casual workers in their business for up to 12 months.
Employers can now employ WHMs for periods of up to 12 months (or longer, subject to extension of the employee’s working holiday visa). Employers and HR teams can now plan to retain these employees where it is possible to deploy them across different properties or branches in different locations.
Working holiday visa holders can also discuss with their employer opportunities for further employment with the same employer in different locations for a further 6 month period.
For further information about visa conditions and work rights for WHMs, please contact us firstname.lastname@example.org