Lets Farm: 88 days of fun or hell?
Have you spent your first year of working holiday? Time is flying, isn’t it? Have you heard stories about farm work? Maybe some good and maybe some not so good?
Remember to take each story with a pinch of salt and do your own research before you commit to anything.
You may very well be just like many others, the thought of going back home after a year is scary, the Australian lifestyle has showed its best side with one sunset better than the next, pristine waters and miles long beaches. We understand that you want to stay longer, who wouldn’t want to?
A lot of people in the Let’s Go Planet network have had personal experiences with farm work so we are more than happy to give you the good and the bad based on personal experiences.
Working Holiday Visa (Subclass 417) holders can undertake 88 days of ‘specified work’ in regionals area of Australia, during your first year of stay to then qualify to apply for a second year of visa. You must be aged between 18 and 30 (inclusive) years old at the time of applying. If you apply within Australia you must still be in Australia when your visa is granted and if you apply from overseas you must be outside of Australia upon grant notice of your visa.
The rules are quite straight forward, you complete 88 days of qualified work in a qualified area, contact a team member from Let’s Go Planet and we will give you all necessary information on specific areas and specific work that you can do. So is it 88 days of fun or 88 days of hell?
As with anything, people have different opinions based on their experiences and their perception. Here is some information that can be useful before you plan anything;
Start looking for your second-year visa work early rather than waiting to last minute, we are all procrastinators at times but as you already know, Australia has a lot of people that each year apply for regional work and if you delay your search you may miss out on opportunities but the other fact is that in the work itself is heavily weather dependent. If the weather doesn’t allow you to work, those 88 days can very well be stretched and take a lot longer
than expected, so don’t leave exact 3 months of your visa to do the work, give yourself some margin.
How you calculate the time is straight forward but very important to keep track of. Three months means three ‘calendar’ months or 88 days. The work you do can either be done in one block with the one specific business or in separate blocks with one business or a number of businesses, your choice.
The wage for farm work should be a minimum of; “For picking fruit or vegetables, or pruning, you should be paid at least $22.86 an hour if you’re working on a casual hourly basis. Source; fairwork.gov.au. We have experienced that the money people earn vary a lot, with a lot of different strategies from farm owners. We really urge you to be aware of this prior to any agreed work, feel free to reach out to Let’s Go Planet for any questions or recommendations. There will be farms that continuously trying to find loopholes to work around the rules, overcharge for accommodation, living costs, unrealistic targets or unfair hours, be aware. It was common in the past that farmers would have people working for just a short time but ‘sign off’ 88 days of work, however half way through 2015, the government added criteria that the applicant has to send through payslips, so make sure that the farm you work for provide you with these so you can complete the application. When looking for work, make sure you have accommodation either onsite, or at a nearby town and the transport between accommodation and work site is easy and can be done daily. Please do not assume that this is taken care of, find it out. Check the map to see how convenient shopping for necessities are, you will most likely need to be stocked up with sunscreen and insect repellent.
Do you associate regional work with fruit picking? Most people do. It is the most common and most likely the easiest to find. However, as the regional work you do is specified by postcodes, there might be a chance for you to escape the sand and dirt to do more hospitality, customer service or administrative orientated work. You have to be early to get your best pick.
As mentioned earlier, everyone has different opinions and experiences. Overall, the feedback over the years has been that if you do your research about what options of work you have, what areas you can work at and arrive with an open mind to learn, experience and fully immerse into the farm work life, you can end your 88 days with a bag of positive experiences that you can have with you in life forever. However, we have obviously heard and in some cases experienced the other side as well, those days of stinking hot temperatures, sunburn although you are covered by layers of clothes, sore back, dirt and farmland as long as the eye can see. Feel free to contact us and we can certainly introduce you to hand selected partners in the industry of regional work that we know do the right thing, treat employees the right way and provide a pleasant experience.
With anything in life, if you have a goal and a purpose for what you are doing, you will have a different perception and you will go through day to day with ease compare to if each and every day you wake up, is seen as just another day of hell. Change your perception and you change everything.
If you are planning on doing regional work for a potential second year working holiday visa or if you have already done it, please feel free to reach out and we can help you with the whole process. We want to be the support for you to keep experience this one of a kind country and have more of those bluebird days on a picture-perfect beach.
Contact us or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org