Backpacking in Australia and New Zealand

There is a lot of worry these days about the tightening of immigration controls in the U.S.A., Australia and New Zealand. How will these changes affect those planning on working holidays? The news is good as far as Australia and New Zealand are concerned – working holiday visas will continue to be made available.

For those thinking of backpacking in either country, here is some info about the working holiday visa. In Australia, the working holiday visa programme is open to anyone under the age of thirty, regardless of skills or qualifications, who wishes to travel and work for a year. A new ‘backpacker tax’ has come into effect which means that those on working holidays will be taxed 15% on earnings up to A$37,000. Also, backpackers will no longer be eligible to be classed as residents for tax purposes. However, the good news is that the following changes have been made to the working holiday visa programme to make a working holiday more available and affordable.

  1. The eligible age limit has been increased from 30 to 35.
  2. The visa application charge will be reduced by A$390 from July 1, 2017.
  3. A backpacker can stay with the same employer for a year (instead of six months) as long as six of those twelve months are spent working in a different location.

It is also worth noting that Australia still has the highest minimum wage in the world.

The New Zealand working holiday scheme is open to anyone aged 18-30 and allows them to live and work in the country for up to a year. As in Australia, the scheme is aimed at those who are primarily in the country for tourism purposes with work being a secondary concern. However, unlike Australia, the visa can be applied for after you arrive in the country.

Australia and New Zealand have long been favourite countries for young Irish backpackers and it is good to see that this tradition will continue. Don’t forget, our backpacker travel insurance policy is ideal for you if you wish to go on a working holiday. Travel interspersed with work is a great way to experience a country but it’s important to be covered with the right insurance. We make it as swift and easy as possible with our online application process.