Thursday, 31 March 2022
Media release

Working Holiday Makers to support flood recovery

The Australian Government is making changes to encourage Working Holiday Makers (WHMs) to support communities affected by the catastrophic flood disasters in northern New South Wales and Queensland.

Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs Alex Hawke announced that WHMs supporting flood recovery efforts since January 2022 will be able to count this work when applying for second and third WHM visas from mid-2022.

“The Australian Government is committed to supporting the northern New South Wales and Queensland communities affected by the flood disaster through new recovery work arrangements,” Minister Hawke said.

“Working Holiday (subclass 417) or Work and Holiday (subclass 462) visa holders will be able to count paid and volunteer flood recovery work in declared areas as ‘specified work’ for the purpose of applying for a second or third WHM visa.

“This means more Australians will be able to benefit from the skills and support of WHMs as they work to restore their flood affected homes and communities.”

This announcement is in addition to a range of other visa options and measures that are already in place to support Australia’s post-pandemic recovery and flood recovery efforts, including:

  • The Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) (subclass 400) visa allows for short-term, highly specialised, non-ongoing work where the skills, knowledge or experience cannot reasonably be found in the Australian labour market. This visa provides priority processing where the applicant can demonstrate they are assisting with the response to a natural disaster.
  • The Temporary Skill Shortage visa (subclass 482) allows Australian employers to hire overseas skilled workers where they are unable to find suitably qualified Australian workers.
  • Temporary Activity (subclass 408) Australian Government endorsed events (COVID-19 Pandemic event) visa eligibility has been broadened, allowing extended stays of between 6 and 12 months for temporary visa holders working or intending to work in any sector – including flood recovery work.
  • From January to December 2022, WHMs can work in any sector for more than 6 months with the same employer without requesting permission.
  • Work limitations for international students have been temporarily relaxed since January 2022 and will be reviewed in April 2022.

Information on eligible kinds of flood recovery work and when it will be possible to lodge applications will be published on the Department of Home Affairs’ website.