Work Limitation for Working Holiday Makers | AMVL Migrations



Working Holiday Maker (Subclass 417) and Work & Holiday Maker (Subclass 462) visas have a work limitation condition 8547 which states: “The holder must not be employed by any 1 employer for more than 6 months, without the prior permission in writing of the Secretary.”


Who is your employer?


A standard employer-employee relationship is easy to understand. Immigration deems your ’employer’ to be the business for which you are directly working – that is, the end user. This means you can be employed by the same labour hire company for more than 6 months, but you cannot work with the company you are placed with (the end user) for more than 6 months.


Similarly, you cannot be self-employed (on an ABN) and solely provide services to the same end user for more than 6 months. This is considered to be an employment relationship.


It is not possible to switch between labour hire companies, employment agencies, or sub-contracting arrangements in order to keep working for the same employer beyond the 6 month period.


Generally, separate businesses (with different ABNs) will be considered different employers, however, if two businesses are closely related (for example, parent company and subsidiary) they may be considered to be the same employer.


How is the 6 months calculated?


The term ‘6 months’ refers to 6 calendar months (i.e. start work on 1 November 2018, the 6 months ends 1 May 2019). If the employment arrangement is ongoing, holiday periods (paid and unpaid leave) are still counted towards the 6 month limit.


However, if you are not in an ongoing employment relationship then you can work for a total of 6 months. For example, if you work for 2 months, then your employment ends and you go travelling or work somewhere else, you could return to the original employer for a further 4 months.


The 6 month limitation applies to all work, regardless of whether it is casual, part-time, or full-time.


However, as the condition is attached to individual visas, the 6 month employment limitation commences again when a bridging visa or second Working Holiday Maker visa comes into effect.


Can the 6 month limit be extended?


It is possible to apply for an extension of the 6 month limit if there are exceptional reasons for doing so, or if you have applied for a further visa that would allow you to work full-time for that employer, such as a TSS, ENS/RSMS, Skilled, or Partner visa.


There are also special arrangements in place for workers in Northern Australia (Northern Territory and those parts of Western Australia and Queensland above the tropic of Capricorn) in the Hospitality, Tourism, Aged Care, Agriculture, Mining and Construction industries.


Further information on the 6 month limitation and extensions can be found on the Department of Home Affairs website.


Important to note


Working for more than 6 months with any employer is a breach of the 8547 condition and can lead to cancellation of your Working Holiday Maker visa. It can also have disastrous effects on any subsequent visa application, particularly as Immigration may not accept work completed in breach of a visa condition (for work experience requirements, or points for skilled migration).


Employers also need to be aware that they can be fined or sanctioned for allowing a person to work in breach of the conditions of their visa. Work rights and limitations can be checked quickly and easily through the Department of Home Affairs Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) system.


If you are a Working Holiday Maker looking to stay in Australia, or an employer looking to sponsor a worker, please do not hesitate to contact us for assistance.