AUSTRALIA: Changes to Working Holiday Maker Visas for Bushfire Recovery

February 17, 2020

The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) has accepted the recommendation of the Migration Institute of Australia (MIA) to relax and broaden the conditions for holders of Subclass 417 and 462 Working Holiday Maker (WHM) visas to allow them to assist in the recovery efforts following the recent bushfires, without breaching visa conditions.


There are two similar visa categories in the programme – the Working Holiday visa (subclass 417) and the Work and Holiday visa (subclass 462). Each is open to a different group of nationalities, and some requirements differ between the two visa types.


  • The time a WHM can work with the same employer has been extended from six months to twelve months for those assisting with bushfire recovery efforts through a change in policy. This is consistent with arrangements put in place for recovery efforts following Cyclone Debbie in 2017.
  • The definition of “specified work” will be revised for the Work and Holiday Maker (subclass 462) visa to ensure construction work in a disaster-declared area is captured.
  • Paid and volunteer disaster recovery work in areas declared impacted by the recent bushfires will count towards the “specified work” needed to apply for a second or third year 417 or 462 visa.

Our Advice

Employers who may be affected by these changes are encouraged to contact a Newland Chase immigration specialist for case-specific advice.

For general advice and information on immigration and business travel to Australia, please contact us.