Visa info for Hosts

VISA REGULATIONS

There are important visa regulations regarding work that WWOOF Hosts need to be aware of. The Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP, formerly DIAC) allows visitors to Australia to WWOOF on Student, Visitor (formerly Tourist) and Working Holiday Visas.

Work is defined by DIBP as, "an activity that, in Australia, normally attracts remuneration". This means any activity that normally attracts payment, irrespective of whether you are paying money or giving some other kind of reward, (eg food and accommodation) it is still deemed to be work. If you are going to offer "work" as defined by DIBP you must ensure the WWOOFer has a visa that entitles them to "work". You can check this by ensuring their visa/passport is stamped appropriately. If they possess a Working Holiday Visa (WHV), 6 months is the maximum time they are allowed to work at any one establishment.

If you need to check on a WWOOFers visa there is a free, online facility, VEVO, that allows an employer to check visa entitlements of a non-Australian passport holders' visa. You need to register to use VEVO and will need the WWOOFers permission to check their visa details. You will need their: name, date of birth, passport number and passport country of issue.

IMPORTANT NOTE: DIBP change the rules from time to time about what activities are allowed on visas, it is important to confirm with DIBP that the type of visa your WWOOFer holds does allow volunteering in exchange for food and accommodation.

VISA Information

Visitor (Tourist) Visas and Student Visas

IMPORTANT NOTE: DIBP change the rules from time to time about what activities are allowed on visas, it is important to confirm with DIBP that the type of visa your WWOOFer holds does allow volunteering in exchange for food and accommodation. The information below is from DIBP's website as at January 2014, but can change any time.

WWOOFers with a Visitor Visa (Tourist stream), Electronic Travel Authority (subclass 601), an eVisitor (subclass 651) or Student Visa must not do any work that would normally be done by a paid worker, but are allowed to do voluntary work in exchange for their meals and accommodation. WWOOFing must be a part of their holiday, not the main reason for it. WWOOFers on this visa should do work that a Host would not normally pay someone to do. On Visitor visas any work must be genuinely voluntary and must be work that would not otherwise be undertaken by an Australian resident. This principle also applies for those intending to undertake WWOOFing with commercial operators (such as large organic beef farms). DIBP say that WWOOFers on a Tourist visa need to be careful about the Hosts they visit as commercial Hosts are more likely to give them work that they may consider is in breach of the conditions of their visa, so we now recommend they consider WWOOFing mainly on non commercial properties, hobby farms etc. WWOOFers undertaking work with commercial organisations risk being in breach of Visitor visa conditions which do not permit work. The Visitor visa does not offer the wide scope of options that are available to those who are holders of Working Holiday or Work and Holiday visas which permit work.

Visitor visa (subclass 600) Tourist stream

DIBP say this about Visitor Visas - Tourist stream:

This visa lets you:

  • have a holiday or visit family and friends in Australia
  • study in Australia for up to three months
  • work as a genuine unpaid volunteer, but only if an Australian resident would not otherwise be paid to do the work (you can be reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses such as meals and accommodation).
  • See Visitor visa (subclass 600) Tourist stream, on the Visa Holders tab, under the Heading What this visa lets you do

    eVisitor (subclass 651)

    DIBP say this about eVisitor Visas (subclass 651):

    Volunteer work tourism schemes

    In general, an eVisitor does not allow you to work in Australia. However, you may be able to work as a volunteer if:

  • your main purpose in visiting Australia is tourism, and the voluntary work is incidental to tourism
  • the work is genuinely voluntary and you are not paid for it, other than for meals, accommodation or out-of-pocket living expenses
  • the work would not otherwise be done in return for wages by an Australian resident.
  • See eVisitor Visas (subclass 651), on the About eVisitor Holders tab, under the Heading What the eVisitor lets you do

    Can I work as a volunteer while on an eVisitor?

  • Voluntary work is only allowed on tourist eVisitor in very limited circumstances. You may be able to work as a volunteer whilst on a tourist eVisitor if:
  • your main purpose in visiting Australia is tourism, and any voluntary work remains incidental to tourism,
  • the work involved would not otherwise be undertaken, in return for wages, by an Australian resident, or
  • the work is genuinely voluntary and no remuneration is received in return for the activities. It is acceptable, under the conditions of an eVisitor, to receive meals, accommodation and/ or reimbursement of out-of-pocket living expenses in return for voluntary work.
  • Working Holiday Visas

    WWOOFing IS allowed on ALL Working Holiday Visas!

    The Department of Immigration and Border Protection say:

    “In recognition of the many legitimate and worthwhile agencies that employ volunteer workers to deliver valuable community services, Working Holiday visa holders will still be able to perform volunteer work should they wish to do so. The work will simply not count towards eligibility for a second visa.”

    The Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) say "The primary aim of the Working Holiday Visa is a cultural exchange between reciprocal countries through an extended holiday with short term work to supplement funds."

    Most WWOOFers travel on a Working Holiday Visa, they are allowed to work or volunteer for a maximum of 6 months for any one establishment. Many of these WWOOFers are working towards qualifying for a one year visa extension.

    2nd Working Holiday Visa Extensions

    WWOOFing IS allowed on ALL Working Holiday Visas!

    The Department of Immigration and Border Protection say:

    “In recognition of the many legitimate and worthwhile agencies that employ volunteer workers to deliver valuable community services, Working Holiday visa holders will still be able to perform volunteer work should they wish to do so. The work will simply not count towards eligibility for a second visa.”

    IMPORTANT! Changes to rules for Second Working Holiday Visa applications came into effect on 31/8/2015.

    Volunteer work no longer counts towards the 88 days needed for visa extension applications unless WWOOFers were already with a WWOOF Host or had pre-arranged a WWOOFing stay with a Host. In these cases days can be counted until 30th November 2015 only.

    Please click on Second Working Holiday Visa bar below for more details

    IMPORTANT! Changes to rules for Second Working Holiday Visas came into effect on 31/8/2015.

    Volunteer work no longer counts towards visa extensions unless WWOOFerswere already with a WWOOF Host or had pre-arranged a WWOOFing stay with a Host. In these cases days can be counted until 30th November 2015 only.

    A Press Release was issued on 1/5/2015 by the Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection stating that volunteering would no longer be counted towards Second Working HolidayVisa Extensions. If you are a current WWOOF member, please check the WWOOF Forum for updates. Also see the facebook pages started by a WWOOFer & Host: Senator Cash. Volunteering is NOT exploitation. and Keep Wwoofing as 2nd Year Visa Work - Australia

    UPDATE 28/4/2016

    The Senate Education and Employment References Committee has handed down their Report and Recommendations, unfortunately they have not addressed the issue of volunteering in their recommendations. however the Greens additional comments at the end of the report say:

    1.6 Overall we support the recommendations in the committee report, with minor additions and changes.

    Recommendations ...

    1.9 Replace Recommendation 10 with:

    The committee recommends that the reconstituted MACSM review the Working Holiday Maker (417 and 462) visa program. The review should include, but not be limited to, an examination of the costs and benefits of the continued operation of the optional second year extension to the visa, the costs and benefits of providing government with the ability to set a cap on the numbers of Working Holiday Maker program visas issued in any given year and whether volunteer work should contribute to eligibility for a second year visa.

    We are yet to hear if the Greens alterations will be adopted.

    UPDATE 26/11/15

    On Friday the 20th of November 2015 The Senate Education and Employment References Committee held a Public Hearing in Melbourne about The impact of Australia's temporary work visa programs on the Australian labour market and on the temporary work visa holders. (Transcript now available)

    Present at the Hearing were: Chair Senator Sue Lines, Australian Labor Party , WA; Deputy Chair: Senator Bridget McKenzie, The Nationals , VIC; Senator Deborah O'Neill, Australian Labor Party, NSW; Senator Janet Rice, Australian Greens , VIC

    Traci Wilson-Brown, Office Manager for WWOOF Australia, was invited to attend this hearing as a witness to advise the Committee of the impact on the WWOOF Program of the recent change to the eligibility framework for the 2nd Working Holiday visa program.

    Traci gave an outline of the WWOOF Program and spoke about the impact on the WWOOF Program, Hosts and volunteers of the recent changes. Each Senator then asked a series of questions.

    Many questions were asked about the WWOOF complaints process and how WWOOF ensured no criminals were in our program.... Senator O'Neill commented that people who weren't part of our program did not have a Complaints process or an organisation like WWOOF to help them, only Fair Work Australia who were overstretched and may not have the funding to cope with the volume of complaints they had to investigate.

    The Senators said they had heard some terrible stories and they knew that the criminal elements who ran labour hire companies were extremely clever & ready to exploit the tiniest loophole if they could find one and they we're not prepared to allow them to do this. Senator McKenzie asked what WWOOF would recommend to allow our volunteers to be part of the Second year visa eligibility framework without letting these criminals back in? Traci suggested the Government approve specific volunteer programs, with guidelines for Hosts and volunteers and complaints processes that Government had scrutinised and found were rigorous enough to meet their approval.

    Janet Rice's facebook page post talks about the Senate Hearing, this was also covered by the Weekly Times

    It was an excellent opportunity to have the WWOOF issue heard. We acknowledge and thank Janet Rice for her assistance to facilitate this and hope the Senate Committee will make positive recommendations to government to include our program in the eligibility framework for 2nd Working Holiday visas once again.

    UPDATE 25/9/15

    Following concerns from Hosts and WWOOFers, WWOOF Pty Ltd wrote to the Department and they have agreed to extend the cut off date for WWOOFers to the 30th of November 2015. All work done from December 1 onward will require pay slips. See email below:

    WWOOF is continuing to lobby the government on this issue and will advise here if any further changes occur.

    From: Peter DALEY On Behalf Of WHM Policy Enquiries
    Sent: Friday, 25 September 2015 3:51 PM
    To: WWOOF Pty Ltd
    Subject: RE: second Working Holiday visa [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]

    UNCLASSIFIED

    Dear WWOOF Pty Ltd

    Thanks for taking the time to raise WWOOF’s concerns with us.

    The Department appreciates that the requirement for applicants to provide payslips as evidence of their specified work is challenging for WWOOF operators and is causing some to re-examine their business practices. The transitional period is intended to assist WWOOF operators in this.

    I have discussed with colleagues who deal with relevant administrative issues and the Department proposes to extend the transitional arrangements until the end of November. Pay slips will need to be provided to the Department for all specified work done after 1 December 2015.

    Our website will be updated next week to reflect this.

    Regards

    Peter Daley, Tourism Policy Section

    UPDATE 15/9/2015

    On the 10th of September as part of the Australian Women in Agriculture Delegation, Traci Wilson-Brown, Office Manager for WWOOF Pty Ltd and WWOOF Host Carolyn Hill, met with Nicole Masters, Chief of Staff and Mike Ferguson from the Office of the Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash.
    The WWOOF Petition was presented along with the WWOOF Issues Paper and Appendix. The Issue of volunteering for the second Working Holiday Visa was discussed at length.

    The Issues paper was also presented to and discussed with the following: The Hon Barnaby Joyce's Adviser, Judith Laffan; Michelle Rowland MP, Shadow Assistant Minister for Communications:Senator Larissa Waters; Senator Janet Rice; Senator Whish-Wilson's Policy and Parliamentary Advisor, Fraser Brindley; Senator Rachel Siewert; Ms Cathy McGowan AO MP and The Hon Warren Truss Minister for Infrastructure and Transport. A number of other Members of Parliament will be sent a copy and appointments are being made to discuss the Issue in detail.

    We will update this page and the WWOOF Forum if any changes come about following our discussions.

    New information on the DIBP website regarding temporary transition arrangements now include an end date, 19th November 2015.

    "Temporary transitional arrangements

    The Department acknowledges that some participants will be in the middle of a work placement on 31 August 2015, and might be unable to provide pay slips for work undertaken on/around that date. In this scenario, pay slips will not be required, provided it is clear from the dates on the participant's specified work supporting documentation (such as Form1263) that the placement was already underway on 31 August 2015.

    Example:
    A client who commenced volunteer work (or WWOOF work) for an employer on 15 August 2015, was still working for that same employer on 31 August 2015, and did not conclude their volunteer (or WWOOF) work with that same employer until 24 September 2015.
    Outcome: A client in this situation would not be required to provide any pay slips for any of the specified work they performed for that employer from 15 August 2015 to 24 September 2015.
    Note: These temporary transitional arrangements will conclude on 19 November 2015 (Note on 25/9/15 this was changed to 30 November 2015). All specified work performed from 20 November 2015 (Note on 25/9/15 this was changed to 1 December 2015) onward will need to be paid work with pay slips provided as evidence, regardless of whether a participant commenced working for their employer before 31 August 2015."

    UPDATE 27/8/15

    UNCLASSIFIED
    Dear WWOOF,

    We would like to provide a further clarification regarding the Department’s treatment of WWOOF placements which are midstream on 31 August 2015.
    The revised text in bold below outlines the nature of the change. Let us know if you have any questions regarding it.

    The Department acknowledges that some participants will be in the middle of a WWOOF work placement on 31 August, and may be unable to provide pay slips for work undertaken from that date. In this scenario, pay slips will not be required, and no explanation is needed provided its clear from the dates on the participant’s specified work supporting documentation (such as Form 1263) that the placement was already underway on 31 August 2015.

    Regards,

    Alice Summers
    Director, Tourism Policy Section
    Economic Policy Branch | Immigration and Citizenship Policy Division
    Policy Group
    Department of Immigration and Border Protection

    UPDATE 26/8/15

    Following our recent emails phone calls to DIBP regarding volunteer work for the second Working Holiday initiative, we have just received the following response to the issues which have been raised:

    What’s the nature of the change?
    * All specified work performed by participants in the second Working Holiday (subclass 417) visa initiative will need to be paid work, with pay slips provided to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (the Department) as evidence when the participant applies for their second Working Holiday visa.

    What’s the date of effect?
    * All specified work performed from 31 August 2015 onwards will require pay slips as evidence of lawful remuneration.

    What about work performed before 31 August 2015?
    * Specified work performed before 31 August 2015 will not be subject to the new requirement for pay slips. Second Working Holiday visa applicants will only need to provide pay slip evidence to the Department for specified work performed from 31 August 2015 onwards.
    * For example, a participant applying for a second Working Holiday visa on 30 September 2015 will only need to provide pay slips covering any specified work performed between 31 August and 30 September. The participant can include specified work they have undertaken before 31 August 2015 in their application without needing to provide pay slips for this work.

    How will the Department assess WWOOF work placements which are midstream on 31 August 2015?
    * The Government has made clear the principle that all specified work undertaken from 31 August should include ***pay slips, and no general exemptions are provided.
    * The Department acknowledges that some participants will be in the middle of a WWOOF work placement on 31 August, and may be unable to provide pay slips for work undertaken from that date. In this scenario the WWOOF host should provide an explanatory letter to the participant, which they in turn can provide to the Department with their second Working Holiday visa application. The Department will assess these circumstances on a case by case basis.

    How will the Department assess WWOOF work placements which have already been pre-arranged but not commenced by 31 August 2015?
    * All specified work undertaken from 31 August should include ***pay slips, and no general exemptions are provided.
    * As above, the Department will assess these circumstances on a case by case basis. An explanatory letter from the WWOOF host should be provided to the participant, which they in turn can provide to the Department with their second Working Holiday visa application.

    How do applicants provide pay slips and other supporting documentation to the Department?
    * Electronic copies of evidence can be uploaded as attachments to their online second Working Holiday visa application, or hardcopies can be provided with their paper application.
    * How will a participant know what they should be paid?
    * Australian rates of pay can be found on the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website at: Find Your Award

    Are pay slips optional for employers?
    No. All employers must provide their employees with pay slips: Pay-slips

    What about Form 1263?
    * Employment Verification Form 1263 will remain an option for participants and employers to complete. However, pay slips covering any specified work undertaken from 31 August 2015 onwards will also need to be submitted in conjunction with the Form 1263.

    Yours Sincerely

    Alice Summers

    Director, Tourism Policy Section

    Dept of Immigration & Border Protection

    *** WWOOF has proposed a 'Volunteer Pay Slip' and asked Alice to confirm if this will be acceptable, see below for her response . In the interim there is a sample available for Hosts to download from the WWOOF Forum.

    This is the response we received from the Department: "Pay slips will need to show that the worker has been remunerated in accordance with Australian pay rates, so a ‘nil payment’ pay slip won’t be satisfactory. Our service centre staff have been informed of this and WWOOF hosts calling in won’t be given this incorrect information again".

    WWOOF Australia has initiated a Petition on change.org and we invite all WWOOFers and Hosts to sign this petition and share the link with any past and present WWOOFers and Hosts, the more signatures we get the more likely we are to have these changes dropped.

    UPDATE 24/8/2015

    WWOOF spoke to to the Department of Immigration (DIBP) following a letter to a Host dated 20/8/15 from DIBP stating that the implementation date for the rule change would be 31/8/2015.

    At the time of our telephone call the Departments website stated:

    "The Department of Immigration and Border Protection is currently in the process of making a change to the second Working Holiday (subclass 417) visa initiative, to exclude volunteer work activities, such as Willing Workers on Organic Farms (WWOOF), from its eligibility framework. However, this change will take some time to introduce, and is not yet in effect, so it does not impact upon current second Working Holiday visa applications."

    During our previous call to them on 19/8/15 we were told no date had been set yet and there would be 30 days notice of any change on their website, but they have today updated their website (after our phone call) and now it says:

    "Evidence required for second Working Holiday visa - from 31 August 2015 From 31 August 2015, all second Working Holiday visa applicants will need to provide pay slip evidence to us. Employer obligations and pay slip evidence has more details. " (see below)

    "Employer obligations and pay slip evidence

    All Australian employers must provide their employees with pay, conditions and workplace entitlements in accordance with the Fair Work Act 2009 or relevant state legislation. This includes Willing Workers on Organic Farms (WWOOF) agricultural work.

    From 31 August 2015, all applicants for a second Working Holiday visa must provide pay slips as evidence of appropriate remuneration with their application. This will help us ensure that work undertaken by Working Holiday visa holders is performed in accordance with workplace law. All Australian employers are legally required to provide their employees with pay slips.

    Work performed before the commencement date will not require pay slip evidence."

    We are putting together an Issues Paper to present in Canberra on the 9th of September. Please send any letters of support to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. attention Traci to be included in the Appendix. All letters must be received by Friday 4th of September for inclusion. Letters from WWOOFers, Hosts, Tourist Associations, Farmers groups and local businesses who may be affected are very welcome, the more we can show the far reaching implications of this rule change the better.

    WWOOF Australia has initiated a Petition on change.org and we invite all WWOOFers and Hosts to sign this petition and share the link with any past and present WWOOFers and Hosts, the more signatures we get the more likely we are to have these changes dropped.

    Until these changes are implemented, the information below will still apply to any WWOOFers who are currently volunteering for this Visa Extension

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    WWOOFers with a Working Holiday visa can be eligible for a Second Working Holiday Visa if they spend a total of 88 days or 3 months WWOOFing or working full time in the postcode areas, performing Specified Work. This work must be full time and can be worked with a number of different hosts and be a combination of paid and volunteer work.

    It is the applicants responsibility (the WWOOFers) to ensure they are doing the Specified Work in the correct postcode area for the correct number of hours per day. See DIBPs website for the Specified Work and Postcode list, on the Visa Applicant tab under the Specified Work heading and on Form 1263

    The specified work and postcodes may change, so it is wise to check regularly to ensure the work you give these WWOOFers is the correct type of work and your property is still in an eligible postcode.

    WWOOF Hosts do not need to be Primary Producers (PP), have an ABN or be a commercial operation. However, the WWOOFers MUST be involved in Specified Work, whether it be for a Primary Pproducer or anyone else. WWOOF Hosts should read the list of Specified Work carefully, the majority of the specified work is of a commercial nature, it may be difficult to find enough full time work for WWOOFers that fits this list on a non commercial property. Although DIBP say that WWOOFers do not need to complete all of their 88 days on commercial properties, it is apparent that they are asking some applicants to complete this form after they have submitted their form 1263, asking questions about the properties they have WWOOFed on, the size of the property & where they sell their produce.

    The Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) closely scrutinizes applications and the specified work done, including contacting employers and cross checking the information provided. Some hosts keep a DIBP folder with photocopies of WWOOFers signed forms and Guestbook pages to help find the correct information quickly if DIBP calls. Many hosts give their WWOOFers a letter on letterhead to submit with their application, outlining the dates they stayed, the number of days worked and the types of work they did (from the specified work list). This makes DIBP's job easier when they are assessing WWOOFer applications, as volunteers do not have the same paper trail that paid workers have, such as payslips and tax records proving they were at your farm. It is important that you keep clear records of which WWOOFers have stayed with you and the dates they were there. It is a good idea to suggest your WWOOFers keep a blog with photos of their WWOOFing visits along with their bus/train tickets, ATM receipts and other receipts to show they were staying in the area.

    DIBP allows WWOOFers to lodge applications for Visa Extensions retrospectively. You may be contacted by a WWOOFer from the past needing to provide proof that they visited you and worked for ‘x’ number of days, so please keep an accurate Guestbook. A copy of your Guestbook page or a letter detailing their work and dates of their visit can be lodged with their application as evidence of the days they spent on your property.

    The Host, by signing Form 1263, is confirming the information provided about the WWOOFers employment details are correct and verifying the information relates to the person whose name appears is on the form. DIBP asks you to verify the persons identity from their photo ID, or do not sign their Form. If a WWOOFer asks you to falsify the amount of time spent at your property, please do NOT fraudulently fill in the document. Giving false or misleading information is a serious offence.

    If you believe a person has provided fraudulent information or breached their Visa conditions, you can contact DIBP's Dob-In line: 1800-009-623. DIBP treats any information of this kind provided by members of the public about people working or living illegally in Australian in the strictest confidence.

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    IMPORTANT CHANGES TO RULES FOR SECOND WORKING HOLIDAY VISAS take effect 31/8/2015 Please see above for details

    Until these changes are implemented, the information below will still apply to any WWOOFers who are currently volunteering for this Visa Extension

    This information is correct as at June 2014. Please check The Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection Website (DIBP) for up to date information as this does change from time to time.

    The Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) says the days worked must be whatever the standard for that particular industry is. For example in some industries the workers work 2 weeks on, then have 2 weeks off each month. In that case 2 weeks of work will equal 4 weeks on their form. If a WWOOFer stays at a host for a month, they cannot be expected to work for 7 days a week, they do need to have free days, just as one would expect that people who live on farms and farm workers have free days. WWOOFers who work over one week can count each week as 7 days even when they are having weekends off, 3 months is counted as 88 days including weekends or even whole weeks off as in the first example above.

    Three months is three calendar months or 88 days. Time worked is taken from start date to end date e.g., if a person works for one employer for two weeks, weekends will not be deducted (i.e. this counts as 14 days).

    Sick Days

    Full time workers can count sick days only during periods where they were in paid employment, therefore WWOOFers cannot include sick days.

    More information from DIBP on calculating days worked

    ----- Original message -----
    From: 2ndWHM Helpdesk <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
    Subject: RE: Help with filling in Form 1263
    Date: Tue, 3 Jun 2014 05:23:59 +0000

    Thank you for your email sent on 3 June 2014 in relation to applying for a 2nd Working Holiday visa (subclass 417).

    Australian migration law requires second Working Holiday visa applicants to have completed three months of ‘specified work’ in regional Australia. Three months is interpreted as three calendar months or 88 days of work, which is the shortest possible combination of three months. The department has no legal power to waive the three month ‘specified work’ requirement, even in exceptional circumstances such as a natural disaster.

    The below information is from border.gov.au

    How to calculate Specified Work
    * 'Three months' means three 'calendar' months or 88 days. Work can be either:
    * in one block with one business
    * in separate blocks with one business or a number of businesses. Blocks of work may be in different kinds of specified work.
    * One full day of work is defined as having worked the minimum number of hours considered to be a standard day by the particular industry in which the applicant is employed. Generally, the Australian working week is 35 to 40 hours, consisting of seven to eight hours of work each day. Individual employers can not set a smaller period of time than the industry standard to satisfy the specified work requirement.

    In calculating the period of time for which the applicant has undertaken specified work, the type of employment relationship the applicant may have with their employer, including full/part time employment, casual employment or voluntary employment, is not as important as whether the relevant industry considers the period of work completed to be equivalent to full time work for that industry. For example, if the applicant’s paid employment involved two weeks on and then two weeks off, and this is standard practice in the industry, the applicant would be considered to have worked for four weeks (28 days). If the employer is satisfied that the applicant has undertaken the equivalent of full time work for that industry for the specified period, the visa decision maker may be satisfied that the applicant has undertaken full time work for the specified period.

    Applicants whose work is equivalent to full time employment may count weekends in the 88 day period. However, if the applicant’s work is not equivalent to full time employment, for example, part time or casual, they may only count the full days actually worked.

    In circumstances where the applicant is employed by more than one employer at the same time, they may only count each calendar day of work completed once towards their 88 day specified work requirement. The shortest period that may be counted towards the specified work requirement is one day of full time work (for that industry). Applicants cannot count a long day of work as more than one day of specified work. For example, if the industry’s standard day is six hours long, working a 12 hour day does not count as two days of specified work.

    Full time workers can count sick days only during periods where they were in paid employment and entitled to sick leave or covered by a workers compensation scheme. In these situations, supporting evidence must be provided by the employer. Applicants who were prevented from obtaining employment because of injury or seasonal circumstances cannot count any time they were unable to work towards the three month period. For example, cyclones interrupting harvest activities. Some possible examples to help clarify the definition of three months of specified work are outlined below.

    Examples that meet the three month requirement

    Working week
    * Working on a farm for three months for five days each week, where the industry standard is five days a week of full time work.

    Shift work
    * Employed as a miner for three months and under the employment contract are only required to work every second week, which is the standard full time contract for the industry.

    Blocks of work
    * Completing 60 days of harvest work, followed by a period of travel for two months. Then completing another 28 days in construction, bringing the total days worked to 88 days.

    Sick days
    * Employed for a three month period but take several days of sick leave during the period.

    Examples that DO NOT meet the three month requirement

    Working week
    * When five days of work a week is the industry standard on a farm, but the applicant only works four days a week for three months.

    Work done on another visa type
    * Completing three months of specified work during the summer break while on a Student visa.

    Seasonal circumstances
    * Picking bananas for 80 days on a casual basis, but the applicant cannot find more work as there is a cyclone and their first Working Holiday visa ceases.

    Kind regards

    2nd Working Holiday Centre
    Cairns Regional Office
    Department of Immigration and Border Protection
    PO Box 1269
    CAIRNS QLD 4870
    Website: www.border.gov.au
    Fax: 07) 40 510 198

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    IMPORTANT CHANGES TO RULES FOR SECOND WORKING HOLIDAY VISAS take effect 31/8/2015 Please see above for details

    Until these changes are implemented, the information below will still apply to any WWOOFers who are currently volunteering for this Visa Extension

    Normal WWOOFing hours are 4-6 hours a day, 7 days a week, with a maximum of 42 hours in any 7 days. This has always been flexible, negotiated between WWOOFers and Hosts to enable WWOOFers to have days off. For the 2nd W.H.Visa the required The Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) hours do fit within the WWOOFing Guidelines, but they ensure that WWOOFers have 2 days off in every 7 day period, and the Host supplies meals and accommodation for the WWOOFers for 7 days.

    It is the visa applicants' responsibility (the WWOOFers') to ensure they are doing the Specified Work in the correct postcode area for the correct number of hours per day.

    DIBP specify the length of day & week for the 2nd W.H. Visa as:

    "Any period of specified work undertaken with WWOOF registered employers must conform to the Australian working week ( 35 - 40 hours, consisting of 7 to 8 hours worked each day ) if a client wishes to count it towards second Working Holiday Visa eligibility."

    "The only way in which a working day of less than 7 - 8 hours will be acceptable to the Department, is where an individual employer is able to show that there is a definitive and clear cut industry work day standard less than this."

    "If the question of a particular industry standard arises, it will be determined based on the type of work being performed by the employee, not whether the employer is a registered WWOOF Host. For example, if a client undertakes 10 days of banana harvesting and packing for a WWOOF Host, the Department will be assessing the length of these 10 working days based on the industry work day standard for the banana grower sector generally. "

    Sick Days

    Full time workers can count sick days only during periods where they were in paid employment, therefore WWOOFers cannot include sick days.

    DIBP advise that WWOOFers must work the within the hours specified above (35 to 40 hours) for their visa extension application. A week is counted as 7 days.

    As with all WWOOFing arrangements flexibility is the key, but in all cases flexible hours must be negotiated in advance with your WWOOFers to avoid misunderstandings and conflict.

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