WWOOF Visa Info

WWOOFing in Australia is NOT Paid Employment

WWOOFing is VOLUNTARY work in exchange for learning something about Organic Growing, the people and the country you are visiting.

To learn about their Host's growing techniques or lifestyle, WWOOF volunteers or WWOOFers do 4 to 6 hours voluntary work each day to cover their bed and board. Often this will be simple farm work, but it can also include environmental work such as tree planting for desalination, erosion control, conservation work or wildlife habitat creation.

You must arrange your entry visa to Australia before you join WWOOF. WWOOF Memberships will not be refunded if you cannot obtain an entry visa. WWOOF Pty Ltd and WWOOF Hosts cannot assist with travel costs or visa applications, so please do not ask.

The Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP, formerly DIAC) has information about visas, these are some visas that allow WWOOFing:

If you live in Mainland China or Macau please contact our Sales Outlet for Mainland China or Macau (click here for details) to join, you cannot order direct from WWOOF Australia. You will need to be at least 18 years old a have a Visa before you join.
Here are some articles courtesy of The New Land Magazine, written in Chinese about:

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.”

Working Holiday Visas

A Working Holiday Visa (417) enables visitors to earn wages with some restrictions, and MUST be issued BEFORE arriving in Australia. This visa gives you 12 months to travel to Australia from the date the visa is granted, and allows you to stay in Australia for 12 months from the date you first enter Australia.

  • You can leave and re-enter Australia within 12 months of the date of initial entry to Australia. If you depart Australia during your 12 month stay, you are not able to recover the period of time spent outside Australia. To apply for a Working Holiday Visa (417) download Application Form # 1150
  • With a first or second Working Holiday Visa, you may work or volunteer for the same employer for up to 6 months. All costs in obtaining a visa, as well as in travelling to and from Australia, have to be met by you.
  • People can apply for a Working Holiday Visa (subclass 417) if they are between the ages of 18 and 30 and hold a passport of a country with reciprocal arrangements with Australia including:
    Belgium, Canada, the Republic of Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the Peoples Republic of China, the Republic of Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Taiwan and the United Kingdom.
  • If you are from Argentina, Bangladesh, Chile, China, Indonesia, Malasia, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, Uruguay or USA, you may be eligible to apply for a Work and Holiday Visa (subclass 462), which provides similar opportunities for tertiary educated people aged 18 to 30. Exemption: Applicants from the USA are exempt from the tertiary education requirement. (Greece, Israel, Slovak Republic, Slovenia and Vietnam have Working Woliday Arrangements signed with Australia, but they are not yet in effect as at 30 June 2015, see border.gov.au for details.)
  • Australia is negotiating new Work and Holiday (subclass 462) arrangements with the following countries:
    Andora, Austria, Brazil, Croatia, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Fiji, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Peru, Phillipines, San Marino, Singapore, Solomom Islands and Switzerland. (as at June 2015)
  • WWOOFing in Australia is NOT Paid Employment

    WWOOFing is VOLUNTARY work in exchange for learning something about Organic Growing, the people and the country you are visiting.

    To learn about their Host's growing techniques or lifestyle, WWOOF volunteers or WWOOFers do 4 to 6 hours voluntary work each day to cover their bed and board. Often this will be simple farm work, but it can also include environmental work such as tree planting for desalination, erosion control, conservation work or wildlife habitat creation.

    You must arrange your entry visa to Australia before you join WWOOF. WWOOF Memberships will not be refunded if you cannot obtain an entry visa. WWOOF Pty Ltd and WWOOF Hosts cannot assist with travel costs or visa applications, so please do not ask.

    {slider=Visas for WWOOFing in Australia, click for details}

    The Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP, formerly DIAC) has information about visas, these are some visas that allow WWOOFing:

If you live in Mainland China or Macau please contact our Sales Outlet for Mainland China or Macau (click here for details) to join, you cannot order direct from WWOOF Australia. You will need to be at least 18 years old a have a Visa before you join.
Here are some articles courtesy of The New Land Magazine, written in Chinese about:

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.”

Working Holiday Visas

A Working Holiday Visa (417) enables visitors to earn wages with some restrictions, and MUST be issued BEFORE arriving in Australia. This visa gives you 12 months to travel to Australia from the date the visa is granted, and allows you to stay in Australia for 12 months from the date you first enter Australia.

  • You can leave and re-enter Australia within 12 months of the date of initial entry to Australia. If you depart Australia during your 12 month stay, you are not able to recover the period of time spent outside Australia. To apply for a Working Holiday Visa (417) download Application Form # 1150
  • With a first or second Working Holiday Visa, you may work or volunteer for the same employer for up to 6 months. All costs in obtaining a visa, as well as in travelling to and from Australia, have to be met by you.
  • People can apply for a Working Holiday Visa if they are between the ages of 18 and 30 and hold a passport of a country with reciprocal arrangements with Australia including:
    Belgium, Canada, the Republic of Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the Peoples Republic of China, the Republic of Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Taiwan and the United Kingdom.
  • If you are from Argentina, Bangladesh, Chile, China, Indonesia, Malasia, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, Uruguay or USA, you may be eligible to apply for a Work and Holiday Visa (subclass 462), which provides similar opportunities for tertiary educated people aged 18 to 30. Exemption: Applicants from the USA are exempt from the tertiary education requirement. (Greece, Israel, Slovak Republic, Slovenia and Vietnam have Working Woliday Arrangements signed with Australia, but they are not yet in effect as at 30 June 2015, see border.gov.au for details.)

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.

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 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 Holiday Visa 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) onwards 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 before they are implemented.

Until 30/11/2015, the information below will still apply to any WWOOFers who are currently volunteering for this Visa Extension

~~~~~~~~~~~~~ooooooooooooooo0000000000000000000000000000000oooooooooooooo~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This information is correct as at 1st July 2015. Please check DIBPs website for up to date information as this does change from time to time and they do not inform WWOOF.

  • It is the applicants responsibility (the WWOOFer) 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
  • If you are applying for a Second Working Holiday Visa, start early on your 3 months work, rather than waiting to the end of your first year, people often run out of time and cannot complete 88 days. If you are building up 88 days at a number of different WWOOF Hosts, or with a mixture of paid work and WWOOFing, allow for travel time between hosts as this time does not count.
  • It is the WWOOFers responsibility to bring their application form. Download form 1263 and print the form BEFORE you visit any Hosts.
  • To be eligible for a second Working Holiday visa, you must meet a number of general requirements:-

  • have completed three months (88 days) of Specified Work in regional Australia while on your first Working Holiday visa
  • be aged between 18 and 30 years (inclusive) at the time of applying
  • if applying from outside Australia, be applying no more than 12 months before you intend to travel to Australia
  • not have any dependant children
  • hold a passport for a country or region participating in the Working Holiday program.

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

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ooooooooooooooo0000000000000000000000000000000oooooooooooooo~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This information is correct as at 1st June 2015. 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 and they do not advise WWOOF. 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

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

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ooooooooooooooo0000000000000000000000000000000oooooooooooooo~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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. The required DIBP hours fit within the WWOOFing Guidelines for hours worked, and the flexibility of WWOOFing hours, they ensure that WWOOFers will have 2 days off in every 7 day period, and the Host supplies meals and accommodation for the WWOOFers for 7 days.

  • As with all WWOOFing arrangements flexibility is the key, but in all cases flexible hours must be negotiated in advance with your WWOOF Host to avoid misunderstandings and conflict.
  • The Australian Immigration Department (DIBP) states that the days worked must be whatever the standard for that particular industry is. For example in some industries the workers would 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 considered to be 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). Work must be full time. Full time work is taken to be the norm for that employer, that region and that industry.
  • DIBP specify the length of day and week as follows: "Any period of specified work undertaken with WWOOF registered employers must conform to the Australian working week (35 to 40 hours, consisting of 7-8 hours worked each day for 5 days out of 7) if a client wishes to count it towards their 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. "
  • 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.
  • Sick Days

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

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

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ooooooooooooooo0000000000000000000000000000000oooooooooooooo~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

With voluntary work DIBP prefer that Hosts actually sign your form 1263 as this is good evidence you have stayed with that Host. Volunteers do not have pay slips or tax records to prove they were on a particular farm, so if you want your application to go through smoothly it is wise to document your stay on each farm. DIBP check most applications. Some of the things you could do to prove you stayed with a host are:-

  • Keep a journal or blog, and take photos you can show DIBP of you working on the farms.
  • Sign your Host's Guest book and fill in the dates you were there. Scan, photograph or photocopy this page and include it with your application. Some Hosts give WWOOFers a letter on letterhead stating the dates they WWOOFed, the hours worked and the type of work done.
  • If you can, give your host a copy of your form 1263 after they have signed it and ask them to keep it with their guestbook page in case DIBP call them to check the dates you were there.
  • Keep records of the bus/train you took, tickets or petrol receipts showing you were in that area.
  • Fill in the back of your WWOOF book, recording which Hosts you stayed with and the dates you were there.
  • Keep ATM or eftpos receipts or bank statements that show you were in the area.
  • Post photos on facebook of you working at each Host then give DIBP a link so they can see you were WWOOFing.
  • 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, so it is advisable to ensure you find out this information for each Host in case they ask you to fill in this form.

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

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ooooooooooooooo0000000000000000000000000000000oooooooooooooo~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  • WWOOFing is accepted by DIBP as a suitable activity to qualify for this visa:
  • DIBP say "work undertaken as a volunteer or through the WWOOFing scheme (Willing Workers on Organic Farms) may be counted toward the three months of specified work if your WWOOF Host is in regional Australia."
  • Three months work can be spread over a number of WWOOF Hosts, each Host must be located in one of the postcodes listed on DIBP's Postcode list, and must sign your form stating the number of days you have worked with them, so make sure you ask the Host prior to staying with them if they are happy to sign your form.
  • Hosts will only sign form 1263 if WWOOFers have actually done the required amount of specified work each day as agreed with the hosts when arranging to stay.
  • DIBP check most applications with WWOOF Hosts and other employers to see if the specified work has been done for the number of days stated on the form, so ensure your host records this information in their guestbook.
  • Hosts do not need to be a commercial operation or hold an ABN to sign your form, but you cannot lodge the form online if they do not have and ABN. The processing fee for forms that are mailed is $80.00 (in January 2014), you need to mail your completed form to:
    Working Holiday Maker Section
    DIBP
    PO Box 1269
    Cairns QLD 4870
  • It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure they do the Specified Work in the correct postcode for the correct number of hours each day.
  • Hosts do not need to be a Primary Producer.
  • Form 1263 is a legal document, do not ask your Host to do anything that might contravene the law.
  • Hosts are required by law to check your photo ID when they sign form 1263, to ensure you are the person who is applying.
  • For the purposes of meeting the requirements for a second Working Holiday visa, the DIBP definition for Regional Australia: is defined as anywhere in Australia except Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong, the NSW Central Coast, Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Perth, Melbourne or the ACT. Check the Postcode List on DIBPs website or on Form 1263 for details of places that qualify, work MUST be done within these postcode areas in order to be included in your application.

Visitor (Tourist) Visas and Student Visas

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). 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.

WWOOFers travelling on Tourist Visas should join WWOOF as part of their holiday, not the main reason for it. In most cases these WWOOFers want to be doing something useful, learning about organics and permaculture and getting to know some real Australians. This is much better suited to the pace & lifestyle on non-commercial WWOOF Host properties, where they are generally treated as part of the family. They still have all of their meals and accommodation but the hours are generally less formal and as the property is not generating an income the Hosts are far less likely to be paying someone to help around the property. There are a large number of non-commercial and hobby farm WWOOF Hosts in the program to choose from.

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

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 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.

DIBP say "If you were granted a Student Visa on or after 26 April 2008, you and your dependent family members will already have Permission to Work automatically included with your visa. You may have to apply for permission to work, depending on the type of Student Visa you apply for

  • You cannot undertake work until you have commenced your course in Australia. When your course has commenced you can work a maximum of 40 hours per fortnight during the term and unlimited hours when your course is not in session.

    Notes:

  • Work that is a formal registered part of your course is not included in the limit of 40 hours per fortnight.
  • If you are doing *voluntary, unpaid work, it is not included in the limit of 40 hours per fortnight if it:
  • is of benefit to the community
  • is for a non-profit organisation
  • would not otherwise be undertaken in return for wages by an Australian resident (that is, it is a designated volunteer position), and
  • is genuinely voluntary (that is, no remuneration, either in cash or kind is received — board and lodging acceptable).
  • If you are a subclass 574 (Postgraduate research sector) student visa holder and you have commenced your masters by research or doctorate course in Australia, you have unlimited work rights.
  • You can work a maximum of 40 hours per fortnight during any preliminary courses you undertake on a subclass 574 (Postgraduate research sector) student visa. Example: ELICOS"
  • *Note: On Visitor visas any voluntary 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). 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.

Need More Information about visas? See the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship Website or if you need to talk to someone, here are theTelephone contact details for DIBP. For information about the cost of visas, see: Visa Costs

If you have a Tourist Visa, you must have enough money to support yourself for your holiday in Australia and you may be asked for evidence on arrival.

If you have a Working Holiday Visa, you must have enough money to support yourself for the initial stage of your holiday in Australia and you may be asked for evidence on arrival. You must hold a return ticket or enough money for this - generally AUD $5,000. You may need to show evidence on arrival with a bank statement or your return ticket. The amount will depend on your travel plans and the length of time you plan to be in Australia.

{/slider}

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.

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 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 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) onwards 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 before they are implemented.

Until 30/11/2015, the information below will still apply to any WWOOFers who are currently volunteering for this Visa Extension

~~~~~~~~~~~~~ooooooooooooooo0000000000000000000000000000000oooooooooooooo~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This information is correct as at 1st July 2015. Please check DIBPs website for up to date information as this does change from time to time and they do not inform WWOOF.

  • It is the applicants responsibility (the WWOOFer) 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
  • If you are applying for a Second Working Holiday Visa, start early on your 3 months work, rather than waiting to the end of your first year, people often run out of time and cannot complete 88 days. If you are building up 88 days at a number of different WWOOF Hosts, or with a mixture of paid work and WWOOFing, allow for travel time between hosts as this time does not count.
  • It is the WWOOFers responsibility to bring their application form. Download form 1263 and print the form BEFORE you visit any Hosts.
  • To be eligible for a second Working Holiday visa, you must meet a number of general requirements:-

  • have completed three months (88 days) of Specified Work in regional Australia while on your first Working Holiday visa
  • be aged between 18 and 30 years (inclusive) at the time of applying
  • if applying from outside Australia, be applying no more than 12 months before you intend to travel to Australia
  • not have any dependant children
  • hold a passport for a country or region participating in the Working Holiday program.

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

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ooooooooooooooo0000000000000000000000000000000oooooooooooooo~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This information is correct as at 1st June 2015. 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 and they do not advise WWOOF. 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

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

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ooooooooooooooo0000000000000000000000000000000oooooooooooooo~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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. The required DIBP hours fit within the WWOOFing Guidelines for hours worked, and the flexibility of WWOOFing hours, they ensure that WWOOFers will have 2 days off in every 7 day period, and the Host supplies meals and accommodation for the WWOOFers for 7 days.

  • As with all WWOOFing arrangements flexibility is the key, but in all cases flexible hours must be negotiated in advance with your WWOOF Host to avoid misunderstandings and conflict.
  • The Australian Immigration Department (DIBP) states that the days worked must be whatever the standard for that particular industry is. For example in some industries the workers would 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 considered to be 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). Work must be full time. Full time work is taken to be the norm for that employer, that region and that industry.
  • DIBP specify the length of day and week as follows: "Any period of specified work undertaken with WWOOF registered employers must conform to the Australian working week (35 to 40 hours, consisting of 7-8 hours worked each day for 5 days out of 7) if a client wishes to count it towards their 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. "
  • 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.
  • Sick Days

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

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

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ooooooooooooooo0000000000000000000000000000000oooooooooooooo~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

With voluntary work DIBP prefer that Hosts actually sign your form 1263 as this is good evidence you have stayed with that Host. Volunteers do not have pay slips or tax records to prove they were on a particular farm, so if you want your application to go through smoothly it is wise to document your stay on each farm. DIBP check most applications. Some of the things you could do to prove you stayed with a host are:-

  • Keep a journal or blog, and take photos you can show DIBP of you working on the farms.
  • Sign your Host's Guest book and fill in the dates you were there. Scan, photograph or photocopy this page and include it with your application. Some Hosts give WWOOFers a letter on letterhead stating the dates they WWOOFed, the hours worked and the type of work done.
  • If you can, give your host a copy of your form 1263 after they have signed it and ask them to keep it with their guestbook page in case DIBP call them to check the dates you were there.
  • Keep records of the bus/train you took, tickets or petrol receipts showing you were in that area.
  • Fill in the back of your WWOOF book, recording which Hosts you stayed with and the dates you were there.
  • Keep ATM or eftpos receipts or bank statements that show you were in the area.
  • Post photos on facebook of you working at each Host then give DIBP a link so they can see you were WWOOFing.
  • 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, so it is advisable to ensure you find out this information for each Host in case they ask you to fill in this form.

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

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  • WWOOFing is accepted by DIBP as a suitable activity to qualify for this visa:
  • DIBP say "work undertaken as a volunteer or through the WWOOFing scheme (Willing Workers on Organic Farms) may be counted toward the three months of specified work if your WWOOF Host is in regional Australia."
  • Three months work can be spread over a number of WWOOF Hosts, each Host must be located in one of the postcodes listed on DIBP's Postcode list, and must sign your form stating the number of days you have worked with them, so make sure you ask the Host prior to staying with them if they are happy to sign your form.
  • Hosts will only sign form 1263 if WWOOFers have actually done the required amount of specified work each day as agreed with the hosts when arranging to stay.
  • DIBP check most applications with WWOOF Hosts and other employers to see if the specified work has been done for the number of days stated on the form, so ensure your host records this information in their guestbook.
  • Hosts do not need to be a commercial operation or hold an ABN to sign your form, but you cannot lodge the form online if they do not have and ABN. The processing fee for forms that are mailed is $80.00 (in January 2014), you need to mail your completed form to:
    Working Holiday Maker Section
    DIBP
    PO Box 1269
    Cairns QLD 4870
  • It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure they do the Specified Work in the correct postcode for the correct number of hours each day.
  • Hosts do not need to be a Primary Producer.
  • Form 1263 is a legal document, do not ask your Host to do anything that might contravene the law.
  • Hosts are required by law to check your photo ID when they sign form 1263, to ensure you are the person who is applying.
  • For the purposes of meeting the requirements for a second Working Holiday visa, the DIBP definition for Regional Australia: is defined as anywhere in Australia except Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong, the NSW Central Coast, Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Perth, Melbourne or the ACT. Check the Postcode List on DIBPs website or on Form 1263 for details of places that qualify, work MUST be done within these postcode areas in order to be included in your application.

Visitor (Tourist) Visas and Student Visas

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). 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.

WWOOFers travelling on Tourist Visas should join WWOOF as part of their holiday, not the main reason for it. In most cases these WWOOFers want to be doing something useful, learning about organics and permaculture and getting to know some real Australians. This is much better suited to the pace & lifestyle on non-commercial WWOOF Host properties, where they are generally treated as part of the family. They still have all of their meals and accommodation but the hours are generally less formal and as the property is not generating an income the Hosts are far less likely to be paying someone to help around the property. There are a large number of non-commercial and hobby farm WWOOF Hosts in the program to choose from.

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

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 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.

DIBP say "If you were granted a Student Visa on or after 26 April 2008, you and your dependent family members will already have Permission to Work automatically included with your visa. You may have to apply for permission to work, depending on the type of Student Visa you apply for

  • You cannot undertake work until you have commenced your course in Australia. When your course has commenced you can work a maximum of 40 hours per fortnight during the term and unlimited hours when your course is not in session.

    Notes:

  • Work that is a formal registered part of your course is not included in the limit of 40 hours per fortnight.
  • If you are doing *voluntary, unpaid work, it is not included in the limit of 40 hours per fortnight if it:
  • is of benefit to the community
  • is for a non-profit organisation
  • would not otherwise be undertaken in return for wages by an Australian resident (that is, it is a designated volunteer position), and
  • is genuinely voluntary (that is, no remuneration, either in cash or kind is received — board and lodging acceptable).
  • If you are a subclass 574 (Postgraduate research sector) student visa holder and you have commenced your masters by research or doctorate course in Australia, you have unlimited work rights.
  • You can work a maximum of 40 hours per fortnight during any preliminary courses you undertake on a subclass 574 (Postgraduate research sector) student visa. Example: ELICOS"
  • *Note: On Visitor visas any voluntary 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). 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.

Need More Information about visas? See the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship Website or if you need to talk to someone, here are theTelephone contact details for DIBP. For information about the cost of visas, see: Visa Costs

If you have a Tourist Visa, you must have enough money to support yourself for your holiday in Australia and you may be asked for evidence on arrival.

If you have a Working Holiday Visa, you must have enough money to support yourself for the initial stage of your holiday in Australia and you may be asked for evidence on arrival. You must hold a return ticket or enough money for this - generally AUD $5,000. You may need to show evidence on arrival with a bank statement or your return ticket. The amount will depend on your travel plans and the length of time you plan to be in Australia.

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