Regional Shamers

Not so much a diary entry, but just me ranting about fellow travellers who don’t seem to understand how the 2nd year visa works.

Australia working holiday visa’s are good for one year.  However, they do allow for a second year extension provided the person in question is willing to work 88 days (or 3 months in general if the job is normally so many days a week+days off) performing regional work.  This can be fruit farming, cattle farming, animal labour and a handful of other jobs – so long as they’re in the right area code and qualify.  Most of them pay next to nothing, if they pay at all, and plenty of backpackers have horror stories regarding them.  Its usually easier (and less stressful) to get the 3 months done through Wwoofing.  You don’t get paid, but the work and situation is far more appealing.

Thanks to this situation, hundreds of small farms or not-for-profit businesses like my current host’s have sprung up in Australia.  Businesses that could not survive if not for the high influx of free labour that comes from the working holiday makers – and who the holiday makers need if the majority of them wish to stay.

Unfortunately, you also get the backpacker who doesn’t want to work in order to stay – or will expect a host to bend the rules.  My current host, after no less than 2 requests in the last month (as well as many, many similar requests over her time hosting) has finally been forced to create a notice in the welcoming book for all new backpackers.

She will NOT falsify your second year visa documents.

Essentially, backpackers asking hosts to lie on the documents – stating that they’ve been working longer than they have been.  Some have paying jobs in town that don’t count towards regional and don’t want to give them up, others are nearing their visa expiry date, and others just don’t want to keep working for free.  However, hosts are not going to sign forms stating you have worked 5 days a week when you’ve only been working 2, or say you’ve continued to work here 2 weeks after leaving for the city.

Many complain.  Why not?  It’s just a little bit of fudging, they aren’t going to know, I’ll take the blame…

Wrong, wrong, wrong.  As someone whose actually spent far longer than she ever needed to observing Australian Migration, I can tell you that in most cases, the Department of Immigration will find out.  They find a bank statement showing hours that conflict your hours, a flight ticket showing that you left, or even a hostel booking, that is your visa gone, and you will be leaving the country a lot sooner than planned with a ban on coming back for some time.

Oh well, you might say.  Win some lose some.  Except the host who oh so graciously signed their name to your documents is now in hot water.  They can find themselves looking at a $50,000 fine, their ability to sign for visas removed, and all previous backpackers reviewed (and possibly on the next flight out).

You know what, some hosts might be willing to lie.  But most can’t afford to take the risk.  Many don’t have $50,000 to lose, and without the lure of the second year visa, won’t be able to stay open with the loss of the backpackers.  Its the difference between being able to function, and filing for bankruptcy.

So if you’re 20 days short of your visa, and desperate to start holidaying again, either suck it up and do the last 20 days, find another host to finish them up, or be prepared to leave.  If you’re caught out, its not only you who will be paying for it.


About Batale

I am an aspiring writer - though since I haven't written anything original in about 2 years, so calling me a writer is like calling a man who makes dinner every night a 5 star chef. I started this blog to force me to write. From the 1st January 2013, I intend to update this blog every day. If nothing interesting happens, I'll write about something that does interest me, whether that is a movie, a book, something I've heard about, or even some of my stories growing up.
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