Here’s the answer to one of the most common questions I get asked: “Do I need to have a job before I get a working holiday visa?”
We have written a lot about Working Holiday Visas on this site and why they are such a great way for young people to travel for longer periods of time.
Working Holiday Visas are available in a huge range of countries (including Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the UK, Germany and Ireland) and if you are eligible you will be able to stay for 12-24 months and work during your visit. This allows you to earn money while you travel so that you can fund a longer stay and afford to do more during your gap year.
The eligibility requirements for each Working Holiday Visa are different, but they usually require you to have a clean criminal record, a valid passport and proof that you have enough funds in your bank account to support yourself if you don’t find a job right away.
Which brings me to one of the most frequently asked questions I receive about Working Holiday Visas:
Do I need to have a job before I get a Working Holiday Visa?
The answer is: NO.
When you apply for a Working Holiday Visa you don’t have to already have a job offer already lined up in your destination country. You can start looking for work after you arrive in New Zealand or Australia or whichever country you are traveling to. If you do have a job that’s great, but you will still be let into the country on your visa without one.
Or, you can travel around for a bit and not start looking for work until you have been there for a few weeks or months.
Or, if you get there and decide you have enough savings and you just want to travel for a few months and not even work at all – that’s fine too.
A Working Holiday Visa gives you the right to work in your destination country – but it doesn’t require you to already be hired in a job before you apply or before you arrive.
When I got my Working Holiday Visa for New Zealand, I had a job lined up before I arrived. However, when I went to the UK on a Working Holiday Visa I was there for about 2-3 weeks until I found work.
When Lee came to Canada on his Working Holiday Visa, he broke both of his wrists right away so he didn’t find work until several months later when he had healed and after we had completed our Cross Canada Road Trip.
So, for the most part it is really up to you when you start working on your trip – or even if you work at all.
There are some visas that will have specific working requirements, so it is important to understand these before you go. For example, the Working Holiday Visa in Australia only allows you to work for a maximum period of six months with any one employer.
In Australia, it is also possible to qualify for a second year visa if you complete 88 days of agricultural, farming, construction, mining or animal cultivation work in regional Australia.
So, just to sum things up it is usually NOT necessary to have a job already lined up when you arrive on a Working Holiday Visa. If you are wondering “do I need to have a job before I get a working holiday visa?” hopefully now things make a bit more sense.
Of course, the rules and regulations of these visas are subject to change, so make sure that you read the requirements of the particular visa you are applying for carefully.
If you DO want to have a job lined up when you arrive because you want to start working and earning right away, here are some tips for finding backpacker jobs. It can save you a lot of time if you decide, “I want to have a job before I get a working holiday visa” and you start looking before you go.