Are you on or thinking about a working holiday or work and holiday visa?

The working holiday (subclass 417) and work and holiday (subclass 462) visas allow eligible persons to have an extended holiday in Australia for up to 12 months, during which time they may find short-term employment. These visas are subject to condition 8547.

Condition 8547 states “The holder must not be employed by any one employer for more than 6 months, without the prior permission in writing of the Secretary”

Let’s start with a few basics:

  • Any work is considered employment. Au pairs are considered to be engaging in work
  • Casual, part-time or full-time work is considered employment
  • Workplace training is considered employment and will count toward the 6 month limit
  • The business must be operating in Australia. Work for a foreign business requires special permission
  • One receiving workers compensation will be considered to still be working whilst receiving payments
  • Breach this condition and you visa is subject to cancellation


One employer

The 6 month limit with any one employer is less direct than it sounds. “Employer” has a very specific definition for those with condition 8547 applied, being “the business for which the visa holder is directly working”. In other words, Visa 417 or 462 holders may work for over 6 months under a franchise in different locations, but cannot spend more than 6 months in each independently owned franchise.

For example, Subway is a franchise and each store is independently owned even though they carry the same operating or trading name. Each branch would be however be registered independently of each other and carry different ABNs (Australian Business Numbers). One might work in the Subway on Clarence Street for 6 months and then work in the Subway on Hunter street just a short distance away for the next 6 months.

ABN Name Location
56 156 987 354 Subway (Trading Name) 2067 NSW
89 456 123 789 Subway (Trading Name) 2068 NSW
85 156 156 789 Subway (Trading Name) 2000 NSW

(Example only, ABNs and locations are not real)

Different Subway branch, different location, different ABN. A’Ok.

If however you work for a company where its stores are managed by the same business owner, you will not be able to work for over a stretch of 6 months. Take for example Lululemon Athletica. They may have stores all over Australia but they are all under the same ABN. You will not be able to work for the Lululemon outlet in Sydney for 6 months then work in the outlet at Chatswood for another 6 months.

ABN Name Location
98 456 123 786 Lululemon Athletica (Business Name) 3066 VIC

(Example only, ABNs and locations are not real)


6 months

Time is only counted where there is an ongoing employment arrangement. If you choose to work for a month, go on holiday for 3 months, and return to that employer for another 2 months, your total work calculated with that employer would be 3 months. If you are still under an employment the breaks between work still


Can I extend the 6 month limit?

Yes! But of course only in limited circumstances.

  • If you are an au pair (looking after children under 12) you may request for an extension
  • If you work in the following industries in Northern Australia (Northern Territory including areas of Queensland and Western Australia above the Tropic of Capricorn. View map here :
    • Aged and disability care
    • Agriculture, forestry and fishing
    • Construction
    • Mining
    • Tourism and hospitality

In both cases you will need to have worked for one employer for 6 months and can be given approval to work with the same employer for another 6 months.

Flexibility on condition 8547 may be granted in exceptional circumstances. In such cases, you will only be approved to stay with your employer for a short period (typically under a month). Circumstances that may be considered as reasonable include your being critical to the completion of a specialised project that is unexpectedly taking longer to complete, disaster recovery work such as clean up, rebuilding or emergency management, waiting for a visa application decision for a spouse visa or one which would allow you to work with the employer you are currently with without leaving Australia; if you are waiting for a visa decision whose grant requires you to be offshore, you will not be granted an extension.

If you have applied for another visa and have been granted a bridging visa with work permission, you need to know that your bridging visa does not come into effect until your current visa (subclass 417 or 462) expires. As such you are still bound to the conditions on your subclass 417 or 462 visa. Breach of the conditions will put you at risk of a cancellation of your current visa and your bridging visa.


Applying for an extension

An application must be lodged at least 2 weeks prior to the expiry of your 6 months. You will need to submit Form 1445 alongside a persuasive letter from your employer. You can submit your application in person, via post, email or fax.

If you feel you might need help or if you are unsure if you are able to apply for exceptional circumstances, we urge you have a consultation with a migration agent. If the department rejects your first application, notice that future requests will only be considered should your circumstances change. If it was merely due to your documentation having not been not prepared well, it would be a real pity as your second application is unlikely to be given much consideration.