What is a Working Holiday Visa?

There may be times, especially with long term travel plans, that you want to earn some extra money whilst on the road, and settle in one place for a longer period to earn, save, see more of the local sights, and learn more about the local culture. Many countries prohibit working if you are not a national of that country, and whilst there will be some short term jobs that you can do under the table with no papers or permission, a working holiday visa may be your best option in many cases.

But what is a working holiday visa? In essence, it is a visa that allows visitors to work in a country for a relatively short period of time. It is not meant to be used as a permanent way to move to another land. It does what the name suggests – allows people to legally work in another country whilst there primarily for the purpose of a long holiday.

There are various different schemes in operation in different countries. Most are operated on a reciprocal agreement basis, whereby certain countries allow mutual travel and work between their citizens.

These main points should help you to understand more what a working holiday visa is:

Age Limits

Most schemes have an age limit, with the visas being aimed more at younger travellers. The lower age is typically 18 years old, with the upper age limits usually falling somewhere between 30 and 35.

Type of Employment

Most working holiday visas limit the types of jobs that a person can carry out whilst working under the scheme. The jobs are often lower level office positions, in hospitality roles, or manual work. In Australia, for example, it is common for people to work on farms or as fruit pickers. Examples of typical roles include in bars, in restaurants, in tour agencies, in call centres, and in junior administration positions.

Length of Employment

Seasonal or short term positions are the norm; working holiday visas are not intended to be a way for people to secure long term permanent positions in another country. Employers cannot offer longer contracts to travellers.


Most jobs do not provide insurance. It is therefore often a term of the visa that the traveller should have appropriate health and travel insurance cover for the duration of their employment and stay in the country.

Language Skills

It may be necessary for people to show that they have competent language skills to be able to work and live in another country. Competency tests may be necessary.

If you are interested in working in another country you should enquire about the various schemes available in your preferred place. Many embassy websites have information about working holiday schemes, or provide links to signpost for further information. Other things that you could consider doing to earn money legally in some countries include paid internships and teaching English as a foreign language.

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One Response to What is a Working Holiday Visa?

  1. Ada July 20, 2014 at 7:47 am #

    Hello! This post couldn’t be written any better!
    Reading this post reminds me of my old room
    mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this article to him.

    Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!

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