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Mastering Working Holidays Visa Condition 8547

By 4 July 2024No Comments

Working Holiday (subclass 417) and Work and Holiday (subclass 462) visa holders can do any kind of work over the course of their 12-month stay in Australia. However there are limitations on the timeframe they may work with any one employer. This is because these visas are subject to a mandatory condition (8547) which limits their employment to 6 months with the one employer:

         The holder must not be employed by any 1 employer for more than 6 months, without the prior permission in writing of the Secretary.

Under the government’s policy and until the release of their new Migration Strategy (date unknown) there are certain exemptions. This extensive policy makes the application of the rules quite complex in some circumstances. We hope this FAQ simplifies it.

Are there exemption to the 6 month rule?
Yes. The visa holder does not need to ask permission to work for you longer than 6 months and so you can continue to employ them if any one of the following applies:

  • Your business is in tourism and hospitality,  food processing, health, aged and disability care and childcare, agriculture, plant and animal cultivation or natural disaster recovery anywhere in Australia.
  • Your business in not in any of the above sectors but the employee changes their location of work (including working from home or another office or venue).
  • Your business is in the fishing and pearling, tree farming and felling, construction or mining sectors in Northern Australia.

Is our business exempt because it is in hospitality, accommodation and tourism?
Any business in this sector is exempt if it is a:

  • Hotel, motel, bed and breakfast, or backpacker hostel
  • Café, restaurant, takeaway food shop or catering premises
  • Pub, tavern club or bar
  • Other hospitality or accommodation business
  • Tourism business

These employees do not need to change location. You can employ these visa holders in the same role at the same location as long as they have one of these valid visas.

What does it mean to change locations?
Visa holders who are not in an exempt sector but who change the location of their work can continue to work for you for you for more than 6 months in the same or different role without asking for permission. The following are examples of what it means to change locations:

  • Working from home
  • Working remotely
  • Working at different premises of the same business
  • Being self-employed and providing services to the same business for more than 6 months as long as that business is not the only business to whom services are provided during that time

Other changes of location may also be acceptable and you should check with us if you are in doubt.

Do I still need to VEVO these visa holders?
Yes. You should VEVO ALL new employees unless they have shown you evidence that they are an Australian Permanent Resident/Citizen. If the visa is a Working Holiday visa or Bridging visa, the best practice would  be to VEVO that employee every three months to check that there has been no change to their work rights.

What do we need to do if the above exemptions do not apply?
You must ensure that the employee has permission to continue to work or you must ask them to stop working until they do. Severe penalties apply for employing a visa holder who does not have the right work permission.

When does the 6 months start and end?
The 6 months starts from the day the employee starts to work. It includes full-time, part-time, casual, shift and voluntary work. It is calculated on a calendar basis.  It is based on the number of months that have passed since started working, not how many hours or days have been worked.

Can the person continue to work for us if they have asked for permission to continue working more than six months?
Yes. The employee can continue to work for you until they have an answer on their request. You should put a process in place to review the status of their request with them at least every two weeks. Best practice would be to have us apply for the extension request so that you will know that it has been lodged and when there is a decision.

Can the employee continue to work for us if we have lodged a TSS visa (or other application) for them?
Maybe. They can if:

  1. They fall into one of the exemptions above.
  2. The employee has lodged a request for extension of the six months (see above).
  3. The employee has been granted a bridging visa and that visa has come into effect because their previous visa has expired.
  4. The employee is granted another visa (including a second or third Working Holiday visa) that has work permission (the 6 months re-sets on the furhter Working Holiday visa grant).

If you are still in doubt or have further questions about this, please contact your Ajuria team.

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