Farm work is not only a rite of passage for many backpackers in Australia but is also the most common way for 417 visa holders to gain a second year Working Holiday Visa if they work on a farm for 88 days. If done right, farm work can be a great way to save some cash for the rest of your trip, make friends and experience the ‘real Australia,’ but failing to plan and prepare for your farm work can leave you without a visa and penniless! Read on for our advice about finding farm work so you can extend your Aussie adventure!
Leave plenty of time (at least five months) to complete your farm work. This may sound excessive, but it’s important to allow time for unexpected problems such as difficulty in finding work, falling ill, and adverse weather conditions that may affect your farm work. The Australian Government will not grant you a visa if illness, injury, or weather conditions prevent you from completing your farm work.
It’s a good idea to save up some money before starting your farm work; you don’t want to find yourself so skint that you have to accept a poorly paid and terrible farm job, or can’t afford to travel a bit to find work. You’ll also need to set some money aside to buy boots, clothes any other equipment you need for farm work.
It’s crucial to understand what kind of farm work qualifies for a second-year visa. Never rely on farmers or hostel owners to give you accurate information, as some are will say anything to ensure you stay at their hostel or work on their farm. Use the Australian Government website to check what kind of work will count towards your visa. When you apply for your visa you will be required to submit evidence that you worked on a farm for 88 days so make you sure you save your payslips from the farm every week.
There are thousands of farms and working hostels across Australia that offer work that qualifies for a second year but not all of these places offer the same type of experience. Thoroughly research farms and working hostels by using the Oz Jobs app, reading reviews on the hostel’s Facebook page, and hostelz.com.
Ask for Recommendations
Asking friends for recommendations is another great way to find a good farm or working hostel. Make sure that you don’t just ask whether they had a good time, but also find out whether the work was hourly paid, what the living and working conditions were like, and when the crops will be in season in that region.
Another way to find good farm work is to look at Facebook Groups. Searches for ‘Farm Work Australia’ or something similar should bring up discussions between backpackers in groups. Looking through posts and comments you should be able to quickly suss out which farms will be good to work at which ones are a waste of time.
Many fruit picking jobs pay backpackers by how many buckets of fruit they pick, this might sound like a great idea in theory but in reality, you’re likely to make very little money doing piece work. To make sure you save rather than lose money doing your farm work try to find work that pays by the hour rather than the bucket and ensure the work is full time rather than only a few days per week. If you do choose to do piecework it’s essential that you and your employer sign an agreement stating exactly how the pay rate will be calculated and this must be submitted along with your payslips.
Some hostel owners are also guilty of scamming backpackers by promising you they will find you work as soon as possible, when actually they will happily let you stay for weeks at their hostels without ever finding you a farm job. If there are a lot of people at the hostel that have been waiting weeks for work, it’s probably best to move on.
Finding a good place to do your farmwork can be super stressful, but with the right help and support, completing your 88 days of regional work can be some of your best days in Oz. With the right farm and a good group of people to go through it with, your days picking bananas will be looked upon by you and your farmwork family with nothing but good memories.
Let us do the hard work for you! With Oz Vijay Hubert you’ll get access to the Oz Jobs app plus unlimited help and advice from us on finding and completing your farmwork!
For more help & information, check out our Ultimate Guide to Backpacking Australia!