Working Holiday Visa changes: the Australian bushfires affecting your visa conditions

Working Holiday Visa holders in Australia will now have access to advantages if they volunteer or are employed in bushfire-affected areas, doing work to assist with bushfire recovery efforts.

The decision was released in February by the Department of Immigration in order not only to help communities affected by the fires to rebuild, but also to boost the local economy by attracting more people to these cities to work, live and obviously spend with local businesses.

The bushfires in Australia are estimated to have killed 33 people, a billion of animals and destroyed more than 3.000 homes across the country.

What advantages are on offer?

Working Holiday Visa holders will be able to apply for a second or third year of stay on their subclasses 417 or 462 visas, as well as extend their work restriction from 6 months with the same employer to 12 months with the same employer, as long as they complete recovery-related work, in bushfire-affected designated areas.

Visa holders who do this for 3 months will be able to extend their Working Holiday Visas for a second year, while those completing 6 months of the same type of work will have access to a third year in their visas.

Recovery-related work for Working Holiday Visa holders includes:

  • construction;
  • farming;
  • restitution of land;
  • property;
  • animal work (farm or wildlife);
  • support services or assistance to people

What areas exactly will count?

It is important to be aware that the work must be undertaken in specified areas affected by bushfires occurring after 31 July 2019 and before 1 March 2020.

A list of cities and regions by state has also been released and you can check it below:

New South Wales

Armidale, Ballina, Bega Valley, Bellingen, Blue Mountains, Byron, Central Coast, Cessnock, Clarence Valley, Coffs Harbour, Cootamundra-Gundagai, Eurobodalla, Glen Innes Severn, Goulburn Mulwaree, Gwydir, Greater Hume, Hawkesbury, Inverell, Kempsey, Ku-ring-gai, Kyogle, Lake Macquarie, Lismore, Lithgow, Mid Coast, Mid-Western, Muswellbrook, Nambucca, Narrabri, Oberon, Penrith, Port Macquarie-Hastings, Queanbeyan-Palerang, Richmond Valley, Shoalhaven, Singleton, Snowy Monaro, Snowy Valleys, Sutherland, Tamworth, Tenterfield, Tweed, Upper Hunter, Upper Lachlan, Uralla, Walcha, Wagga Wagga, Wingecarribee, Wollondilly


Alpine, Ararat, Ballarat, East Gippsland, Falls Creek, Glenelg, Golden Plains, Greater Bendigo, Indigo, Mansfield, Mount Buller, Mount Hotham, Mount Stirling, Moyne, Northern Grampians, Pyrenees, Southern Grampians, Strathbogie, Towong, Wangaratta, Wellington, Wodonga


Bundaberg, Gladstone, Gold Coast, Gympie, Ipswich, Livingstone, Lockyer Vallev, Noosa, Redland, Scenic Rim, Somerset, Southern Downs, Sunshine Coast, Toowoomba

South Australia

Adelaide Hills, Coorong, Kangaroo Island, Kingston, Lower Eyre Peninsula, Mid Murray, Mount Barker, Murray Bridge, Playford, Southern Mallee and Yorke Peninsula


Break O’Day, Central Highlands and Southern Midlands

Australia Capital Territory

All areas of the Australia Capital Territory

If you are in a Working Holiday Visa and thinking about applying to stay longer in Australia, you may be eligible for a Sponsorship Visa or even a Permanent Visa so please contact us. We offer Free Assessments for people who have a job offer in Australia and are thinking about getting sponsored.

We have more than 11 years of experience and over 3,000 visa applications under our belt!

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