Can you work whilst on a visitor visa in Australia?

Most visitor visas to Australia exclude people doing any work whilst there, although there are a few exceptions to this. The main intent of the visitor visa is for people to visit either as a tourist or to visit family and friends and to effectively treat it as a holiday whilst in Australia. Visitor visas normally last for three, six or twelve months.

Types of Visa 

The Australian government currently has six specific categories of visitor visa, as well as visas under the categories of Studying and Training, Family and Partners, Working and Skilled visas and Refugee and Humanitarian visas.

Deciding which type of category you fall under, and which type of visa is most appropriate to you can be quite tricky and should be taken as quite a serious issue to deal with.

Visitor Visas

There are two categories of visitor visa that allow people to do some degree of work while travelling in Australia, the Work and Holiday visa (subclass 462) and Working Holiday visa (subclass 417).

Whilst there are conditions attached to obtaining these visas, the intent is to give people between the age of 18 and 30 an opportunity to have an extended trip in Australia, for up to 12 months, and to do work whilst there in order to fund the trip.

Studying and Training Visas

Whilst these do not strictly come under the category of visitor visas, many people who are thinking of applying to study in Australia would nevertheless consider themselves visitors.

People often undertake a degree or other types of study or training in Australia partly because of the quality of courses, and partly because they see it as a potential route to obtaining long-term residency.

For this reason, these visas are studied quite carefully, and conditions are rigourously applied in terms of attendance at college, passing exams etc.

These types of visas allow the person to do a limited amount of work, currently 40 hours per fortnight, although there are conditions attached to this. It does mean however that someone can study and do some amount of work to help support themselves at the same time.

Entering Australia

Anyone entering Australia, under any type of visitor visa, is subject to be questioned by immigration or customs officers. The type of visa and whether it is appropriate or not is one of the things that will be carefully looked at.

If the authorities decide that the visa is not the correct type, there is a good chance the individual will not be allowed entry into the country, and may well be returned to their own country of residence on the next available flight.

The Australian government and authorities are acutely aware of letting any individual into the country who may do work that could otherwise be done by an Australian citizen. For this reason, they are very strict on work conditions applied to visitor visas.

These conditions are applied both on entry to Australia, and whilst the individual is there. If someone is found to be in breach of these conditions whilst travelling in Australia, they are likely to be detained, possibly arrested and possibly deported.

Immigration Attorneys

In the event of this happening, it is well worth considering approaching a firm of immigration attorneys. At the very least, they may be able to slow down the deportation process and may be able to provide practical assistance as to how best to deal resolve the issue regarding the visa, and possibly avoid deportation.