This is one of the most important subjects when you talk about the Working Holiday Visa (WHV). As a backpacker, you might need to work during your trip to finance your travel !
Do you want to work at the beginning of your trip ? Or do you rather chill out and find a job few months before coming home? I will explain what I know of the Australian job system, which, I hope, will help you find a job in Australia.
How To Find A Job In Australia ?
Some useful websites already exist, like Indeed and Seek, but the most popular is definitely Gumtree, which is the one you will spend most of your time on. To be clear, you want a job, check on Gumtree, you want a bicycle ? Go on Gumtree. You want to sell your phone? Go on Gumtree…
Gumtree has a good concept in which you can post your own ad on your profile and it will exclusively be available on the corresponding part of the website. For instance, if you’re looking for a job in hospitality, you can put your ad and your resume in the hospitality part of the website, and optimise your chance of success!
Bonus : A gumtree is a very common tree in Australia; 9 times out of 10 that tree you’re looking at is some kind of gum tree. This is the tree that koalas are sleeping in and eating and chilling out in. Ironic that humans use it to look for work… Now you can use that in a conversation!
Australia Backpackers, Backpacker jobs in Australia, Australia WHV/PVT, and all the possible combinations you can find. For example « Sydney backpackers » , « [your nationality] in Brisbane », etc… Once you get the key words the possibilites are limitless. Enjoy yourself and follow all the pages, that way you’ll be able to help other fellow backpackers and share your situation when you need it.
Bonus : Try to find the Facebook page of your nationality in Australia; there is probably lot of funny facts and help!
To be honest, it’s only with this method that I got all my jobs! You will meet a huge amount of people, so try to describe your situation and say a « yeah I’m actually looking for a job ». You will be sure to find a plan, which you can give to someone else afterwards as well, and again and again !
Bonus : Feel free to put messages everywhere, like in your hostel: they will probably have a noticeboard for job advertisements.
« Find a job in Australia, it’s easy! »… Really?
Except if you’re lucky (and you could be), finding a job in Australia is not that easy: It’s not going to appear out of nowhere. There is a real cliché about how easy is to find an Australian job. But even if it’s probably easier to find a job over there than in Europe for example, it’s still hard work if you don’t want to get scammed. If you’re open-minded and resourceful, you could quickly find a job, even for a small wage. There is lot of cash and hand work which allows you to work in many different trades, sometimes without experience, which is very useful to try something you haven’t ever done before.
Also, if you have any trade experience as a builder, plumber, electrician, chef or hairdresser, for example, you will have plenty of opportunities to use these skills to earn some good money.
Good plans / Bad plans
Making the difference between good and bad plans is not a easy thing to do. A few years ago, Australia was the new Eldorado, the new land of travel and plentiful jobs for young people from all around the world. More and more travellers and foreigners work in Australia every year, and unfortunately some employers abuse their need for work. Above all, there can be problems with the wage, promises not kept, too physical work or awful accomodation. From all the people I met who experienced something like that, they all came down to one conclusion: wake up to the problem. If you realise that your employer is scamming you in any way- run away, far, far away. Because you will find many jobs in Australia, don’t waste your time in a bad place just because you think « it’s better than nothing ».
Those kind of things generally happen in farm jobs, because most of the time backpackers need to have a certain amount of days working in farming areas to qualify for a second-year visa in Australia.
Types of jobs
Whi is farm work a really popular sector for backpackers with a « Working Holiday Visa » ? Because in order to obtain a second-year visa for Australia, they need to work 88 days in rural areas. It is best to check the government official website to see if your job is in the correct sector and area to help you qualify. Find the link here: Employment verification
You can find farm jobs on Gumtree, on the internet, by calling everyone you know and asking them for more contacts. Or even better, by going directly to the farm and applying in person, dressed and ready to work; they might just hire you then and there! Farm jobs can be a real cliché and could be a good experience as much as it can be a real scourge. Some jobs that exist in this sector :
- Picking of fruits
- Packing of and fruits and vegetables
- Sorting of fruit and vegetables
- Pruning of trees and vines.
Take care to find a decent wage and prioritise jobs that will pay you by the hour and not by the amount of work you do. Even if it’s a bit harder to find, it’s not impossible and way better.
Some kinds of fruit or vegetable picking is best to be avoided, because they can be really hard to pick and will give you big backache. Some employers profit from the backpacker’s ignorance of this to get more workers, so keep communicating with your fellow backpackers to know which farms are reliable and reputable.
For example, strawberry and onion picking is awful and you most likely won’t get the pay you deserve for the amount of work you do.
Although they are less popular than farms, labouring jobs can be useful for your 88 days of work for the second year visa, as long as it’s in a rural area. The construction sector has many offers everywhere, for everyone, men and women, with normally a good wage. If you want to work in construction, you must have a licence to do so, called a « White Card » .
Getting your White Card:
The process is quite simple. You need to do a training day and an exam in the city you are, or online. There are many websites offering to do the application, with many different prices as well. The price is not going to change the card but just the « quality » of the process. The steps differ from the site you choose, but I will tell you my steps (I personally used one of the cheapest : $45)
- Step 1 : Pass the test, simple but quite long (3h minimum). It was only a fill-in-the-gaps exercise, that I had to fill with the original text in front of me.
- Step 2 : Wait for the phone call, pre-recorded robot, asking me simple questions on good comprehension (ex: what do you need to prevent head injuries? =Head protection)
- Step 3 : Do the adminsitration, I had to scan my passport and certify my identity by someone from the government (and bonus, I had to swear on the bible that I had good intentions).
Clarification : Your White Card is available in every State or Territory. You can work everywhere with it. It’s not the case for every work card, so be careful.
Other areas also may require you to have certain qualifications to be able to work. If you want to work in hospitality, for instance as a bartender, it is recommended (and sometimes mandatory) to have your « RSA » .
RSA (Responsible Service of Alcohol)
This qualification allows you to serve alcohol, to identify drunk people and prevent dangerous behavior related to alcohol. You can, like the White Card, do the application physically or online. The test isn’t really complicate either can also take some time. Its at least $60 to obtain your RSA. You can check rsaonlineinfo to know where to pass your RSA according to where you are.
Be careful, the RSA is not the same in every State or Territory, you will have to pay again if you move states.
RCG (Responsable Certificate of Gambling)
This qualification allows you to work inside casinos, and to work with gambling equipment and cash games. You will get trained to use poker machines. The RCG is not necessary in every State, but it’s recommended to have it if you want this kind of job. It’s around $80 for this certificate.
Barista & Green card
There are many other qualifications that you may need to work in Australia. A Barista Certificate for example is really useful because the coffee culture is a big thing over there, with cafés everywhere! Making good coffee is quite complex to do as well. (ref. to the article Did you know… : Australia)
The green card is also available if you want to do gardening work as a landscaper throughout all of Australia.