Work Rights Waivers Explained

On a Working Holiday Visa and want to stay with your employer beyond the six-month limit?

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) recognises that it’s sometimes necessary for Working Holiday Visa holders and Work and Holiday Visa holders to stay with their employers longer than six months. Be warned though, you’ll need a very good reason.

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You can request to remain in your job if you’ve applied for another visa and you’re awaiting a decision on that application. This is the most common reason for waivers and probably the most likely to result in a positive outcome. You can ask to stay with your employer if you’ve applied for a work visa, skilled visa or a partner visa.

Permission can also be granted in ‘exceptional circumstances’. For example, if your input is needed to complete a critical project at work. Bear in mind though, your definition of critical and the DIBP’s might be poles apart.

You won’t receive a waiver if you’re required to complete a project in a role that isn’t highly skilled, such as retail or admin. Your work must be specialised and your input crucial.

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In certain circumstances, you can also request a work rights waiver if you’re helping with disaster relief work such as clearing up after a flood or re-building after a natural disaster.

Extending the work condition on a Working Holiday Visa or Work and Holiday Visa can also be done if you’re employed as an au pair. If you’re working with one family for six months, you may be granted approval to stay in the same role for a further six months. To be classed as an au pair by DIBP, you should be spending the bulk of your time looking for children under the age of 12.

You can also be granted a waiver if you work in certain industries in Northern Australia, including aged and disability care, agriculture and forestry, construction, mining and tourism. Northern Australia comprises all of the Northern Territory and places in Queensland and WA that sit above the Tropic of Capricorn.

A word of warning, do not leave it until the last minute to submit a work rights waiver request. You’ll need to lodge the 1445 waiver form at least two weeks before your six months is up. Working past the allowed six months is a risk. It can impact on a future visa application.

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