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  • Writer's pictureElan Rysher

More Covid-19 relief for Working Holiday Makers

Updated: Aug 26, 2020

Working holiday Makers (WHM) are an important part of Australia's economy and society. Unfortunately, Covid-19 travel restrictions have made new WHM arrivals impossible. On the other hand, many subclass 417 and 462 visa holders are still in Australia and unable to leave due to international travel disruptions and cancellations.

Working holiday visa holder in Australia working as a Nurse at a hospital

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The Government has relaxed certain visa rules in a bid to assist visa holders stranded onshore and their employers. Keeping up with this trend, on 18 August 2020 the Department of Home Affairs introduced changes which expand the definition of 'Specified Work' (AKA regional or farm work). Below is the announcement published on Home Affairs' website:

"Critical COVID-19 work in the healthcare and medical sectors to count as ‘specified work’

Working Holiday Makers can now count critical COVID-19 work in the healthcare and medical sectors undertaken anywhere in Australia after 31 January 2020 as specified work to apply for a second or third WHM visa.

Changes will also be made to allow former WHMs who transitioned to a COVID-19 Pandemic event visa to continue undertaking critical COVID-19 work in the healthcare and medical sectors to resume the WHM pathway. Under these arrangements, critical COVID-19 work in the healthcare and medical sectors carried out by former WHMs on a Pandemic event visa will count as specified work towards a 2nd or 3rd WHM visa.  Regulation amendments are required to bring these changes into effect. Further updates will be provided on our website when available."

ImmiUpdates has reviewed the legislative instruments behind the announcement. They contain interesting examples of what constitutes 'critical COVID-19 work in the healthcare and medical sectors':

(a) medical treatment, nursing, contact tracing, testing and research;

(b) support services such as cleaning of medical and health care facilities and equipment.

The new legislation also specifies that these examples are not a comprehensive list. Other types of positions may also be considered.

Have any questions? Post them in the comments below! (or email Elan at


Information (or the lack of it) contained in ImmiUpdates should not be relied on as immigration assistance or advice. ImmiUpdates expressly disclaim any liability, arising at law, in equity or otherwise, for any information published or not published in past, the present or future editions of the blog. People seeking immigration assistance should seek advice from a registered migration agent and those seeking legal advice should consult a lawyer. The copyright in the newsletter belongs to Rysher Migration Services and no part of the blog is to be reproduced by any means without the written consent of Rysher Migration Services.


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