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The Ultimate Guide to Farm Work
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Why work on a farm?
If you’re in Australia on a Working Holiday Visa and have fallen in love with this incredible country, you can always enquire to find out the best way for you to extend your Australian stay.
To extend the duration of your visa, there are several options available including attending a course of study. However, it is common for young people to complete 88 days of work on a farm or in regional areas during their first Working Holiday Visa; this will then allow you to apply to stay for a second year.
How does it work?
Farm work usually takes place in working communities or on farms that may offer food and shelter – although this is not always the case. The most common sectors to complete this work in are agriculture, fishing, fresh produce, meat and poultry production.
Most work is paid on an hourly basis or according to the amount of fruit and vegetables harvested. Workers are usually paid on a weekly or fortnightly (every two weeks) basis.
There are some farms where it isn’t possible to work on weekends, when it rains or when the weather is otherwise not suitable. In addition, it is not guaranteed that you will remain under the same employer for three consecutive months. It is highly likely that completing the farm work will last much longer than 88 days.
What it really means to work on a farm:
Work experience on a farm is very subjective. It can be an incredible adventure or a very tiring experience.
It definitely isn’t a walk in the park; your alarm clock will sound at the first light of dawn. The pace of work is intense and the tasks to be performed can often be exhausting and repetitive.
If you’re priority is making money, this might not be the best option for you – many working hostels charge extremely high prices.
So, what are the positives of working on a farm? You’ll build great friendships with your farm colleagues! The relationships that are created in difficult times are extremely important. Also, the nightlife in a working hostel is a unique experience!
Completing the 88 days is a great achievement to be proud of, and there is a lot of satisfaction in seeing your stay in Australia renewed by an extra year!
Job search tips for farm work:
The key to having a successful farm experience is planning, researching and making sure that your employer is treating you properly.
Begin by searching for a job.
Finding a farm to work on is not so easy; it is better to organise this in advance. It’s a good idea to contact people who have already had this experience or use your network—consult websites or groups on social media dedicated to working on farms.
Verify the requirements for the renewal of a second WHV:
Farm work for a second year visa must comply with the guidelines set out by the Department of Home Affairs.
Check if your chosen company is eligible by consulting the Australian Business Register and make sure that your work is treated in accordance to the law.
Remember that if your employer does not comply with the regulations in place, you may not be able to obtain a second Working Holiday Visa!
Find a nearby place to stay:
Make sure that the company you’re going to work for is easy to get to.
Then, look for accommodation nearby. Read reviews from other travellers and check the room before a payment is made.
Our final advice is to have fun!
Become familiar with the environment, make new friends, learn from those who have more experience than you, immerse yourself in Australian culture and prove to yourself that it is possible to do something you’ve never thought about!
When is the best time to work on a farm?
Our advice would be to start your experience in a city and then make your way over to farms. Our advice would be to start your experience in a city and then make your way over to the farms.
Why start in a city?
You are beginning a new life in a country you don’t know, with a culture that is different from your own. Not only do cities offer you more opportunities, they also have everything you need. The cities are very multicultural, and locals are used to helping out. You can also refresh your English with a course, get your first work experience and, after a few months with the confidence you’ve gained and new skills you’ve learned, you’ll be able to face the farms at your best!
If you choose to head straight to a farm on your arrival in Australia, without any experience of the territory and how things work, you may encounter problems. Some of these problems may arise due to the lack of confidence with Australian slang or someone could take advantage of you by making you work more than others or paying less than you should receive.