Tips for Backpackers Looking for Side Employment in NZ or Australia

If you’re dreaming of a fun extended holiday in Australia or New Zealand, you might be worrying you won’t have enough funds. It’s usually young people who go on such discovery trips and, sadly, most of them don’t have enough money to fulfill their dream. There is, however, an easy solution. How about you visit the country and take some odd job here and there to earn some money?

Here are some tips to get you started on the adventure of a lifetime.

Secure a visa

When visiting Australia you need a tourist visa. If you’re planning on working there, too, you will need a different type of visa. Young people under the age of 30 can apply for a Working Holiday Visa. For a few countries the age limit is 35.

Specifically, you can apply for a  462 or 417 visa. The former allows you to work in Australia for one year, while the second type is valid for two years, so it might be preferable. 

There’s no difference between the two types when it comes to the requirements. Obviously, you will need a valid passport and you’ll have to fill in some forms (online, fortunately).  At the same time, you will be asked about your criminal record and you’ll have to submit it, too.

You must know that to be granted a Working Holiday visa you should have a clean criminal record or at least only have minor offences on it. Under Australian law, minor offences refers to the type of offences for which the conviction is less than 12 months prison time.

For New Zealand, the conditions are similar. Most people can get a 12 months working visa, while citizens of the United Kingdom and Canada can apply for a 23 months visa.

How much money do you need

The main idea is that you’ll only be working temporarily, so you need to prove that you have at least some money for your immediate needs. At a minimum, you need to prove that you have at least AUD 5,000, either with a bank statement or a credit card with a limit above that sum.

Also, you need proof that you have the money to go back home when your visa expires.

What type of jobs are available to backpackers in Australia and New Zealand?

That depends on your skills and what sort of work you are willing to do. Many young people look for jobs in agriculture or taxi drivers in towns like Canberra as hard workers are always in great demand. Such jobs also provide you with a steady income that can help you cover costs for accommodation and food.

You should keep a valid national criminal history check handy as most employers will require this as part of the job application. You can get this from the local police like the AFP, or you can get it from an accredited online provider like which will email you the certificate.

If you prefer city life, you can look for easy jobs where you can pretty much learn on the job. You can, for instance, find employment as a bartender or waiter, which is also a good way of meeting people. You might also apply for work in a call center as all you need to do is acquaint yourself with the main line of business of the company.

If you have artistic skills, you might find a job as an entertainer or you can sell your paintings, drawings or handcrafted items at local fairs.

There are plenty of opportunities waiting for you, but don’t forget that the process of getting a visa might take up to a few months so apply as soon as possible.