Are you thinking of escaping economic doom and gloom by going on a working holiday to Australia or New Zealand? Labour shortages and a resources boom mean that there are plenty of jobs available for backpackers Down Under. Not convinced? Well, recent research by the Backpacker Operators Association of New South Wales (BOA NSW) shows that there are over 25,000 jobs suited for 18 to 30-year-old backpackers available right now in Sydney alone.
With that in mind if you are thinking about a working holiday Down Under, did you know that you have to get a Tax File Number in Australia? Or do you want to know the best ways to approach potential employers? If so, check our top tips...
Before you go…
1. Get the relevant visa
Before you travel to Australia or New Zealand to work you will have to get your hands on the relevant visa. Contact your local Australian or New Zealand embassy to find out what the application requirements are and apply for it before you go.
2. Prepare Your CV/Resume
Be sure to have your CV/résumé prepared before travelling. There is nothing worse than preparing it on a dodgy PC in an internet cafe at $5 an hour. Save it to a memory stick/floppy disk and just in case you lose your disk, e-mail a copy to yourself so you have access to it at any time.
Once you get there…
1. Get a Tax File Number / Inland Revenue Department Number
In Australia, make sure you attain a Tax File Number (TFN) before you look for work. Until you get this you will be taxed at a rate of 48%, as opposed to 29% which is the standard rate for travellers on a working visa. In New Zealand you must apply for an Inland Revenue Department (IRD) number. For more information visit www.ato.gov.au for Australia and www.ird.govt.nz for New Zealand.
2. Register with recruitment agencies
There are lots of recruitment agencies in the bigger cities and they can find you work in all types of industries. When you are registering with the agencies don't just arrive out of the blue. Ring ahead and make an appointment and dress appropriately for the type of industry you wish to work in.
3. Approach potential employers in person also
If you are looking for work in the hospitality, retail or construction industries, or if you’re looking for seasonal work (fruit picking, farming etc.) approaching employers in person may sometimes prove to be more effective.
4. When looking for work in New Zealand…
If you are planning on working in New Zealand, rather than looking in the most popular places such as Queenstown and Auckland, try out some other places which are not as popular with backpackers such as Nelson or Wanaka.
5. Opening Bank Accounts
In Australia it is easier to open an account in your first six weeks as the amount of identification required to open one increases significantly after this period. All you need up to this point (with some banks anyway) is a passport. In New Zealand you need a permanent address but this can be residential or a post office box number.
When you get back
1. Claim Your Tax Back
If you intend to stay 6 months or more in the one town/city compile evidence of this. Once you can prove that you are living the same way as an Australian citizen (ie name on lease, bills in your name etc.) you are entitled to be taxed in the same way. Then when filing your tax returns you will receive a much larger refund than your everyday working holiday maker. For more information about claiming tax back, visit www.taxback.com.