Working Holiday in Perth - The Essentials

Working Holidays are a great way to extend your travels beyond the limitations of your pre-trip savings by allowing you to legally work in Australia. Many travellers find it easier in terms of finding jobs and exploring the country to have one full-time employment for up to six months. Some prefer to do this at the beginning of their trip so they can stock up on funds and budget accordingly the rest of their time, while other would rather use it to replenish their depleted funds in the middle or end of their trip. No matter when you choose to work during your trip, you will need to take care of a few technical details in order to work.

First item of business is getting a permanent Australian address. If your entire trip involves extensively visiting Perth and you’ll be at the same address the entire time, then you can use that address and you’re set. However, most travellers do plan to move around the country and constantly updating your address to your current location is unpractical. Those travellers should look into companies that offer a permanent mailing address with mail forwarding services. This service can cost anywhere from $75 to over $250 per year depending on the company. I chose the cheapest one I could find, Traveller’s Contact Point, and it worked just fine.


You may want to enjoy a freedom from technology while you travel Perth and Australia, but if you plan to work you’ll find it difficult to be completely tech-free. Most jobs want to be able to contact you when you’re not at work (crazy, I know), which means you’ll need a mobile. If you don’t bring a mobile that will work with the Australian frequencies then you’ll need to rent or buy one. You can find a phone for relatively cheap, sometimes even free if you get it used. After that you need to choose a service provider and buy a SIM card. All the providers are functional, but if you plan on travelling extensively in the outback and rural areas you’ll want Telstra. You can do a prepaid account or have a plan. Prepaid is best for the majority of travellers, unless you plan on using your phone a lot.

Once you’ve got a permanent Australian address and a contact number you’ll want to apply for your Tax File Number (TFN). This individual identification number is needed by any company you choose to work for as it allows the government to track your earnings. You want to apply for your TFN after you’ve gotten a permanent address since the address you give them on your application is where they will mail your information. If you use your first hostel address and move on before the letter arrives, you’ll need to get the hostel to forward it to you. It’s a hassle, trust me. You can apply for your TFN online at the Australian Taxation Office website.


Suburban Mail Boxes
Photo Credit: Flickr/Christian Haugen

Lastly you’ll need a bank account. All the jobs I held paid me through direct deposit into my bank account, so if you want to be paid this is rather important. When choosing a bank, check how common they are in the areas you plan on travelling through. A large, national bank is the best choice. Most banks allow you to open, set up and transfer an initial deposit before you arrive in the country. Doing this often gives you a better exchange rate and security than bringing traveller’s check or cash to exchange in country. When you go to first access your account, or set one up in country, you’ll need to provide the bank with an address, contact number and preferably TFN to get a better interest rate.

Once you are done with these technical details, you can kick back, relax and enjoy yourself knowing that you are set for both the work and holiday portions of your Working Holiday Visa.

If you have any tips on working holidays in Perth, and in other parts of Australia, add your comments below.

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