The unexpected costs of a Working Holiday Visa in Australia: The money you’ll need
How much money do you need for your Working Holiday Visa in Australia?
Earlier this year, we moved to Australia on a Working Holiday Visa (WHV). We were so excited for our new adventure, and chances are if you’re reading this blog, you’re thinking about moving to Australia too!
Aside from the cost of the visa application (in our case, $450 CAD), there were some other unexpected costs of the Working Holiday Visa. We had just come from a big trip all through South East Asia, so we had – um – just about nothing.
Below you’ll find some things to budget for when planning your move to Australia so that you don’t make the same mistakes that we did.
Ability to show $5,000 AUD or equivalent
You have probably already read this while applying for your Australia Working Holiday Visa. You must be able to show $5,000 AUD (or equivalent) upon entering the country.
To prove that you have it, you can show a printed bank statement or pull it up on your phone. They did not ask us for this, but we have many friends that were asked to prove it.
So don’t risk it. Have $5,000 AUD (or equivalent) ready to show before making your move.
Yep, we were asked for these.
After applying for our WHV, we waited two weeks and received an email that we must get medical exams done. This included a chest x-ray, a urine test, an eye test, and some other things on the list.
You do not have to do this unless you are asked.
We were in the Philippines at the time and the Australian Government had provided us a list of eligible clinics, none of which even remotely close to where we were. So there we were – making our way to Cebu city to do our medical exams.
We didn’t know exactly what we needed, but the clinic did. All eligible clinics will have the list of requirements for what you need to be done. Then, they will send your results over to the Australian Government.
The major pain in the ass? $250.00 each and an extra week of processing time.
Certifications to work
Upon arrival, something that shocked us about working in Australia is that there’s a certificate for pretty much anything. We don’t know what it’s like in some countries, but… wait – here, I’ll give an example.
I’ve worked in administrative roles for the past seven years and was not finding myself eligible for most entry-level office positions as I didn’t have my Business I, II, or III certificate.
To obtain a Business I certificate, you’d have to take a full-blown course. In the end, I ended up being placed in an office through a recruitment agency without it, but I wasn’t getting paid the highest rate, and it took longer for me to find a job.
- If you want to work in a restaurant, you’ll need your RSA (Responsible Service of Alcohol) certificate. If you’re planning of moving around Australia, decide where you will go first, because you will need different certificates for different regions.
The RSA prices at this time are:
Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia, and Northern Territory: $24.00 AUD online
Victoria: $60.00 in-class
New South Wales: $124.000 online
These certificates won’t transfer over when you change regions. So if you move to a different region, you’ll have to pay and go through the course again.
- If you want to work in a restaurant, you may also need your RCG (Responsible Gambling Services). This is because many bars / hotels / restaurants have slot machines or other gambling services inside. That means, if you want to work there, you’ve gotta be eligible to be around them.
Obtaining an RCG costs around $60.00 AUD.
Usually, you can tack on the RCG course to your RSA payment and get a deal on both.
- If you are interested in working in labour (construction industry), you will need your White Card.
A White Card can cost anywhere from $40-$150 AUD depending on if you buy a package.
The most common price for a White Card is $59.00 AUD.
- Many expats also work as construction flaggers in Australia. The course to do construction flagging is roughly $600 AUD.
There are courses for pretty much everything in Australia. Some of them are compulsory, some of them are not.
In a competitive city like Sydney (where we were living), people may even ask for Barista certification in a busy cafe, or other types of certificates (like the Business I) for common office jobs.
Do your research, budget, and come prepared. Many of the courses can be done online before your arrival.
This should be obvious, but we didn’t even think about it. Nick originally got a construction job, which required you to have your own PPE. Your steel toe boots alone could really rack up a bill. The estimated cost of buying your own PPE upon arrival is roughly $300-$400 AUD.
For my job interview at a recruitment agency alone, I had to come dressed in full corporate wear. That meant I had to go out and buy a ladies suit with tights and heels, which was around $150.00 AUD (on a budget). Luckily, because of my experience, I was placed in a media-based position where full corporate wear wasn’t necessary every day.
If you’re planning on working a corporate gig and need to wear this stuff every day, you could easily spend $300.00 AUD for your look alone.
Some cafes will just have you wear black bottoms, so if you’re planning on working in one, bring your own from home so you don’t have to buy them upon arrival!
Nope, Australia is not hot all of the time. We should’ve had everything (you know, being Canadian and all) but we had been living in Cambodia for the entirety of last year. Winter rolled around and guess what, we were cold. We spent about $200.00 AUD each on winter clothes.
Bring your winter stuff from back home if you want to save a coin.
Research where you’ll be going and see how far the temperatures drop.
If you’re coming from a hot climate, be prepared to invest in some winter gear.
Apartment rental bond
Of course, you’re going to have to pay rent – but have you budgeted for a security deposit (bond)? You will need money during your Working Holiday Visa in Australia for your bond alone.
Most, if not all, landlords in Australia will ask for a bond which is fully refundable at the end of your lease. The bonds can vary. Bonds can range from a two week rent deposit to a three month’s rent deposit, so be prepared with some extra cash that you can pay up front.
Our bond was the equivalent of two week’s rent, so we had to pay $700.00 AUD up front for our apartment, which we got back once we moved out of it.
SIM Card + Phone Plan
You should probably have a number where employers can reach you, right?
One of the first things we spent money on in Australia during our Working Holiday Visa was a SIM card. This way, we had phone numbers for employers to call us, and GPS to guide us around.
The cost of an average plan in New South Wales is $40-$50 AUD/month.
Ahhh – of course. You need to pay to get around.
Nope, there was no way we were going to afford a car.
To get around Sydney, we bought Opal cards and loaded them with $100 AUD each.
We roughly spent $30 AUD/week on transit for the duration that we lived there.
You will need money to get yourself started
You’ve probably already thought of this, but our advice is to write down everything you’ve been spending money in the past week. If you can’t remember, start next week.
Chances are, when you move to Australia on your Working Holiday Visa, you will still want & need all of those things. What are they? Groceries, new socks, beer, a phone charger because your last one crapped out? You will still need money to live your life.
Lastly, emergencies can happen. Always make sure you have enough money to cover yourself if you get into one.
Speaking of emergencies, make sure you have yourself covered. We recommend World Nomads travel insurance to ensure you’re covered on any trip you take – including moving abroad. You can get a quote for World Nomads right here.
Now it probably makes sense why the Australian government asks you to have $5,000 AUD to show when you enter the country. It makes sense. You will need money for your Working Holiday Visa in Australia. Come prepared, and have the time of your life.
As always, you can reach out to us on Instagram @notluxxe if you have any questions.