Nope, this is not a program for dogs, nor is the name supposed to resemble a dog’s bark (although funny enough, it does). WWOOfing is a unique opportunity to work and travel in Australia while on a Visitor Visa or Working Holiday visa!
If you have been thinking about an Australian working visa but are not sure where to find employment, or are not ready for a full commitment, the WWOOF program might be exactly what you need.
Agriculture in Australia rakes in 155 billion dollars a year (can anyone even comprehend this incredible number?). Farmers and graziers own 135,000 farms, covering an astounding 61% of the country! This fact by itself lets you know that there is plenty of work to do, but also plenty of fun.
WOOfing stands for Willing Workers on Organic Farms. It is a work and travel program for individuals and families who want to visit Australia for a certain period of time and experience something new, and different.
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WWOOfing is an international movement designed to connect adventurous volunteers with organics farmers. You can go alone, with your partner, or with your family for a unique experience.
The goal of this program is to promote international exchange and support the agriculture industry in Australia. Today, there are over 1,400 registered farms in Australia that participate in this program and provide work in crop production, collecting fruit and vegetables, caring for livestock and animal husbandry.
As a WWOOfing volunteer, you will be able to work the fields in exchange for meals and a comfy room. It is also an opportunity to network with new people and potential future employers. All you need is a certain type of Australian working visa.
Why Work in Australia Through WWOOfing?
Working in Australia through WWOOfing provides several benefits:
The adventure. With a flexible schedule, you can dedicate plenty of time to travel in Australia, go sightseeing and enjoy the sunny beaches. If you need some recommendations as to where to visit, check out our blog post: 5 most magical places to visit in Australia.
Social networking. You will immerse yourself in diverse cultures and might even make a friend or two! If you are traveling by yourself, perhaps your new mates would be happy to join you on your ventures. They might even become friends for life.
Paid work opportunities. If you decide that you love Australia and would like to stick around for a bit longer, take the opportunity to search for regular employment. You might find it with the farmer you are working for, through his own connections, or during your travels. If you do land a job offer, you can apply for a regular work visa and even become eligible for permanent residency.
Tips on Working in Australia Through WWOOfing
Before booking with the first host family you find, we recommend enquiring about the location of the farms you are interested in joining. This is because some farms are way out there in outback Australia, and they can be difficult to access. You might also encounter difficulties in traveling elsewhere outside the farm if you wish to do so.
Another important tip is how to choose your host family? You can ask, for example, whether your host has past experience with volunteers, what are their expectations, etc. This will paint a better picture of what you should expect upon arrival.
Lastly, make sure to get proper insurance. All WWOOF volunteers are insured on their guest farms for accidents or injuries of up to 10,000 AUD. The insurance should be included in your membership fee (more details below). You should consider purchasing separate health insurance as well.
How Do I Join WWOOfing?
To become a WWOOfing volunteer and work in Australia you must be 18 years or older and hold either a Working Holiday Visa or Tourist Visa.
You can pay for a 6-month or 12-month membership fee, after which you will receive access to their platform with all 1,400 farm owner participants. You can search available volunteering spots, accommodation types, and connect with potential hosts.
The WWOOfing experience is based on an agreement made between yourself or your family and the farm owner. This means that there are no contractual obligations, so you can leave this activity at any time.
Getting a Working Holiday Visa to Join WWOOfing
As mentioned, you have two options to join this program and work in Australia: obtain a Working Holiday Visa or a Tourist Visa. We will now explain the differences between them and how you can obtain them:
A Working Holiday Visa Australia is described as the “work and travel” visa for people who want to travel in Australia while making the money to do so. This means that there is a work permit included in this visa. A Working Holiday Visa Australia is one of the most popular Australian visas for work in Australia.
This visa is granted for 12 months and also allows you to study for up to 4 months. If you decide to stay longer, you will have the option to apply for a second and third Working Holiday Visa (your eligibility will be determined according to the agreement with your country and volunteer work requirements).
This Working Holiday Visa is limited to young adults who are 18 to 30 years old, or 35 years old for some nationalities. It is also limited to certain passport holders, according to the agreement between Australia and your country of origin. Here is a list of eligible Australia Working Holiday Visa countries.
If you are over 30 years old, you have a second option – Australia’s Tourist Visas.
Getting a Tourist Visa to Join WWOOfing
This is probably the easiest method to join Australia’s WWOOfing program.
First of all, you can apply for this visa starting at 18 years old upwards! That’s right, there is no upper age limit for Australia’s Tourist Visas. So, if you are not eligible for a Working Holiday Visa, this is your next best option.
Secondly, obtaining an Australian Tourist Visa requires a simple and straightforward process. Depending on your nationality, you will need to apply either for the Visitor Visa – Subclass 600, or for an eVisitor Visa – Subclass 651.
Australia’s Visitor Visa – Subclass 600 is divided into 2 streams: Tourist Stream – Apply Outside of Australia, and the Tourist Stream – Apply in Australia. The names pretty much speak for themselves. You need to select the Visitor Visa you need according to where you are at the time of applying.
You might consider applying for the eVisitor Visa instead if you are a passport holder of one of the following eligible countries. This is a visa you can easily apply for online.
Whether you will be applying for a regular Visitor Visa or an eVisitor visa, your visa will be granted to you for 3 months. However, unlike the Working Holiday Visas, these visas do not include a work permit. So, if you wish to participate in paid work after your volunteering experience, you will need to apply for a Working Holiday Visa or a regular work permit.
How Can UIS Australia Help You Work in Australia?
UIS Australia is a veteran when it comes to Australian immigration. We can assist you with your visa application for the Visitor Visa – Subclass 600 or the Working Holiday Visa (first, second and third). You can then apply for the WWOOfing program separately (or before applying for your visa, of course).
We can also assess your eligibility for several other work visas to determine what option suits you the best, provide you with professional consultation, assist with document collection, C.V optimization, and more.
Depending on your goals, we will be happy to provide tailored solutions to all your immigration needs. Be sure to click the button below to contact an immigration professional today!