A Muslim Traveller’s Guide to Working Holidays in New Zealand and Australia

You’ve seen and heard of young backpackers on working holidays around the world. While you may feel envious of their exciting adventures, have you ever wondered how they make such experiences happen when they seem to be scraping pennies as a young adult? Fret not, you can now embark on a Working Holiday where you can pay for your travels as you travel. Read on to find out more about Working Holidays and how you can plan your next adventure!

What is a working holiday?

It is essentially what its name suggests – having to work during your holiday. Make that an extended holiday. It may not sound as enticing but trust us, working in the fields is more than just laborious work. This unique experience will not only arm you with quirky travel stories to share, but it will also provide you with a whole new perspective on what it means to be a traveller.

Youths, aged 35 and under, are able to apply for a Working Holiday Visa (WHV) which grants them the eligibility to work while on holiday. If you’re working in an industry that’s in great demand such as agriculture, you might even be able to extend your visa for another year.

Where can I go for a working holiday?

If you don’t want to venture too far north, you might want to consider heading to Oceania. Singaporeans are eligible to apply for the WHV in Australia and New Zealand, as of January 2019.

muslim travel working holidays new zealand

How do I apply?

You can begin the administration process by heading to the respective immigration websites. It is important to note that there are limited slots available for visas to both countries. There are 500 slots open for the Australian Working Holiday and 200 available for the New Zealand Working Holiday. The visa approval is on a first come first serve basis. To avoid disappointment, you should apply immediately after the application registration opens.

#HZ tip: Do take note that an application and other administrative fees will be incurred upon visa registration.

What do I need to prepare?

There’s an entire list of documents you’ll need to prepare before submitting your WHV application. You will need:

  1. Valid Singaporean Passport
  2. Proof of sufficient funds to support yourself throughout the Working Holiday
  3. Onward ticket to leave NZ/Australia or sufficient funds to buy one
  4. Graduated from a local Polytechnic/ University
  5. Meet character/ health requirements

What can I expect?

New Zealand WHV (NZWHV)

Welcome to the land of long white cloud and where the population of sheep outnumbers humans! While in New Zealand, there is an assortment of job opportunities that await you. While the chances of securing office-based jobs are slim, you might find it easier to get a job in the agriculture or hospitality sector.

muslim travel working holidays new zealand
Image credit: Philip Morton

If you’re planning to visit in the summer, there are plenty of job vacancies that vary from commercial farming to working in hostels or quaint bed and breakfasts. These kinds of jobs tend to have a high turnover rate. As these jobs would only require you to work for a few weeks, it is an ideal option for travellers looking to hop from city to city.

#HZ tip: Please ensure these jobs offers are legitimate. There have been one too many instances where travellers weren’t paid the amount that was initially agreed upon. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

new zealand hostel
Image credit: Adventure Queenstown Hostel

Another area of concern for long-term travellers is accommodation. Hostels are highly recommended with some offering cheaper rates if you’re planning to stay for a while. Another budget-friendly option is homestay. Instead of paying for your stay, you would just have to commit a couple of hours each day to help the family out. From household chores to just helping out with the kids’ homework, it’s a small thing to sacrifice for your a nights sleep. The best part is that you’ll be able to experience life as a Kiwi.

Also read: Muslim-Friendly Itinerary to South Island, New Zealand in 7 Days

Australia WHV (AWHV)

australia working holiday

The glaring difference between NZWHV and AWHV is that upon registering online, you will have to go down to the Australian Visa Application Center to complete your application in person.

Just like the NZWHV, there are many job opportunities ranging from casual retail positions to working in fruit farms. You are advised to begin your job applications online, prior to leaving Singapore. For those who choose to wing it, you may go from door to door with your biggest smile and your resume to inquire if they’re hiring.

With regards to accommodation, it’s similar to what you can expect in New Zealand. You might want to consider applying for jobs that also offer a living space. Some employers might recommend accommodations close to your job or even offer a shared room at a discounted price.

muslim travel working holidays australia

Since Australia and New Zealand are some of the world’s most liveable and safest countries, it comes as no surprise that these two countries are popular destinations among Muslim travellers to embark on a working holiday. 2019 is just getting started! So, it is never too late for you to start saving up and planning your next great adventure abroad. Step out of your comfort zone and embrace the unknown as you embark on your first working holiday!

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