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Working and living in Australia


  Marica&Sonia   |     26/09/2018

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WORKING HOLIDAY VISA 417
This is a visa issued by the Australian state to young people aged between 18 and 31 (not completed at the time of application) and allows you to stay in the country for a duration of 12 consecutive months with the aim of a work-holiday stay. It costs AUD 440 and can be requested online directly via the Australian Government website. The major limitation of this visa is the impossibility of working for the same employer for a period of more than 6 months. The aim, in fact, is to allow young "backpackers" to be able to travel and work at the same time to be self-financing. Other requirements for the purpose of obtaining a visa are those of not being able to have dependent children and to be able to show that you have enough money to cover the expenses during your stay (the figure of 3000 AUD is indicated in addition to a return ticket - requirements that however are not really checked for most of the time).
It is also possible to extend this visa for a further 12 months, paying again the fee of 440 AUD. To be able to renew it, however, it is necessary to carry out a recognized work valid by the State for the purpose of this extension for a minimum duration of 3 months (or 88 days), even if not consecutive. Generally, these are jobs in the agricultural sector, but the state makes available every year a list of sectors and areas, according to the postal code, valid to carry out these jobs as they are areas with low population density and far from major city centres.
If you are in Australia when you submit your application for the second WHV, then you will need to be in the country at the time of renewal and the 12-month extension will be activated immediately.
In case you want to activate the second WHV later on, you have to apply outside the country and you have 12 months to return from the time of the renewal. In any case, it is necessary to apply for the second WHV within the 31 years of age, as in the case of the first visa.

MEDICARE
Medicare is the public health system available to all Australian citizens. However, Italy has entered into agreements with Australia - called "Reciprocal Health Care Agreements" - which allows Italian citizens, even if they have a temporary visa, to access the Australian public health system free of charge for a duration of 6 consecutive months.
You can request a Medicare card at one of the many centres in the country, presenting a passport with a valid visa and an Italian health card. They will give you a provisional number and send the Medicare card to the home address provided at the time of application.
The treatments covered by Medicare are essential medical treatments, ie "physical illnesses or damage that occur during the stay in Australia and require treatment before leaving to go back home". These treatments vary clearly from country to country depending on the type of agreement with Australia. In the case of Italy, it includes treatments in public hospitals, some subsidized medicines and visits to Medicare public clinics are generally free. At the time of the visit, you will be asked for the Medicare card and you will need to fill in the form for the Medicare Bulk Bill which will then be used to send the bill directly to Medicare, with no need to pay anything. However, if you are in the hospital, it is always better to ask in order to be sure that this exemption is valid for the service you are requesting.
This free health coverage is valid for 6 consecutive months from the time of application and can be renewed for a further 6 months leaving and returning from the country, thus presenting the new entry stamp on the passport, at the Medicare centres.

PRIVATE INSURANCE
Therefore, buying a private travel insurance is not strictly necessary, but it is highly recommended. It is good to do a research to understand what is the best travel insurance that suits your needs. In fact, it is necessary to take into account, in addition to any medical expenses not included in the free treatments provided by Medicare (as may be transported by ambulance), also any cover for cancellation of the trip or early return for hospitalization of a family member, just to name a few example of the dozens of problems that could occur on a journey, especially if for long periods. In addition, if you are not in a position to leave the country to renew the 6 months of Medicare, it is highly discouraged to stay in Australia without any type of medical insurance, especially if you work in farms where the risk of accidents increases.

TAX FILE NUMBER
Once in Australia, if you were going to work, you need to request the Tax File Number (TFN), which can be carried out on-line but only once physically in Australia, in order to manage your taxes and the various government services. In fact, you will need this number at the of signing the contract. You will be sent home (home address indicated at the time of application) a letter containing this number in about 3 weeks. You can still look for a job even if you are not in possession of the TFN and sign the contract, within 28 days from the start date of the job, thus providing only then the TFN. This number is valid for life and therefore it is not necessary to request it every time you return to Australia albeit with a different visa. Attention: at the time of signing the employment contract, in addition to the TFN you will be required to fill out an "Employee Declaration Form" in which you must indicate whether or not you are residents for tax purposes. This request has nothing to do with the concept of physical residence in Australia. It rather refers to the intention or not to stay in Australia, demonstrated for example by staying for 6 consecutive months in the same city and working for the same employer. It is good therefore to inquire on the website of the Australian government to better understand which category you fall into. This answer, in fact, will be very important at the time of the declaration of income that takes place at the end of the fiscal year or at the end of June each year.

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Marica&Sonia

Two tireless travellers, with the look and the thoughts wandering beyond the borders of the world.

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