Halls Creek, WA, sunset
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Today it was announced that there will be a delay of the backpacker tax of six months, while they figure out what they want to do it. This means that until December 31, 2016 you can keep working with the tax free threshold, so good news for us backpackers! This also means that if you’re thinking of coming to Australia on a Working Holiday Visa (WHV), you should do so as soon as possible to make sure you still work under the taxfree threshold. This announcement made us think that this is a good time to share our knowledge of working in Australia and give you a tip on making as much money as you can while on your WHV. It’s no rocket science; you just need to move to a place you might not consider before.

Why go to Australia?

When we were deciding on where to start our world trip, we didn’t immediately think about Australia. We wanted to see South America and Asia and see as many countries as we could. However, for that we needed money. First we thought of working in our hometown for one year and save money and then go traveling.

But after talking to a friend we found out that you can really earn a lot of money in Australia. The minimum wage in Australia is pretty high ($17.29), and currently you still get all your super annuation and tax back (on the first $18,000 you earn). So we decided on Australia, and not because of the beauty of the country or because it was on the top of our list. This was just a bonus for us, because of course we get to see a lot in this beautiful country. It was mostly because we knew we can save up money here to fund the rest of our travels. What we save up here in six months would probably take us about a year in our country. And this way we could start our adventure one year sooner than planned.

Working Holiday Visa in Australia

With a WHV you can travel in Australia, but you also get the chance to get a job. You can apply for any kind of job, but you can only stay at the same employer for a maximum of six months. You can also apply for your second year Working Holiday Visa if you do three months of regional work.
So you’re thinking of going on a WHV in Australia and plan on working for a bit as well. You might consider doing farm work to immediately get your second year visa out of the way, or maybe you plan on taking a job in one of the big cities and have an amazing lively experience whilst working. There is also another option, namely you might consider working remote just like us and want to save up as much money as you can. To travel more of course.

Working in a remote area

Forget Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, the place where you can save money the quickest is in the outback. Australia is amazing, but it’s really, really expensive. Don’t worry, if you’re planning on traveling around on a low budget: it is possible. But if you’re planning on settling down in one of the bigger cities, then it’s hard to stay on a tight budget and save money. Because the cost of living in these cities is high.

If you want to get a job not only to support your current living situation, but actually to save up and fund your further travels, then you need to get out of the city and work in a remote area. And trust us; this is an experience you’ll never forget. In remote areas they often offer you accommodation and food plus wages, meaning that you barely spend anything while you are earning money. In the cities you will not only spend your money on the necessities of life, you will also spend it on drinks, clubbing, shopping and other entertainment. In remote areas you barely have anything to spend your money on.
So, thinking of getting a job in a remote area? Of course you can’t easily just drop by and give your resume. Luckily we found a very useful agency that can help you get a job.

MLKA recruitment

We are working about six months straight in one location. However, there is another amazing way to work and save a lot in Australia, while also traveling around. While we found our current job via a friend of ours, a lot of other employees here came via a recruitment agency named MLKA. We hadn’t heard of it before we got here, so we thought it was worth sharing with you guys. MLKA focuses on employment in remote areas in Australia, and their services are free of charge. They specialize in the outback of Western Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland and remote South Australia. The jobs they offer are mostly in hospitality and most jobs they offer are live-in jobs. It’s perfect for backpackers that want to travel around and work in different locations in Australia, as they can help you find jobs in almost every remote location.

Get your tax back

Every time we see a pay slip we’re amazed by how much of it actually goes to tax. Lucky for us that they didn’t take on the new backpacker’s tax, because we can still get it all back! When the tax year ends (30th of june) or when you’re leaving Australia you can claim your refund and cash it all in. We haven’t done our tax return yet, but we’ve already looked up some information on the topic. We don’t know how the process goes yet, but we have some tips to get you started on the process.

  • If you’re planning on leaving Australia before the end of the income year (30 June), then you can get your tax refund early. You can find some more information on it here.
  • Make sure you are eligible to claim your tax back, which you are if you can answer yes to one of the following questions:
  1. Have you been in Australia or intend to stay for a minimum of 6 months of the tax year (1 july -30 june)?
  2. Have you worked for one employer continiously for 4 months or 2 employers consistently for 5 months?
  • Make sure you have a tax file number (TFN), which you can get online.
  • Determine your residency status. If you have been or intend to stay in Australia for six months or longer, than you are considered a resident for tax purposes.
  • Online you can find this tool from ATO that can help you track the progress of your tax return.
  • Don’t forget to claim back your super annuation.

Once we’ve actually claimed back our tax return, we’ll make a blogpost about the process. We want to try to do this without a tax agent, because we’ve heard that it’s actually not that hard and that they mostly just try to get some money out of backpackers.

Our experience in the outback

We are still in the middle of our outback experience and still in the process of saving. Luckily we’re half way there and it’s very motivating to see how fast our money is growing. However, sometimes we still spent a little more than we thought, as we bought some new clothes and a new camera (damn, you online shopping!). Still, we would probably bought a lot of more stuff while traveling around.
It’s not always easy to live remote, because you start to miss certain things like eating out and going to the movies. But on the other hand, you get a sense of community with the people you work with and you start to appreciate the little things in life. Sometimes we do get impatient and just want to get traveling again, but time does fly by when you’re working hard.

Check out our personal blog to read more about our experience in the outback of Western Australia. 

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