Working Holiday Visa Australia and The Health Exam

After moving to Melbourne on a working holiday visa (subclass 417), I wanted to share my experience. Particularly for anyone who’s apprehensive about the health examinations sometimes needed for it.

After months of applying for SEO jobs on Linkedin, I got the incredible news of an offer in December 2022. Given how long sponsored visas can take, the company I’m working for suggested I apply for a working holiday visa (WHV). Then once in Australia, they’d be able to transfer that to a sponsored visa. This allowed me to start working within 6 weeks of getting the job, as opposed to waiting several months! It all worked out, so I’m very glad I took this route.

Here is a bit about my working holiday visa experience and everything I had to do for it. Including the health examination!

What is the Australia Working Holiday Visa?

Some facts about the working holiday visa in Australia:

  • It allows you to work and travel around Australia during a 12 month period.
  • You can leave and re-enter Australia as many times as you’d like during your 12 month stay.
  • There are opportunities to apply for a second and third working holiday visa, granted you do the specific days of farm work.
  • You have until the day before you turn 31 to apply, although some countries are up to 35.
  • You can’t enter with dependents (children or spouse).
  • You have a year to activate the visa (enter Australia) from the date it’s granted.
  • You can’t work in the same job for more than a 6 month period.

How much does the working holiday visa and the health examination cost?

The working holiday visa cost AUD$510 (approximately £281) and the medical examination cost £285.

How to apply for the working holiday visa

I applied for my working holiday visa the day after I accepted my job offer. As it was my first time, I applied for the subclass 417. I found the application here. The application itself was straightforward, comprising of a series of basic questions on me and my history. This included previous education, any criminal records and long-term periods out of my home country.

One question asks if you’ve ever been out of your home country for more than 3 months in the past 5 years. Because I had embarked on a 6-month backpacking trip a few years prior, my application was flagged for needing a health examination. Apparently my short visit to Cambodia and the Philippines during that backpacking trip was flagged and I was required to undergo a health examination before I could submit my visa.

You’ll have to attach copies of several documents; passport and bank statements are mandatory. They require proof of funds, so I gave bank statements from the previous 3 months. I also included my covid vaccine records and university degree. 

The Health Examination for the WHV

There are only 5 clinics in the UK that provide this particular medical examination. The one in London (Knightsbridge) was my closest one, so on the 4th January, I made my way to the clinic. I was apprehensive about the appointment given how bad the Google reviews were. However I had a great experience! This clinic specialise in providing health examinations for various visas in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Belgium and the UK.

Upon arrival at the clinic, I handed over my passport. They had pre-printed forms waiting for me to read and sign, primarily consisting of waivers. Following this, I provided a urine sample and had a chest x-ray. This whole process took about 5 minutes.

The last part was a medical check with a doctor. This consisted of basic questions on family medical history, any regular medications or previous illness. He also checked lymph nodes, ears, eye, listened to my heart and felt my stomach. I was offered a female doctor for this but I wasn’t fussed either way.

I went back to reception to collect my passport and was told they’d send my details directly to Australia within a few days. The whole process was very quick and all staff were extremely friendly.

How long until my visa is granted after applying?

I must have googled this 10 times a day.

My visa was granted within 48 hours of this medical check! 20 days from when I initially applied. The Australian Immigration website states that most applicants will hear back within 90 days of applying. Here’s a link that’ll show you the expected wait times depending on the visa you’ve applied for and where you’re from:

Working Holiday Visa Outcome

If your visa is granted, you’ll be informed of the grant number, visa start date and your visa conditions. If your visa is rejected, they’ll let you know why and if you have the right to appeal the decision.

My Crazy Visa Timeline:

15th December 2022: Job Offer

16th December 2022: WHV Applied

4th January: Health Examination

6th January: Visa was granted

1st February: I was on a flight to Melbourne

3rd February: The start of my new life in Australia

Wishing everyone applying for this visa the best of luck! For more information on the varying working holiday visas, check out the official site here.

Happy travels x