Farm work in Australia

How to find Farm work in Australia

Farm work is the inevitable struggle that backpackers in Australia need to go through in order to get the 2nd year working holiday visa. It is important to note, that is does not have to be farm work (check homeaffairs.gov.au for the eligible fields). However, most of the backpackers end up doing their 88 days for the second-year visa on farms.

How much do you get paid?

There is a difference between piece rate work and hourly paid jobs. For an average picker you earn around 24$ per hour. However, sometimes you can even make more money with piece rate work and in general people like piece rate work much more. But you have to keep in mind that you have to stay for a while, because it can take some time to learn the technique and then you start earningJ

10 Tips to find Farm work

  1. Research
    Lookathomeaffairs.gov.autoseewhatkindofworkiseligible for your second-year visa.
  2. StartEarly.
    The biggest fear of most backpackers is the thought ‘I’m running out of time’. Therefore, start looking for work early. The earlier the better. Seasons in Australia can be unpredictable, so the chance that you are finishing your farm work on the same farm is really small.
  3. Give yourself some time
    Prepare yourself that it can take more than 3 months to get your visa days. Farms are really dependent on the weather, so you may not be able to work every day.
  4. Trust yourself.
    Pick a farm where you feel at home. You don’t want to end up at a farm where you don’t feel home. If you end up working on a farm where you don’t like to be, please leave. There is absolutely no point wasting your limited time in Australia by feeling miserable.
  5. Seasons
    If you want to do farm-work and you have no idea about the seasons, the harvest trail is a good start (https://jobsearch.gov.au/harvest). They have a phone number where you can call and enquire open positions and ask for ongoing or upcoming seasons. They also have a pdf version of the harvest book (open here), that gives you some insight of the seasons.
  6. Another site that could help is https://www.backpackerjobboard.com.au/jobs/farm-work/ or Gumtree. There are a lot of jobs and especially many small farms find their employees through gumtree. But, because anyone can post an ad on gumtree there is also a lot of scams. So, be aware and research the farm and see if the farm has some bad reviews for example.
  7. Facebook
    In several Facebook groups (i.e.holidayjobsandbackpacker job board) people often post a lot of fruit picking jobs and other open farm positions.
  8. Having a Car
    Having a car will increases the number of potential farms.
  9. Don’t be where everybody else is.
    In backpacker’s land there is a lot of competition. Everybody wants to get their second-year visa. So, your chances are higher of getting work if you are not where everybody else is. If you know that the season is coming in a certain part of Australia, get there a little bit early so you are already there when the season starts.
  10. Keep the seasons in mind.
    So, during the summer period it is best in the south of Australia and during the winter in the North of Australia.

Eligible Fields

You can do different kind of work in different areas all spread over Australia. On the homeaffairs.gov.au there is a lot of all the different regional areas.

Work that can be counted toward your second-year visa must be in the following fields:
  • plant and animal cultivation
  • fishing and pearling
  • tree farming and felling
  • mining
  • constructionIt is not enough that you are employed in some of these fields, but the work
    you do must be a specific type of work to be counted towards your visa.
Examples of work that counts towards your visa days include:

 

  • harvesting and/or packing of fruit and vegetable crops
  • pruning and trimming vines and trees
  • general maintenance crop work
  • cultivating or propagating plants, fungi or their products or parts
  • feeding and herding cattle on a farm
  • horse breeding and stud farming
  • maintaining animals for the purpose of selling them or their bodily produce, including natural increase
  • immediate processing of animal products including shearing, butchery, packing and tanning
  • landscaping the grounds of a construction/house site
  • painting the interior/exterior of new buildings
  • conservation and environmental reforestation work
  • zoo work involving plant or animal cultivation
  • erecting fences on a construction site
  • scaffolding.
    Examples of work that is NOT eligible include:

 

  • working as a nanny on a farm
  • working at a cellar door providing wine tastings
  • general garden maintenance
  • maintaining animals for tourism or recreational purposes
  • cooking/catering on a mine site
  • town planning or architecture
  • cleaning the interior of mine complexes or buildings.
  • supporting work, such as book-keeping

An overview of job search websites:

jobsearch.gov.au
au.indeed.com
seek.com.au
taw.com.au
backpackerjobboard.com.au
workingholidayjobs.com.au
gumtree.com

 

Other sources to find farm work

If you are looking for farm work, most of us spent a lot of time googling farms and sending e-mails to potential farms. Sometimes the farms don’t get back to you because the website is non-existent, or it is a scam. So, it is important to also consider some other sources of information. For example, some towns have information centres and these centres have a lot of information about local farms or seasonal work nearby (especially if there are a lot of farms around). Furthermore, working hostels could be a good source of information. Working hostels are probably the easiest way to get a farm job. However, keep in mind that money wise it might be not the best one. So, maybe get some inside information before applying.