Last year the Australian Government granted over 200,000 working holiday visas. It seems us backpackers are literally flocking to the country, lured by the prospect of adventure and high wages. And once we’re here we don’t want to leave. Therefore, high on the priority list is completing 88 days of specified work in a regional area that allows us to apply for a 2nd year visa. This usually means working in a rural area doing fruit picking, farming, construction work etc.
I feel that this condition for a visa extension is both a blessing and a curse. It’s good because it helps regional employers, who often struggle to get Australian workers, by encouraging backpackers to go out to these rural areas and work on their farms to extend their stay. But on the other hand, it leaves backpackers open to exploitation, as many are willing to do just about anything to tick off those 88 days.
The Job Hunt
A few months ago I was in the vulnerable position of looking for a job. I’d pushed things as far as they could go financially but now funds were at an all time low. I thought I might as well get a job that would allow me to apply for a 2nd year visa, kill 2 birds with one stone and all that. Continue reading →
It’s that time of year again. All the ski fields around New Zealand have opened up their online applications and people are frantically applying for that all important mountain position that will give them the chance to spend winter as a glorified ski bum. And why wouldn’t you? Free ski pass, free ski leasons, cheap seasonal rental, 50% off every other ski field in New Zealand, it makes a very expensive sport suddenly become very affordable. But the problem, like I said, is that everyone is applying. You’ve got backpackers, local Kiwis, people who are currently skiing in Europe or Canada and do back to back seasons, literally thousands of people. And don’t forget about all the returning staff. At Cardrona Alpine Resort in Wanaka they usually have as much as 70% returning staff each year, not leaving too many new positions.
I spent two winter seasons snowboarding in New Zealand and was lucky to get a job at Cardrona. The first season I applied it was a bit of a stressful process but I managed to get my foot in the door as a cleaner. Then when I returned for a second season I was guaranteed a job and able to work as a lift operator. Here’s what I learnt from the process: Continue reading →