I studied in Australia earlier in the year and will be going back in June on a working holiday visa. I need some tips! Has anyone done the working holiday visa? If you can give me any info on taxes, superannuation, FINDING A JOB?!, shared housing, insurance...really anything, that would be great. I'm not going to do a ton of travel, probably just a few weeks and weekends here and there, so I'll be in Sydney the majority of the time. At least that is the plan right now.
Firstly, not to sound like a complete pendant, but if you're coming from the US you'll be on a Work and Holiday Visa (not a Working Holiday Visa, which is mainly for Commonwealth and European citizens - an important distinction.)
The best thing I can tell you is the internet is your friend. Check out the Australian Tax Office website (www.ato.gov.au) for most of the tax info you'll need. If you're only going to be here on a temporary basis, I'd tend to think its best to just go with the major Super supplier of your chosen industry, but maybe talk to your workmates once you're settled about which is the best super and you can always transfer it later. (But again, if you're only going to be here for a max of 12 months, I'd tend to think its much of a muchness.)
Housing - again, the internet. It's probably also worth having a look at the student union websites of Sydney Uni, UTS, UNSW, etc and see if they have a share house listing. If all else fails, there are heaps of hostels for the first few weeks and a ton of share-house adverts in the inner-city and inner-West (assuming that's where you want to be.) Drum Media (weekly, free press) often has share house listings, as does The Sydney Morning Herald.
Take out traveller's insurance before you leave because you won't be covered by Medicare here and shit gets expensive after a while. I don't think the private health insurance is worth it if you're not a student here (cause they'd charge you at a ridiculous tourist rate), but you might be able to see if your US health insurance will reimburse you for costs.
In terms of finding a job - it all depends on what industry you want to work in. If you're just looking for office work - apply with a bunch of the different temp agencies. If you're looking for hospitality/pub work, you'll have to get an RSA/RCG to work in a pub. Cafes, etc are often hiring if you have experience. Bring letters of recommendation with you (certified) to boost your chances. Once you get your foot in the door, it'll be easier with onshore references, but until then you'd be best to take whatever you can get. Of course, keep in mind you can only work with an employer for a max of six months.
Good luck! Sydney is such a fantastic city, I'm sure you'll have an awesome time.
Sounds just like what I did! I arrived in early May and had a job by the end of the month through a temp agency called Employ which was at 115 Pitt Street. I had a rad job as a tea lady in an office building. However, I would try to contact them in advance as my friend who arrived in une to Sydney had absolutely no luck in finding a job. That was about a year ago now so maybe things would have changed. Taxes suck and they take about 29% of your earnings which feels like a huge chunk and you get hardly any back. Superannuation is just something that is automatically deducted that you get back when you leave the country so you don't really have to do anything with that. I went through an agency who you pay to get your visa and bank account and jobs sorted and they were really no help with jobs unless i wanted to do fruit picking or soliciting strangers on the street to donate money. And everything else I found to be pretty easy to do on my own (As now I'm doing the same thing in NZ) and will save you a great deal of money. I also lived in a shithole share house but it was fun because you live with random people and can make friends a bit easier that way. I lived at a place called Sleeping with the Enemy in Ultimo and I don't recommend that. I would try going through Furnished Properties I think it's called, I knew someone who worked through them. Let me know if you need any other advice, I feel like an expert on this topic!
Thanks! That info helps a lot! I'm a little nervous since last time I showed up with everything basically set up for me, and even though I've got friends and contacts there, its a little daunting trying to figure things out myself!