So you’ve arrived in Australia, so much to see! So much to do! So much time and money invested in the journey out here…

Now you’re considering staying for the second year.

Is a second year really worth it?

Our recommendation, as things currently stand, is to consider enjoying 365 days of sun, sea, sites and sand in this beautiful country.

Find a job you love in an industry which pays relatively well

Organise a flat share with other backpackers

Save up enough to enjoy the second half of your year

Then, go travel!

However, if you are intending to extend your stay, our advice is to arrange your 88 days of farm work early.

As soon as you possibly can.

If you decide to commit to staying for a second year, you’ll need to get your 88 days of farm work sorted as soon as you possibly can – leave a minimum of six months to be on the safe side, and better still, start as soon as you arrive – in order to complete it in a well-run, pleasant environment where you will be a valued member of a team.

 

Why is arranging your farm work early so important?

 

There are great employers out there, but, if you don’t act promptly you’re running the risk of putting yourself at the mercy of some unscrupulous – not to say illegal – operators.

Believe us, these people operate right across Australia, and vigilant as you may feel you’ve been you won’t know for sure whether you’re at their mercy until you’ve travelled long distances and found yourself in situations which may be very hard to escape from.

Exploitative labour hire contractors and hostel owners advertise on Facebook, on Gum Tree, on the Backpacker Jobs board; they advertise through word of mouth. They even employ backpackers to recruit for them.

 

Exploitative operators

 

We have discovered that once the exploitative operators have you in their grasp, they can – and do – use the following techniques to exploit you:

  • pay you at piece rates which are way below minimum rate (called award rate in Australia)
  • charge exorbitant rates for transport
  • confiscate your passport so you cannot leave
  • make you work with no training or even basic induction in the types of work you may be performing
  • insist you work long hours in unsatisfactory conditions (e.g. insufficient supplies of water, no toilets on site)
  • verbally abuse you
  • sexually harass you (or worse)
  • pressurise you to work in unsafe conditions, for example using machinery for which you are not trained or qualified to use
  • refuse to take you to hospital in the event of an injury, and then dismiss you if you’re unable to work
  • take large deposits for accommodation, then make you sit and wait for work for weeks or even months while you accrue debt

 

How to minimise the risk?

 

Most importantly, know your rights in the Australian workplace.

Print off our information sheet and list of helpline numbers before you leave for your farm work in case you don’t have internet access out there. 

Start early, research is key!

If you’ve left yourself 4 months to complete your farm work, you’re probably not going to get your 88 days anyway, and you will almost certainly end up in an exploitative scenario, through desperation.

Seek out the good operators

Ask for recommendations of good employers from people you trust.

 Ask lots of questions of any potential employer

  • Accommodation type and standards
  • Deposit requirements
  • Rent
  • Costs of travel to the location
  • Type of work hours
  • Rates of pay

Ask for the operator’s ABN number before you travel, so you can check whether they can actually sign off your 88 days.

Ask to speak to someone who already works there.

Ask about the area, what there is to do?

Stay vigilant. Use Social Media

Use Facebook pages to check and double check your would-be employer before you travel.

Be aware that employers use the sites too though, so the response you appear to be receiving from a well-meaning backpacker could be from the proprietor!

Use this website

Check out potential employers and avoid anything which is rated with only one star.