My family doesn’t really want me to come home (I know, they mean well) … whenever I come up with that topic or tell them how much I enjoy my time here they are telling me that I should do farm work to qualify for my second year visa.
But here is why I don’t wanna do it:
- You put in a lot of hours
To qualify for the second year you have to spent 88 days working in designated regional parts of Australia (which is usually in the middle of nowhere) doing
- Plant and Animal Cultivation
- Fishing and Pearling
- Tree Farming and Felling
- Mining and Construction
These jobs are tough and backbreaking (which is one of the reasons why employers are struggling to find permanent Australian workers), consisting of eight- or more hour days. Working every day, often even the weekends. And not that I mind labor work once in a while but these jobs are usually then not even paid accordingly.
- Not the safest working environment
If you are not dying out of exhaustion there is always the chance to be bitten by snakes or other venomous animals (I know, at the end of our life we all gonna die but right now I am still trying to procrastinate that very end).
- Farm work can give you health issues
Everything that has to be collected on the ground breaks your back, picking bananas might leave you with bite marks from snakes and spiders and mangoes are known to give you allergies. Especially the “Mango Rash” sounds like a delight. Starting with red patches and itchiness, aggravate soon to hard skin and sores => So no thanks. I rather pass on that.
- It can get very isolated
Working in the middle of nowhere with nothing else around, Australians with a really thick accent and no wifi or mobile signal to stay in touch with the outerworld… That can all be part of the “real Australian experience”… or it can feel real isolated, real quick. And as much as I like being every now and then, I reckon I would reach my maximum of pure isolation after two or three weeks.
- Some working hostels take advantage of travelers
Some hostels market themselves as working hostels and promise to provide access to employment. And then you make the effort to go there and it is taking days or even weeks (if you stay that long) until they actually find you a job. Or they only find you a week work while promising three in advance. So in the end they just lure you in and take your money while you are sitting around waiting for work.
- It is hard to find 88 days of consistent work
Especially over the winter months it was hard to find consistent farm work. A friend of mine was promised at least three weeks on a farm and when she made all the way down from Townsville to the farm near Bundaberg they told her, they would only have one week. So after one week she had to find farm work somewhere else. And she did. But therefore she had to go all the way up to Cairns again (so basically all the money she earned was reinvested in transport). After two weeks on that farm she had to leave cause it was too isolated, so she made her way to Perth, where she found work, moved into her own apartment and then was cut off work. She definitely hadn’t had the best of luck but that all sounds like a bit too much effort to get your 88 days. It sure is still work (and work doesn’t have to be easy) but it also sounds as if some farms are just taking advantage of desperate travelers.
- The weather is not on my side
During the winter months up here in Queensland it was probably the best weather to actually do farm work. Not too hot, not too cold. Just perfect weather to be outside picking fruits and vegetables. Everyone knew that but the fruits and vegetables cause they have their high season in the summer. So I would have needed to go down in the cold (and we all know that that wasn’t going to happen ;)) or I have to do it now while it is getting more hot and humid every day (No, thanks. Pass again).
So yeah that all sounds like a lot of struggle and that you would basically waste three months of your first year just so you ‘d been granted a second year (and then you still have to find out how to make a living). If I really would like to stay in Australia I could probably find a job in my actual profession and find a company that is willing to sponsor me (or I can find someone to marry me ;)).
But I am actually starting to look forward to come home, see my family and then take it from there and see what the future will bring. The idea was always to avoid the German winter, come back around August (that worked out well!), enjoy the summer and then might take off for the winter again. I know it is a little late for that since I can’t go back in time but going back in December is still on the agenda. I actually had a look into flights. I just have to commit to a departure date and point of departure (and on second thought that actually sounds way harder than doing 88 days of backbreaking farm work ;)).