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Volunteering every year - semi living in Oz

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As a person who has a interest in living in Australia but who is unskilled Ive researched ways to spend extended time in Australia while building up a professional career. If you're in the same boat - and I suspect for every brickie, doctor and surveyer there are 2-3 semi or unskilled people wishing to be in Oz in the future, these notes might be helpful.


Obviously building a career is needed. (in my case retraining) This will take years - especially in this economic climate with loads of graduates struggling to find work. 10 years is a good guess. In theory you could train up and work as a professional person in 7-8 years but lets be conservative and say 10 years. During that long time there's a danger you may lose sight of you're ambition to move to Australia.


Assuming you've taken the WH visa and/or the less well known cultural exchange visa; as an unskilled worker you have no route into Australia and no way of living there long term. How do you keep that spirit of inspiration alive during 10 years without being able to live in Oz?


The only real solution is annual volunteering and house sharing/swapping on a tourist visa. As far as I know you can do this on a 676 tourist visa. This is enough to remain in the country for extended periods of time of up to 3 months where you will get to know the country and build up a social network that will help you if you eventually move down under.


Homeswapping for a month kills your accomodation costs straight away and an Aussie would come to the UK and do the same. You would only have food and bills to cover. Yes, food is expensive but if you cook your own stuff it gets cheaper.


If you do this every year, spending you're holiday time in Oz, you will have enough time to volunteer with an organisation and build up some relationship with them. You would probably get a reference from the organisation and if you return every year and keep in contact with them over the net you will become known and remembered by them and you will have something approaching a social circle in Oz - ie a life. If you volunteer and can get food and accomodation and out of pocket expenses (which you are allowed to do as the IMMI site says); you wll subsidise your stay massively.


Essentially you could "live" in Oz for 1-2 months every year, in essence a sort of constant temporary immigration to Oz. Immigration would rather you spend like a billionaire in Vegas rather than holiday on the cheap but this plan is within guidelines. I dont believe you could fly over for 2 months and volunteer for the whole period - only some of the time as voluntary work must be incedental to tourism.



Try not to volunteer for private people on Helpx or Workaway as these people are unlikely to give you references (and thus official proof of volunteering which could help your career and prove you have some social connection in Oz). Once you are gone any "friendship" tends to disappear as these people tend to hire backpackers quite often and the setup can become quite anonymous.

Ive found the whole backpacker thing is very commercial in Oz and if you want to emigrate to Oz its a dead end albeit a spectacular one.


Dont pay to volunteer if you can help it as this sort of "voluntourism" isnt taken serious as unpaid experience and references arent given. If you volunteer, communes and religious groups will often take you on and if you have serious interest in their lifestyles you'll often be invited back ahead of backpackers who are just looking for cheap accomodation.


Other points to note:


- You need health insurance about £100/month

- Flights will be £1500ish

- Flat/house swapping will cost £200ish to sign up with an agency (dont risk meeting someone privately to do this)


- Visa and insurance and misc about £500 tops

- Tourist living costs depend on you but £1000 is probably good for 2 month in Oz.


- Total cost - about £3500 for 2 month stay.


Not a bad way to "live" in Oz considering how strong the dollar is. £3500 every year is high but it'll give you a part time real existence in the land of your dreams .

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