Changes to working holiday visas in Australia, which will particularly affect those applying for a second one to stay on longer in the country, are now in place.

The working holiday maker visa programme was introduced for young people aged 18 to 30 to have an extended holiday in Australia and earn money through short term work and have proved very popular.

australiaworkersBut there has been an increasing trend by a minority that abuse the system, especially some visa holders claiming for work that didn't exist and some employers not paying a lawful wage.

There are two types of working holiday visas; the working holiday visa subclass 417 and the work and holiday visa subclass 462, both of which allow the holder to stay and work in Australia for up to 12 months.

Generally, you can only ever get a working holiday maker visa once, but if the holder undertakes 88 days of specified work in regional Australia they become eligible for a second visa and this is where abuse has been detected.

"The second working holiday visa initiative helps encourage working holiday visa holders to get out of the big cities and spend some time working in other parts of Australia. It also helps businesses that are making an important contribution to the Australian economy to have the workers they need to run their business, particularly in seasonal peaks," said a spokesman for the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP).

But now those doing specified work will need to make sure that they have pay slips that cover each day of work when they submit their application for a second working holiday visa.

Electronic copies of applicants' pay slips can be uploaded as attachments to online second working holiday visa applications or hardcopies can be provided with a paper application.

"People should not be afraid to ask their employer for pay slips, it is a legal right and a pay slip has to contain certain information," said the DIBP spokesman.

The spokesman also explained that voluntary work does not count towards the 88 days needed for the second holiday visa.

"We know that some groups, like Willing Workers on Organic Farms, promote themselves to working holiday visa holders. If you'd like to volunteer some of your time to help out doing activities that count as specified work, you can, but you won't be able to count it towards your 88 days specified work if it started after the 31 August,said the DIBP spokesman. "If you started the volunteer work before 31 August, you will be able to count all days worked on the placement, even if you finish up after 31 August. If you finished volunteer work before 31 August that counts as specified work, you can include these days towards your 88 days."