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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,

I recently read another thread about volunteering whilst on a tourist visa and found some useful information. However, I want to be completely sure I'm on the clear...

During my first tourist visa (subclass 600) I volunteered at a music festival during 5 days. This is a rather large festival, and every year they recruit 200-250 people to do some volunteering work, many Australians amongst them.
I was never paid, I was only given a camping space and meals whilst on duty.
In the following webstie: Volunteers and Visas - The Centre for Volunteering it says:

VOLUNTEER WORK TOURISM SCHEMES

In general terms, you may be able to work as a volunteer while on a Tourist visa if:

Your main purpose in visiting Australia is tourism, and any voluntary work remains incidental to this.

The work involved would not otherwise be undertaken, in return for wages, by an Australian resident.

The work is genuinely voluntary and that no remuneration is received in return for the activities.

Note: It is acceptable, under the conditions of the Tourist visa, to receive meals, accommodation and/or reimbursement of out-of-pocket living expenses in return for voluntary work.

In my eyes, I have complied with every condition of the visa. My position couldn't have been a paid position for and Australian resident, nor did I recieved a remuneration in return for the activities. I was able to stay onsite while the festival was taking place and see some bands but I also had the option of going home (although it was a rather remote place).

However, I posted the same question in another forum and a user answered that I had recieved benefits (camping space, some meals) and therefore I had breached the conditions of my visa...

Is this information accurate? I'm currently putting together my application for a partner visa and I really don't want to get a refusal over this...
 

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My understanding of it, note I'm by no means qualified (at a guess like the person on the other forum) is what you have described is ok.

Let's say you were having accomodation at a roadhouse and subsequently volunteering on a bar, that would be a Nono.

As per your quotes above and more specifically the .gov.au immigration website https://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa-1/600-

"work as a genuine unpaid volunteer, but only if an Australian resident would not otherwise be paid to do the work (you can be reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses such as meals and accommodation)"

Considering the fact that they had 200-250 other volunteers I think you can safely say that it is genuine volunteer work. The fact they supplied you food and a space in a field for a tent as opposed to reimbursed it I don't think will be an issue.

For reference I volunteer for WA Fire and Rescue and have done so for a long time over multiple visas with working restrictions or no work rights and received meals, drinks, hotel accomodation, transport reimbursement for training away from home - this was all considered fine and disclosed in full in my 820 application, that has been successfully granted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi Mania,
Thank you so much for your reply. It's really great to read about your experience with volunteering and applying for a partner visa later on.
I guess I should explain really well the context of my volunteering position: attach information about the festival, etc.

Thanks again!

My understanding of it, note I'm by no means qualified (at a guess like the person on the other forum) is what you have described is ok.

Let's say you were having accomodation at a roadhouse and subsequently volunteering on a bar, that would be a Nono.

As per your quotes above and more specifically the .gov.au immigration website https://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa-1/600-

"work as a genuine unpaid volunteer, but only if an Australian resident would not otherwise be paid to do the work (you can be reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses such as meals and accommodation)"

Considering the fact that they had 200-250 other volunteers I think you can safely say that it is genuine volunteer work. The fact they supplied you food and a space in a field for a tent as opposed to reimbursed it I don't think will be an issue.

For reference I volunteer for WA Fire and Rescue and have done so for a long time over multiple visas with working restrictions or no work rights and received meals, drinks, hotel accomodation, transport reimbursement for training away from home - this was all considered fine and disclosed in full in my 820 application, that has been successfully granted.
 

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Hi Mania,
Thank you so much for your reply. It's really great to read about your experience with volunteering and applying for a partner visa later on.
I guess I should explain really well the context of my volunteering position: attach information about the festival, etc.

Thanks again!
I wouldn't be too concerned, if you mention it then ensure you state it was volunteer work then if they want further information they will ask - remember you only get limited document uploads, they are assessing the requirements of an 820 not investigating your prior visa compliance - you can use those document spaces for much more valuable evidence :).
 

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My husband's first trip to Australia he volunteered at a herbarium at a local botanic garden while he was on a visitor visa. He basically tagged along with me as I was volunteering as a barista/goanna wrangler and he did a few weeks there.

We never had any issues with immigration either, plus it's a great thing to do to meet people.
 
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