I had a total of 106 days to complete 88 days of regional work. After those 106 days my visa expires and I fly out to Malaysia. I thought I would be safe enough but knew it could come close if I had to move on. I’d be working 6 days a week with one required day off, so I checked out the details on the immigration website which stated “Full time workers may include weekends in calculating the number of days worked. I was therefore under the impression that any forced days off would be counted.
I was wrong, none of the days off I took counted and I contracted a viral stomach infection which left me unable to work for 6 days again not counted. This being my first farm I asked the other workers how their previous farmers counted their stay on the visa forms. All replied that they had had all their days counted regardless of sickness and time off, but it really is up to the farmer.
After some calculations I’d come to the conclusion that if I where to stay here I would not be able to complete the 88 days in the time I had left. I had been on the farm for 63 days with only 50 days on the official paperwork.
It came to crunch time when the farmer told us rather passively that we would be taken to the nearest town for 4 days and will not be working on the farm while he and his family go away for a long weekend. This meant I would be losing more valuable time and wasting money staying in a backpackers that I’d already planned to spend in Asia.
I really, really, really want a second years working holiday visa for Australia and again I have already counted on getting it as I have booked a flight back from South East Asia at the end of August in to Melbourne.
As if it was meant to be, Audree who has more time and flexibility in her plan than I had been planning to move to a new farm for a few days. After sending an email to a potential new farm explaining the situation and seeking clarifying on what would and would not count we had a new farm to go to, and we would be picked up the same day we were dropped in to town. I’d probably be working every day until my flight out of Australia, but at least I have that option.
I can’t help but feel a little annoyed amount the whole situation, but I know I am partly to blame for not having a contingency plan. I have learnt a few lessons, the most important one is to always planning in extra time for things to go wrong especially when counting on something important such as getting a visa extension. I really enjoyed my time on the herb farm and would have happily stayed if the visa situation would have been easier going. I ended up leaving on good terms with the farmer and I hope to go back on day without the added pressure of working for a visa.