88 days. That’s the golden number for most expatriates with a first Working Holiday Visa (WHV). And the main condition required by the Australian Department of Immigration, one of the toughest in the world.

Anyone willing to apply for a 2nd Working Holiday Visa would indeed need to have worked 88 days in specific industries, such as farming, pearling or construction. But the goal isn’t always easy to reach and some backpackers opt for another option: falsifying their payslips.

What are the main risks of submitting fake payslips?

We interviewed a few of them to find out.

‘’Several months after having received our 2nd Working Holiday Visa, they sent us back home’’ /OR Having your visa granted doesn’t mean that you won’t be discovered months later by the Department of Immigration.

’My partner Mary and I lost our jobs when the pandemy started, confides Peter* over the phone. We needed to start working very quickly if we wanted to have enough time to complete our whv 88 days before the end of our visa. Mary found a company which made her an offer that she wasn’t expecting: to work as au pair in a remote area while receiving payslips from a farm she never went to! She accepted and I didn’t hesitate much longer…I started working as a chef and received payslips from a construction company. We are both on a Bridging Visa, waiting for our second WHV.’’

If Peter and Mary’s strategy seem to have worked so far, they might not avoid unpleasant surprises in the future.

Alex and Sarah, a young Irish couple, have a similar story. They falsified their payslips and had their Subclass 462 granted. A few months later, they decided to travel to Bali, enjoyed their holidays and then returned to Australia.

’When we arrived at the airport, the customs officers looked into our payslips and found out they were fake. We were stuck at the airport, they cancelled our visa and sent us back to Ireland. We had all our life there’’, stressed Sarah.

They were no exceptions: most of the interviewees pointed out the same fact. They were lucky at first, for a few months, but uncovered by the Immigration Department later on. Clara for instance, a French backpacker who also falsified her payslip, was contacted 8 months after her subclass 462 was granted. ‘’I had to hire a lawyer. I’m still on a Bridging Visa, just hoping for a positive outcome’’.

What else can happen if you fake documents for Australian Visa?

According to Emerald Visas, an immigration agency in Melbourne, falsifying your personal information in official documents can lead to various issues for you, and even for your loved ones. If the Department of Home Affairs uncovers you have submitted false documents with your application, they will require you to make comment on them within a specific period (generally 28 days). In the case where they find out that you provided fake payslips, they can ask you to leave Australia ASAP, cancel your visa and prevent you from applying for another visa for 3 years. They could also ask you to pay a fine, sometimes up to $10.000.

Moreover, if a member of your family has made a visa application to come to Australia, the discovery of your fake payslips could affect their application. There is still a light at the end of the tunnel though: if your arguments for providing these false documents are deemed to be invalid, you may be given the option to appeal the decision via the Migration Review Tribunal (MRT).

What are the alternatives to a 2nd Working Holiday Visa?

Let’s face it, sometimes, completing the 88 days can be a struggle. Whether it’s because you haven’t had the time to finish your 88 days, had a bad working experience or personal problems and consequently felt stuck. But there are some legal alternatives you can opt for (where the stress isn’t a huge part of the package !).

Some of these options include: a sponsorship visa, a partner visa, a tourist visa, a COVID visa and last but not least, a student visa. We understand how nerve-racking a visa application can be, we’ve been there! That’s exactly why we are always ensuring that you get the best option depending on your needs and your story. Don’t hesitate to drop us a message if you’re feeling confused, we’re here to help !

*all the names have been changed.

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