Harvest/fruit picking work - where to go
Replies: 14 - Last Post: Oct 20, 2012 7:58 AM Last Post By: pearlsz_
Oct 8, 2012 2:43 AM
Harvest/fruit picking work - where to goHi, I might head over to Australia between late November and January to work for several months.
Where would be the best place to go at that time? I don't really care about the weather, scenery or activities available in the area; I just need to earn as quickly as possible. I will do almost any kind of work, but my back's a bit dodgy so it might be best to avoid a lot of bending over (lifting is normally okay). I'm assuming, therefore, that I should avoid potatoes, strawberries and other stuff that grows in or on the ground.
I won't have a truck or much relevant experience when I arrive.
Oct 8, 2012 3:03 AM
1Take a look at the Harvest Trail website.
BTW do you have a Working Holiday Visa? You will need one to work in Australia.
Oct 8, 2012 4:36 AM
2Most fruit that grows on trees involves carrying a heavy bag of some kind to hold the fruit - your dodgy back might be a problem. Also, fruitpicking is not necessarily that well paid unless you are very fast and experienced. By the time you pay for your accommodation and transport you may not be saving much. Backpackers don't go fruitpicking to make a fortune, just to cover their expenses mainly. Don't expect to get rich at it.
Oct 8, 2012 5:57 AM
Oct 8, 2012 8:39 PM
4daycat - I don't see how my nationality is relevant to the question I asked.
libbyh - That's more useful, thanks. I'm generally okay with lifting and carrying, just not repeated bending. It's a risk I'll have to take into account though.
From what I've read, most jobs pay $15-$20 an hour for 8 to 12 hours a day, six days a week, so I can expect to gross around $1000 per week, maybe much more (when I actually have work, of course). Accommodation is often free at the farm/orchard; otherwise, dorms are available for $100-$150 per week. I can reclaim tax if I earn under 18,000 before I leave, and only pay 10% on anything in both 18,000. If I budget, say, $130 a week for food, I'm guessing I can save about $700 a week. Not a fortune, but it seems less risky than going back to the UK and hoping I can find something there.
Does that sound about right, or am I missing something?
Flights out from Thailand, where I am now, are less than $300, and it seems that many places are accessible by public transport from the big cities, so my initial outlay would be fairly low.
bellart1 - Thanks, I'm aware of the visa requirements.
These are the sites I've looked at so far:
Oct 9, 2012 2:00 AM
Oct 9, 2012 2:35 AM
6I picked apples near Pemberton in the southwest of WA, many years ago. It was back breaking and soul less and you didn't get paid by the hour, you were paid by the bin load.... people who had been doing it for years each season, earned a lot more money than I did because they were expert at it and they all ignored me as they knew each other well.
Luckily I broke my finger falling off a horse and had to stop.
Check the website to see how you're paid, as it might not actually be by the hour, but they advertise that pay as the most you can earn if you work well and fast, but it will be more likely by the bin (or whatever container is used for different fruit).
Oct 9, 2012 3:20 AM
7My apple pickinhg experience was a loooong time ago and before the invention of the Ipod! If I'd had one of those it would have been nicer! I also did potatoes but all I had to do was stand on the tractor trailer and sort them when they rushed by on the conveyor belt - but it was 40 degrees.... awful. Came home hot and filthy.
Strawberries were a killer - did my back in, but I ate a lot.
Oct 9, 2012 1:26 PM
Oct 9, 2012 6:43 PM
9On my Super Annual Report (just to make 1000% sure), it does say Employer's Contribution and then separately Members After Tax.
So just to reiterate, and make 1000% sure if you don't want to pay extra super (for Aust based work), thats up to you, and you don't HAVE to, unlike I think I read the NZ one, where the employee has to. Aust rules says, its voluntary, the Members After Tax part, but employers MUST put in the 9%.
Its 9% of your monthly wages, thats used to calculate the Employers Contribution.
If they (employer) don't, in the end, the tax office will chase up the employer.
Oct 9, 2012 9:02 PM
Oct 10, 2012 3:48 AM
11If it wasn't for the bad back you could go cotton chipping in nth west nsw and central Qld at that time of year, 8hour days at minimum casual pay ($1000 a 7 day week maybe?), involves pulling weeds from cotton fields so the pickers don't get clogged.
But yer, I can't think of any kinda picking that isn't hard on the back
Oct 20, 2012 4:28 AM
brother_no_2 - I hear picking grapes, apples, pears, oranges is less hard on the back as it doesn't require constant low bending, unlike weeding, picking strawberries/potatoes, etc.
heat and other discomfort doesn't generally bother me much - i've worked in similar temperatures doing both manual and office work before.
can someone clarify the tax situation? wikipedia says residents don't have to pay income tax on earnings under 18,000 per year, but doesn't mention visitors. Aside from super, which i can claim back, would i have to pay anything else?
Oct 20, 2012 5:15 AM
13Only thing to watch for when/if doing grape picking, is where you put your fingers, as one person usually works one side, and another person on the other side.
Its important as putting fingers too far over the other side of the vine can get your fingers snipped.
You are not a resident, unless you have put that on the form (THE form you get when you start work with an employer/payer). If you put on the form you are a resident for tax purposes, no tax will be taken from your wages, but then, you won't get anything back from the ATO come the end of the tax year.
You can put on the form, you are a resident for tax purposes, and no one checks to make sure you are a backpacker or not. REALLY, visitors are supposed to be taxed (WHV with working rights) are supposed to be taxed at 29c per $1 earnt.
Nothing else, you have to pay for. Super comes from the payers earnings, anyway, so IF YOU CLAIM you are a resident, then, nothing else to pay for.
Oct 20, 2012 7:58 AM
14Don't follow the advice in #15 or Wikipedia! The correct info is at the Australian Taxation Office website
I think you might misunderstand the income tax system. True, from this year Australian residents pay no income tax on incomes under $18,000 BUT tax is still withheld from every paycheck. At the end of the tax year (30 June) residents file a return and get it all back if they've made less than $18,000. Non-residents also have to file a return but you will have to pay tax.
There are all sorts of (mostly dodgy) companies that offer to get tax back for working holiday makers. Search the forum and you'll find heaps.
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