Has anyone ever landed an architecture job on a working holiday visa?

thompson's gazelle

Hello all, I'm a late twenties male, currently working in my home country in Asia. I'm planning to relocate myself to the states in the near future, and knowing that getting a working visa in the US without already living there is almost impossible, I'm starting to think of working holiday visas as a possible detour to eventually get to the US.

For those who have been abroad on a working holiday visa, how easy is it to get a job at an architecture firm? I have about 2 years of professional experience, and received 10 years of education in the US. For gradschool, I have a masters from an internationally renowned institution (how much will this help outside the US?). I've been googling a lot, but working holiday stories I found were mostly about physical labor and traveling. So it made me think if it's even possible to get a job in my field of study with a working holiday visa.

I'm also curious about how European offices treat English-only speakers. I have very little problem with English, but speak no other language other than English and my first language. Thinking about UK, Canada, and Australia as most practical options, but Germany and Portugal are where I'm really interested in if the language barrier is not so high.

Any related feedback will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!


Nov 25, 15 8:45 pm

I'm pretty sure employment regulations don't allow employers to hire on salaried staff on holiday visas... that being said it does happen illegally.  You get caught, you'll be deported and won't be able to re-enter for a period of time.

Nov 25, 15 11:28 pm

It's illegal to work on a holiday visa if that's what you want to do.

Nov 26, 15 6:37 am

What country are you from? This has an impact on your opportunities because different countries have different working holiday options.

I'm Canadian and got the youth mobility visa when I moved to Germany. This allowed me to live, study and work in Germany for up to 1 year. I found work within a few months and got sponsored for a 3 year visa. However, this was quite an ordeal and you have to be pretty lucky or have a really persistent boss who is willing to deal with the bureaucracy. 

Nov 27, 15 4:43 pm

My work holiday visa program was a 6 months pass to reside in the country and work any job I could get a job without going through a second work visa approval. For students and fresh graduates only. The biggest issue though was quotas on local staff are by % so I needed to apply to larger firms for a better chance that I was within the quota.

Nov 27, 15 9:46 pm

There is nothing called a Holiday Working visa. If you want to come to the US on a holiday, then go to offices and show your work, and they decide to hire you -- that is a possibility. It is very tough though, as most would prefer to hire a US-educated candidate, unless, of course your portfolio is stunning, and you can prove your capabilities.

Nov 29, 15 10:20 pm

Was the OP talking about the US only?

Nov 29, 15 11:30 pm
thompson's gazelle

Haha, I'm actually talking about every country except the US. Thanks for the feedback though.

I'm aware of US not having a working holiday visa, but a bunch of other countries offer them as long as you're under 31. And yes, I graduated high school, college, and gradschool in the states. I'm originally from South Korea, so just here to take care of my military issues... 

Getting a US working visa in the architecture field is next to impossible unless you're a fresh graduate from a US school, and I'm looking for more viable alteratives, just vaguely hoping that having actual experience in a more Western architecture scene would raise my chances of eventually going back to the states (aiming for a US license within 5 years).

It's basically the same program that Stephanie went through I think--a one year working/stuying permit in certain countries. My top choices would be Canada, the UK, and Australia since I speak English, but also interested in other countries including Germany, France, and Portugal as long as the language barriers aren't so high.



Did you speak German when you moved there? I had this fantasy about all European countries being perfectly English-savvy, but I hear different things from different people.



Do you mind sharing which country you worked in? By quota, you mean only a certain percentage of the entire staff can be foreigners?

Nov 30, 15 7:44 pm

Singapore, which is not on your list.   Anyways, quota means percentage, although I think the actual language is like "for every x-amount of locals there can only be y-amount of foreigners".

Dec 1, 15 6:25 am

Hello! I went to Australia several years ago on a working holiday visa and was able to secure a job. If you have several years working experience and a relevant degree, then you should be fine.

I think the market is pretty strong in Oz right now, although the dollar is weak. PM me and I'm happy to talk more specifically about how it all went if you have more questions.

Good luck!

Dec 1, 15 10:32 am

Hi Thompson's Gazelle,

No, I didn't speak German though I did study it while there. You won't get very far without it; some offices are known to have more foreigners than others but In my office I was the first foreigner they had *ever* hired. It was very difficult to progress beyond image production not being fluent in German and unable take part in discussions, presentations, client meetings, etc. That was definitely one reason that contributed to my leaving Berlin earlier than I had to.

Not sure how it will be there with the huge influx of refugees; I feel like the job market was never super strong in Berlin to begin with (other cities were much better off) but Berlin has always been the most open to foreigners.

Dec 1, 15 3:14 pm

Hi Everyone,

I am also on the same boat here. I have a masters degree and 2 years of work experience in New Zealand. I want to apply for a working holiday visa for Germany, but just wondered if offices there would take people on a 6 month base due to the working holiday regulations. Also is it a good idea to approach an agency for architecture jobs. I speak conversational german.  

Mar 3, 18 4:14 am

Hi everyone,

I am a student and am just finishing my part one studies in architecture. We now have a year out to get work experience and our tutors are encouraging us to travel to work. We are from Dublin, and a group of us really want to go to Melbourne to get work experience, as we we want to experience a new city, but also want it to be english speaking. We are able to get work holiday visa's, but we just want information on whether we would be able to get experience/internships. Any information anyone has would be greatly greatly appreciated. Thanks

Apr 16, 18 8:11 am

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