In December 2021 Australia and the UK signed a Free Trade agreement which foresaw, among others, updating the working holiday visa scheme between the two countries. The Agreement will enter into force on 31 May 2023, giving Australia 2 years to fully implement the updated procedures.
The working holiday visa allows people to earn money while they are travelling without having to be registered as a resident in Australia. It is available for people between 18 and 30 years old and valid for one year, with two extensions possible.
The visa can be renewed twice, however for the extension to be granted, the person has to carry out “specified work” for 3 to 6 months. This varies according to region, but is generally conducted in a place outside the main cities and can be in the fields of hospitality, tourism, construction, agriculture, like fruit picking or herding cattle, bushfire work and healthcare work, among others:
- tourism and hospitality in northern or remote and very remote Australia
- plant and animal cultivation in regional Australia
- fishing and pearling in regional Australia
- tree farming and felling in regional Australia
- mining in regional Australia
- construction in regional Australia
- bushfire recovery work in declared bushfire affected areas only
- flood recovery work in declared flood recovery areas only
- critical Covid-19 work in the healthcare and medical sectors anywhere in Australia.
Once the new rules are implemented, the visa will be available for people up to 35 years old. While the maximum 6 months per employer requirement will still apply, the specified work condition will be scrapped.
From July to December 2022, Australia issued over 15,000 working holiday visas for UK citizens, making them the biggest adopters of the scheme, according to Euronews Travel. In second place were French citizens, with 10,474 visas, followed by Irish (7,410), Germans (6,436) and Italians (5,753).
The UK is not the only country Australia has such an agreement with. In July 2022, it increased the number of available visas for Italians and Danes by 30%, as well as increasing the upper age limit from 30 to 35 years old. The number of available visas was also increased for Austrians, Hungarians and Slovaks.
There are a total of 19 countries for which Australia issues holiday working visas: Belgium, Canada, Republic of Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Taiwan (other than an official or diplomatic passport) and The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.