New Zealand announces extension for offshore Working Holiday visa holders

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Working Holiday Scheme (WHS) visa holders who are currently offshore, will have more time to travel to New Zealand after being granted new visas.

The new visas will allow the visa holder a further three months to enter New Zealand. Working Holiday Scheme visa holders will have until the 31st of January to be in the country. All holders will have open work rights (not including permanent work) and can work in New Zealand for 12 months after the first arrival. The new visas will allow the visa holder to take multiple trips in and out of New Zealand. 

In August 2022, the Government announced it would extend the visas of working holiday makers already in New Zealand with visas expiring between 26 August 2022 and 31 May 2023 by 6 months.

These changes will help increase access to working holiday makers already in New Zealand, and those who are looking to travel to New Zealand: 

  • Extending the visas by six months for working holiday makers already in New Zealand, with visas expiring between 26 August 2022 and 31 May 2023.
  • Doubling the Working Holiday Scheme caps with a one-off increase to identify sports unused in the previous year due to border restrictions. Up to 12,000 Working Holiday makers can come to New Zealand in the next 12 months.
  • The capped Working Holiday Schemes that still had open spaces had their caps doubled on 8 September 2022 and remained open.
  • The capped schemes began re-opening with extra places on the 8th of September for those already filled and closed. All will be re-opened by early December 2022. This will ensure each country gets the benefit of this year’s allocation.

“Our government recognises the crucial part working holiday visa holders play in the New Zealand economy. We need their skills here to meet tourism, hospitality, agriculture, and horticulture demand,” says New Zealand Immigration Minister Michael Wood.

“We are doing everything we can to make New Zealand an attractive place to visit and work in an internationally competitive labour market.

“Our move to give these working holiday makers new visas comes after we have extended visas by six months for working holiday holders already in New Zealand.

“We’ve also doubled the Working Holiday Scheme caps with a one-off increase to recognise the unused spots last year due to the border restrictions,” says New Zealand Immigration Minister Michael Wood.

“Take-up for the new spots has been swift, with many schemes filling up only hours after opening.

“The working holiday scheme changes are part of our plan for re-opening the country. The quick and positive response from visa holders and those applying for visas show that people want to come here.

“New Zealand has a lot to offer, and I know that businesses in key sectors will welcome these workers warmly,” says New Zealand Immigration Minister Michael Wood.

Over 34,200 working holiday visa applications have been approved, with 14,400 visa holders arriving in New Zealand since borders reopened.

New Working Holiday 417 visa arrangements for UK passport holders

The upgrade of the New Zealand and UK Working Holiday/Youth Mobility Scheme will come into effect as of July 2023. Both countries have agreed to extend the age of eligibility, maximum stay, and the length of time individuals can work. This will allow more New Zealand and UK citizens to travel and work in each other’s countries for a longer period of time.

The upgraded Youth Mobility scheme will allow New Zealand citizens aged between 18 to 35 to work and live in the UK for up to three years.

Source: Crown copyright | © Immigration New Zealand 

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