Australia and New Zealand announce changes to the Working Holiday Visa programs – July 2022

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The United Kingdom and New Zealand have decided to elevate their existing Youth Mobility Scheme and Working Holiday Scheme, allowing more visa holders to stay in both countries longer.

What is changing?

The United Kingdom and New Zealand have recently agreed to the following reciprocal improvements:

  • Extending the eligible age range for the visa from 18 – 30, to 18 – 35 years.
  • Extending the length of stay allowed to three years (it is currently two years for New Zealand YMS visa holders in the United Kingdom, and 23 months for UK WHS visa holders in New Zealand).
  • An extension to the length of time visa holders can work to three years (i.e. visa holders can work for the full duration of the visa).
  • New Zealand will introduce an annual cap of 15,000 places for UK nationals applying under the WHS (there is currently no cap for the UK WHS).

These changes will only apply to applications made after implementation.

Officials are working to implement the changes, which require legislative and system change, as soon as practicable.

Both sides are committed to the improved scheme being in place no later than 2024. An update on progress will be provided next year.

Source: New Zealand Immigration

Other Working Holiday Visa news

Australia and UK Free Trade Ag​​reement

On 17 December 2021, the Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was signed ‘virtually’ but has not yet entered into force. 

New arrangements for Working Holiday Makers are expected to be implemented within two years of the FTA entering into force. The new arrangements will allow UK citizens to:

  • apply for a Working Holiday (subclass 417) visa up to the age of 35 years
  • be granted up to three Working Holiday visas (not including any “COVID-19 affected visa”) with no requirement to undertake any ‘specified work’.

Australia has previously negotiated arrangements on a reciprocal basis with Canada, France and Ireland to expand the eligible age range for WHM applicants to 35 years.

Other partner country arrangements under the WHM program are established through bilateral negotiations and will not be affected by the Australia and UK FTA.

For more information, see ​New Working Holiday (subclass 417) visa arrangements for UK passport holders​.

A 30% cap increase for the 2022-23 program year – Australia

For 2022-23 only, there will be a 30 per cent cap increase to the number of places available to working holiday makers from countries with which Australia has a capped Work and Holiday (subclass 462) visa arrangement. This one-off cap increase will commence from 1 July 2022.

Age limit increase for Italian and Danish Working Holiday Makers

From 1 July 2022, the age limit for Italian and Danish citizens wanting to work and travel in Australia will increase by five years – from 30 to 35 years of age. Australian citizens up to the age of 35 will also benefit from reciprocal arrangements with Italy and Denmark.

Australia has previously negotiated arrangements on a reciprocal basis with Canada, France and Ireland to expand the eligible age range for WHM applicants to 35 years.

Cap increases for Australia’s Work and Holiday visa arrangements for Hungary, Austria and the Slovak Republic

From 1 July 2022 an additional 1,400 places will be available each year through reciprocal increases to visa caps for Hungary, Austria and the Slovak Republic.

These reciprocal cap increases will provide ongoing opportunities for citizens of Australia, Hungary, Austria and the Slovak Republic to travel and work abroad.​

India to access Work and Holiday (subclass 462) visa for Australia

In the context of the Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement, Australia has agreed to extend access to the Work and Holiday (subclass 462) visa to up to 1,000 Indian citizens each year.

Within two years, Australia will put in place arrangements to allow eligible Indian citizens aged between 18 and 30 to apply for a Work and Holiday visa to visit Australia for one year and undertake short-term work and study while holidaying.  More information on how to apply will be provided closer to the implementation date.

For more information, see Historic trade deal with India | Minister for Trade Tourism and Investment (trademinister.gov.au).

Onshore n​il Visa Application Charge (VAC) WHM applications

From 5 March 2022 to 31 December 2022, eligible current and former WHMs in Australia can apply for a WHM visa with nil VAC. This allows WHMs who experienced disruptions to domestic travel and employment opportunities during COVID-19 to stay longer in Australia. It can also be an opportunity to meet the specified work requirements for a subsequent WHM visa. These arrangements for WHMs applying in Australia build on concessions that commenced on 1 July 2021 for WHM visa holders outside Australia, who were unable to enter Australia or had to depart Australia early due to the pandemic.

There is no VAC refund available for WHMs who are not eligible to apply for an onshore nil VAC visa due to no longer meeting the age requirement.

For more information, see Onshore nil VAC WHM applications.​​​

Further Flexibility for Working Holiday Makers

The Australian Government announced further changes to the Working Holiday Maker (WHM) program to assist with Australia’s economic recovery.

From 19 January 2022, WHMs working in any sector anywhere in Australia may continue to work for the same employer or organisation for longer than six months without requesting permission. This arrangement will be in place until 31 December 2022, when it will be reviewed by the Government.

The Government also announced that WHMs who arrived in Australia between 19 January 2022 and 19 April 2022 can request a refund of the Visa Application Charge (VAC) for their WHM visa until 31 December 2022. Further information on how to request a VAC refund is available at Students and WHM refunds form.

People travelling to Australia are required to make a declaration regarding their vaccination status, and be able to provide acceptable proof of vaccination. WHM visa holders must meet Australia’s vaccination requirements, or have an approved travel exemption. Information on entry requirements is updated regularly, so it is important to check the Department’s website for the latest requirements before travelling. 

Source: Australian Government Department of Home Affairs sourced on 11.07.2022

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