Youth Mobility Scheme to be
extended in new UK-
New Zealand deal

Last week, the Home Office announced that young Brits and New Zealanders will soon be presented with more opportunities to live and work abroad thanks to a planned expansion of the two countries’ shared visa schemes.

On 1 July 2022, the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern signed an agreement to extend the generous Youth Mobility Scheme and Working Holiday scheme to include those aged 30 to 35 and increase the length of time young people can stay in each country to three years. Currently, the schemes are open to applicants aged 18 to 30, and the maximum stay is two years.

Young people from both the UK and New Zealand will benefit under the reciprocal schemes, enabling them to access opportunities that will give them a better understanding of each country’s culture and society, through travel, work and life experience overseas.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “Travelling, living and working overseas can be a wonderfully enriching experience. The UK loves to welcome Kiwis on their travels here while thousands of Brits have made the similarly life-changing journey to the southern hemisphere.

Today’s improvements to our visa schemes will give even more young Brits and New Zealanders the opportunity to develop their skills, make life-long connections and contribute to their host country.”

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said: “Kiwis have long advocated for improvements to working holiday visas. We are so pleased to have reached this agreement today. I was one of many Kiwis to enjoy living and working in the UK, and we look forward to offering Brits the same wonderful experience in New Zealand.”

The changes have not yet come into effect, and more information on the enhancement to the Youth Mobility and Working Holiday schemes is expected to be provided next year.

The UK’s Youth Mobility Scheme

The Youth Mobility Scheme is a temporary immigration route which exists to provide young people aged between 18 and 30 from participating countries with an opportunity to experience life in the UK for up to two years. With a Youth Mobility Scheme visa, individuals can live in the UK and study, work in most jobs or be self-employed during the visa’s 24-month validity period.

It costs £259 to apply for a Youth Mobility Scheme visa. Applicants will also need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) at the reduced rate of £470 per year, and show that they have personal savings of at least £2,530 to support themselves in the UK.

New Zealand’s Working Holiday Scheme

New Zealand has Working Holiday Scheme agreements with many countries, allowing young people usually aged 18 to 30 (but 18 to 35 in a select few countries) to travel and work in New Zealand for up to 12 months (or 23 months if you are from the UK or Canada).

Eligible UK citizens can choose to apply for a Working Holiday visa with a duration of either 12 or 23 months. Successful applicants will be able to study and work in New Zealand during their stay. To apply, you must have at least NZ $350 to live on for each month of your stay.

Support with your visa application

At Smith Stone Walters, we have been helping companies and individuals reach their immigration goals for 21 years. Our team of immigration advisors based in London, New York, Hong Kong and Mumbai are on hand to support you through every stage of your visa application. To find out how we can help, please contact us today.

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