‘Before You Turn 30…’
A Working Holiday
25 January 2024
Welcome to Smith Stone Walters’ latest Global Immigration article series, where we will be exploring working holiday visa schemes around the world.
The concept of a short-term visa that permits temporary work abroad has grown in popularity in recent years, granting young people the flexibility to experience life in another country, whilst working to help fund their trip. Many countries across the globe now offer working holiday visas, with different rules and requirements depending on your circumstances and the destination country you are applying for.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be delving into the unique blend of work, travel, and cultural immersion that defines the working holiday experience.
This article series is dedicated to offering comprehensive, country specific guides for those eager to embark on a journey of cultural exchange, personal growth, and professional exploration.
What is a Working Holiday Visa?
A working holiday visa scheme is a program that allows young people from certain countries to live and work in another country for a specified period, typically ranging from a few months to a year (or maybe two).
These schemes are often bilateral agreements between countries and are designed to promote cultural exchange and provide young people with the opportunity to experience a different culture, gain work experience, and travel while financially supporting themselves.
Here’s a general overview of how the working holiday visa scheme typically works:
- Eligibility Criteria: Participants usually need to meet certain eligibility criteria, such as being within a specific age range, usually between 18 and 30 (or 35 in some cases); and holding a valid passport from a participating country, and not having participated in the program before.
- Duration of Stay: A working holiday visa typically allows participants to stay in the host country for a specified period, often ranging from six months to two years. The duration can vary depending on the agreement between the participating countries.
- Extension and Second Visas: Some countries may allow individuals to extend their working holiday visa or apply for a second working holiday visa, depending on eligibility criteria.
- Work Rights: Participants are generally allowed to work during their stay to supplement their finances and gain work experience. However, there are usually restrictions on the type of work and the maximum duration of employment with a single employer.
- Cultural Exchange: The primary purpose of these programs is often to promote cultural exchange. Participants are encouraged to immerse themselves in the local culture, interact with residents, and gain a deeper understanding of the host country.
- Travel Opportunities: Working holiday visa holders are usually free to travel within the host country and, in some cases, may have the flexibility to travel to neighbouring countries. This allows participants to explore the region during their stay.
- Insurance and Financial Requirements: Some programs may require participants to have health insurance for the duration of their stay and to demonstrate that they have sufficient funds to support themselves initially.
- Application Process: Interested individuals typically need to apply for the working holiday visa through a designated application process. This may involve providing proof of eligibility, travel plans, and other required documentation.
- Quota System: Some countries may implement a quota system, limiting the number of working holiday visas issued each year to maintain control over the program and avoid potential abuse.
Which countries offer a Working Holiday Visa?
Many countries offer a Working Holiday visa, including:
- Hong Kong
- New Zealand
- South Korea
- United Kingdom
Want to apply for a Working Holiday Visa?
It is essential for individuals considering such opportunities to thoroughly research the specific requirements and conditions of the working holiday visa scheme in the country they are interested in.
If you require support with your application, Smith Stone Walters can help. We recognise that every global immigration journey is unique. Our team is here to offer the support you need, whether you’re an individual exploring new opportunities or a company seeking options for your employees’ global mobility needs.
Complete our short assessment form here and a member of our global immigration team will be in touch.