01 November 2005

Working Holiday to Australia extended: Now 2 years

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Young British travellers are being given the chance to live and work in Australia for 2 years after changes to the country's Working Holiday Program come into effect 1 November 2005.

Australia's Working Holiday Program allows 18 to 30 year olds to have an extended holiday in Australia by supplementing their travels through incidental work. Previously, the Working Holiday Visa was granted for a maximum of 12 months.

From 1 November 2005, eligible British students, gap year travellers and those looking for a career break will be allowed to apply for an additional 12 month visa while still onshore in Australia.

"Travellers are 'eligible' for the second Working Holiday Visa if they undertake 3 months of seasonal harvest work during their first year in Australia. Basically, this means working in a regional area, as defined by the Government, as a fruit-picker or seasonal worker," said Oonagh Baerveldt, spokesperson, Australian Visa Bureau.

"Seasonal work can be anything from harvesting to pruning or trimming trees to general maintenance crop work. To qualify for the second 12 month visa, the work must be in an approved area recognised by Department of Immigration and with an approved seasonal job provider," Ms Baerveldt said.

"The Australian Working Holiday Program is certainly growing in popularity; it's a clever way to take an extended holiday without running into debt," Ms Baerveldt said. "Anyone interested in taking a year or two to explore Australia should visit Visa Bureau's online assessment and complete the online assessment to make sure they meet the visa requirements.

"Going on a Australian Working Holiday is still a once in a lifetime opportunity, but now visa holders will be able to enjoy life Down Under for a little longer. Australia is a big country; many travellers find 12 months simply isn't enough time to enjoy everything the country has to offer. This is an amazing opportunity to spend 24 months living and working in the sunshine," said Ms Baerveldt.

Last year, nearly 96,000 Australian working holiday visas were issued to travellers from around the world, of which more than 35,000 were to UK nationals.

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