04 May 2006

Better career breaks now on offer Down Under

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The Australian Federal Government has announced changes its popular working holidaymaker visa program. The most significant change means visa holders will be able to work for any one employer for six months rather than three. Study periods have been extended to four months rather than three and the Government has widened its definition for qualifying fields of employment for the popular visa ‘extension’ program.

The changes come into effect for Working Holiday Visas lodged on or after 1 July 2006.

'This is great news for anyone looking to travel to Australia for a year out. For those thinking of a career break, trying out a new career or re-training, the opportunity to do so in Australia has improved dramatically with these changes. Being able to work for the same employer for six months means visa holders can really get stuck in to their new jobs, rather than feeling like temporary staff,' said Oonagh Baerveldt, Australian Visa Bureau.

'The Australian economy is booming; there are lots of great career opportunities in the major cities like Sydney and Melbourne, but also in the regional areas. There are skilled labour shortages in nursing, and the construction trades in particular. For nurses, this is a great chance to spend six months working and six months travelling,’ said Baerveldt. ‘For those who are little more adventurous and want out of the city, working in regional area of Australia as a seasonal worker for three months now affords visa holders the option to extend their visa for an additional 12 months.'

From 1 July, backpackers, gap year students and even career breakers working in several primary industries, including fishing, shearing and forestry, will be eligible to apply for a 'second' working holidaymaker visa. Previously, this option was only extended to those in the fruit and farm industries.

Under the working holiday maker visa arrangement, young Britons aged between 18 and 30 (inclusive), with no dependent children, can apply for a working holiday visa.

British students, gap year travellers and those looking for a career break accounted for well over a third of the 104, 000 Working Holiday Visas issued for Australia in 2004.

To obtain a Working Holiday Visa please complete Visa Bureau's Online Assessment.

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