06 November 2012

Australian working holiday visa most popular in the world

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Immigration Minister Chris Bowen has said demand for the Australian working holiday visa is the most popular such program in the world.

Australia visa

The Australian working holiday visa program is the most popular in the world.

In a speech to the Australian Tourism Directions Conference in Canberra, Mr Bowen said over 220,000 Australian working holiday visas were issued in the last year, far outstripping similar programs in the UK, Canada and New Zealand.

"Today, Australia's Working Holiday Maker program is one of the most popular and largest of its kind in the world – larger than our nearest competitors, the United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand combined – with reciprocal arrangements in place with 28 partner countries," said the minister.

"This highlights the overwhelming competitive strength and appeal of Australia."

The Working Holiday Visa and the Word and Holiday visa allows citizens of 28 countries to live and work in Australia for up to 10 months, with an option to extend the visa for a further 12 months if certain conditions are met.

Mr Bowen says the contribution working holiday makers to the Australian economy is crucial and demand is growing:

"Since 2009, the number of Working Holiday Maker visas we have issued has doubled. Indeed, there are more Working Holiday Makers in Australia now than at any time previously – and demand is increasing.

"I know you are all interested in seeing more Working Holiday Makers coming to Australia to spend money and work in casual jobs in tourism and hospitality. Certainly, research shows that Working Holiday Makers provide valuable support to Australian employers and contribute positively to our economy."

Greece became the latest country to be touted as the next partner in the program and Mr Bowen said more agreements were in the pipeline.

"While we are working on a number of new agreements, Working Holiday Maker negotiations can take some time to finalise, often due to the regulatory issues within our partner countries," said Mr Bowen.

"We are looking to further grow the number of Working Holiday Maker partner countries where possible and where in the national interest.

"Specifically, I was very pleased to recently announce the commencement of Work and Holiday negotiations with Greece and the expansion of our program with Indonesia. There are also ongoing negotiations towards arrangements with Uruguay and Mexico."

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