09 April 2009

Australian working holiday stealing lime-light from Irish-US working holiday

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The Australian working holiday programme is highly popular for young Irish and British travellers, and according to the Australian Visa Bureau, the start of this year has seen some impressive growth in the Australian working holiday visa programme when compared with last year.

Amanda Gripske from the Australian Visa Bureau said:  "The number of Australian working holiday visa grants has soared in the first quarter of 2009, represented by a 20 per cent increase on the year before.

"While this year we expected to see a decline in the number of people travelling to Australia because of the financial conditions, we have been taken by surprise, and we anticipate that the year will be one of the best for Australian working holidays yet."

While the Australia working holiday seems to be high in demand, the new Irish-American working holiday programme is lagging.  Known as the J visa, the programme went live in September 2008, and has since not seen a major interest in the programme.

While the Australian working holiday programme allows an uncapped number of 18-30 year old Irish nationals to work and travel in Australia for up to twelve months – with the option of applying for a second working holiday visa if they work in regional Australia in specified occupations for three months or more during this time - the J visa allows only up to 20,000 Irish to work and travel in America for up to 12 months and 5,000 Americans to do the same in Ireland, per year. 

Further, while the Australian working holiday allows visa holders to work for any employer for up to 6 months, the J visa requires holders to have graduated from college within 12 months of applying for the visa and they must work their field of study while working on that visa type.
According to Irish Central, only 18 J visas have been issued to Americans, while 2,530 have been issued to Irish nationals.

Dearbhla O'Brien, commercial director of USIT in Dublin, told reporters that the reason behind the lack of interest in the J visa programme is that it has been likened to the Australia working holiday programme, which ended up confusing and disillusioning young Irish travellers. 

"Irish authorities promoted the new visa as being similar to the Australian 12-month working holiday model.  It is not at all like the Australian visa," said O’Brien.

"This really confused people," she said.

If an Australia working holiday is appealing to you, and you would like to find out if you are eligible for the programme, take the online assessment test through the Australian Visa Bureau website.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with emigrating to Australia.

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