06 May 2009

Changes to the New Zealand working holiday visa announced

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Important changes to the New Zealand working holiday visa scheme have been announced by the Immigration Minister Dr Jonathan Coleman, who says the changes are a positive step towards making the New Zealand working holiday scheme more attractive to young travellers.

Currently, New Zealand working holiday visa holders have the right to study a single course for up to three months.  As of July 2009, the New Zealand working holiday scheme will allow holders of that visa to study multiple courses while working and travelling in New Zealand, and depending on the nationality of the working holiday visa holder, the study period can be extended from three months to six months.

Amanda Gripske from the New Zealand Visa Bureau said that while the opportunity to study in New Zealand is not usually high on the agenda for most working holidaymakers, it certainly is a positive step towards opening up the New Zealand working holiday to more people.

"The New Zealand working holiday has always been a hugely popular scheme, particularly for young British and Irish travellers who are keen for a bit of adventure and the fresh outdoors. 

"Hopefully the changes implemented in July will give young travellers even more reason to travel to the other side of the world and truly experience New Zealand – and with UK nationals scoring an extra 11 months on the standard 12-month New Zealand working holiday visa, living the student life for a while won't cut too much into their holiday."

Thirty countries participate in the New Zealand working holiday scheme, which Dr Coleman says represents the positive relations the country has with so many other nations.

"Working holiday schemes are a great way of encouraging young people to visit New Zealand. They raise New Zealand’s profile and, in foreign policy terms, signify a strong bilateral relationship," Dr Coleman said in a press release.

The New Zealand working holiday visa allows young travellers from any of these 30 countries to travel and work in New Zealand for up to 12 months, provided they meet certain health, character and financial requirements.  In 2008, approximately $103 million was injected into the New Zealand economy from working holidaymakers alone.

Dr Coleman is hoping that improvements such as these will keep New Zealand's working holiday programme at a competitive level with countries such as Australia and Canada, who reel in thousands of working holidaymakers every year.

If you are interested in a New Zealand working holiday, take the online assessment to see if you are eligible for a New Zealand working holiday visa.


The New Zealand Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with their New Zealand working holiday visa.


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