06 September 2007

New Zealand working holiday visa gives backpackers extra three months

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The severe shortage of workers to fill jobs in the horticulture and viticulture sectors has driven the New Zealand government to give a three-month extension to working holidaymakers. British backpackers on a New Zealand working holiday visa will be allowed to stay longer if they are working in these sectors.

This transitional arrangement is to ensure there will be enough seasonal workers to fill thousands of jobs, which orchardists and grape growers fear they will struggle to fill over the coming New Zealand summer.

Horticulture New Zealand CEO Peter Silcock said: "Horticulture New Zealand, along with our industry partners New Zealand Winegrowers, Pipfruit NZ and Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated, are satisfied industry’s concerns have been heard.

"We are optimistic that these new policies will go a long way towards easing the concerns of growers," he said.

The extension policy will be available for two years from the time it comes into effect at the end of November so this is a good time for British backpackers and gap year travellers applying for a New Zealand working holiday visa.

Anyone interested in taking a working holiday to New Zealand should confirm their eligibility by taking the New Zealand Visa Bureau's online New Zealand visa assessment.

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