25 February 2005

Record number of under 30s take ‘career breaks’ in Australia

Young Brits who find the frantic pace of London work life too much are turning to the Australian Working Holiday visa scheme for ‘career breaks’.

Figures released by the Australian Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, show that of the 95,750 Australian Working Holiday visas issued last year, 35,061 were to UK nationals in the 18 to 30 age bracket.

The Australian Working Holidaymaker is no longer just the typical university student, backpack and surfboard in tow. The new breed of Working Holiday maker is an executive level, late twenty-something, looking for a ‘career break’ after five to six years in the workforce.

For those looking for a ‘career break’ or those looking to change careers altogether, Working Holiday schemes are the ideal arrangement; the chance to work as casual labour in Australia is a welcome change from the stress of London-life and the struggle to maintain a sensible work/life balance.

“My Australian Working Holiday clients are looking to escape for a year; either they need a solid break or are ready to leave their career altogether because they are disillusioned with working in the City, and the sacrifices they’ve had to make,” said Vivienne Whitfield, consultant at the Australian Visa Bureau.

Part of the attraction with the Australian Working Holiday visa programme, is the opportunity for travellers fund their trip through casual or short-term contract work.

“With Working Holiday schemes, travellers don’t have to dip into savings. So, before committing to mortgage payments, a new career or even family-life, under 30’s are taking the time to experience life outside Britain. Some people see it as a break, some see it as their last chance to have a little fun before the realities of life set in,” said Whitfield.

“The common thinking seems to be ‘my best earning years are going to be between 30 and 50, so if I want to travel, I had better do it now’,” said Whitfield.

“The Working Holiday visa processing time is pretty quick, it can take up to 8 weeks to process, but frequently the visas come back within 24 hours. In theory, you could leave your job in London on Monday and be working in Sydney on Friday.”

Working Holiday arrangements have been available to young Australians and Britons for the past 30 years. Both countries have benefited from the reciprocal arrangement; the program provides young workers with a chance to gain valuable skills overseas, and it boosts tourism while benefiting industries that rely heavily on casual labour at peak times.

The top countries for Working Holiday makers visiting Australia in 2004 were the UK, Ireland, Japan, Germany, the Republic of Korea and Canada. Working Holiday makers in Australia boost the Australian economy by $1.3 billion annually.

Those wanting to apply for an Australian Working Holiday Visa can take the free online assessment to see if they are eligible for the Australian visa.

 Australian Visa Bureau is an independent immigration advisory service specialising in visas and immigration for British and Irish nationals looking to live and work in Australia. Based in central London, the company offers a range of services and free online assessments for individuals and families considering a new life abroad. Visit www.visabureau.com/australia for up to date news, information and free online visa assessments.

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