17 September 2009
The sun is shining on an Australian gap year
More than 180,000 places in the sun on an Australian working holiday
The Met Office officially called an end to the “barbecue summer” last week but the warm sun is rising in Australia for those with an Australian Working Holiday Visa and a gap year free from stress.
Last year, a record 187,696 Australian Working Holiday visas were issued and 34,147 of these were to UK gappers, making Australia the most popular gap year destination for young Britons. These figures are likely to be repeated again this year as the recession bites down on opportunities in the UK.
An Australian working holiday means beautiful weather, a chance to earn some money, but it also represents freedom, said Australian Visa Bureau Director Guy Bradley.
“September is the start of spring in Australia, the perfect time to start an Australian travel adventure,” Mr Bradley said.
“The beauty of an Australian Working Holiday is that it is the true spirit of adventure, of freedom, and an opportunity to make of it whatever you wish.
“From fruit picking in the orange groves of Mildura to a campfire dinner in the outback with your mates or just relaxing on Bondi Beach: Australia means freedom,” he said.
Amber Yates, 18, of Ascot, is travelling to Australia in November with three of her friends to work in Sydney.
Amber was recently approved for an Australian Working Holiday Visa, which will allow her to work in different bars and hotels for one year but only plans on staying in Australia for three months.
“I just want to work in a different country for a change. I’ve got the rest of my life to work in the UK,” she said.
After three months in Sydney, Amber will return to the UK to work and save for university next September.
The basic requirements for an Australian Working Holiday Visa is that applicants must be between 18 and 30 years old, with a valid passport with at least one year until renewal, and enough funds to support themselves for an initial period when they arrive in Australia.
Those with an Australian Working Holiday Visa are able to work to fund their stay and travel in Australia and the Australian Government will also allow Working Holiday Visa holders the opportunity to apply for a second Working Holiday Visa and extend their stay in Australia to 24 months, provided they have worked as a specified worker in regional Australia for three months, for example in plant or animal cultivation.
Young people can take a free online assessment to determine their eligibility for the Australian Working Holiday Visa by visiting the online working holiday application or the Australian Visa Bureau website.