17 November 2008

UK economy threatening the great Kiwi OE

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The economic slowdown in the UK is reportedly causing New Zealanders to cut short their traditionally popular Overseas Experience in Britain before their two year visas run out, reports the New Zealand Herald.

New Zealand's Prime Minister (yet soon to be replaced by PM-elect John Keys) Helen Clark said she appreciates the high value young New Zealanders place on their travels to Europe and the UK.  This year, Ms Clark secured a visa-free agreement with the British PM Gordon Brown that allows New Zealanders to holiday in the UK for up to six months, provided they do not work in paid employment.  She also secured the two-year UK working holiday visa, or the Youth Mobility Scheme, which will go live with Tier 5 of the new UK immigration system later this month. 

“Our Government fully understands the importance of an “OE” for New Zealanders.  We have made a sustained effort to maintain the good level of access our people have traditionally enjoyed in Britain, and are very pleased with the response from the British Government”, said Ms Clark.

However, figures show that more people are emigrating to Australia and New Zealand because of the credit crunch in the UK.  Statistics New Zealand released figures that show 3700 more people are arriving in New Zealand for permanent or long-term arrivals than the previous 12 months, which includes those returning from their OE. Earlier this year, the Times reported that around 31,000 Australians are also returning from the UK this year, which is a 50 per cent increase since the credit crunch last summer.

Meanwhile, the UK released figures showing the number of international visitors dropped by 200,000 in the quarter ending September 30 of this year.

The Youth Mobility Scheme allows young travellers aged 18 to 30 years from nominated countries to live and holiday in the UK for up to two years while working for any employer, except for business and professional sports, or work as a training doctor.  The securing of the Youth Mobility Scheme will make the path to living and working in the UK much easier for young Australians and Kiwis, as it will allow them to organise a job before they arrive in Britain and face less restrictions regarding the length of employment with any one employer.


The UK Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in UK visa and immigration services.

Article by Jessica Bird, UK Visa Bureau.


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