28 October 2008

UK makes it easier for young Aussies and Kiwis to live and work in Britain

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As part of this year's overhaul to the UK immigration system, the Home Office is revamping the UK working holiday visa scheme to allow more young people to live and work in Britain.

The new Youth Mobility Scheme to go live with Tier 5 in November this year is similar to the working holiday scheme, in that young travellers can work in their chosen profession, but can now organise a job before they arrive in Britain and face less restrictions regarding the length of employment with any one employer.

The Youth Mobility Scheme will allow 18-30 year old Australians, New Zealanders and other nationals from participating countries to work and holiday in Britain for up to two years.  Holders of the new UK visa can work in any job they wish, except for business and professional sports, or work as a training doctor. 

The conditions of the visa mean holders will need sponsorship from their own government, and will have to prove they have sufficient funds to support themselves while they look for work in Britain.  Youth Mobility visa holders must not have any dependent children and cannot have held a UK working holiday visa before.  As the Youth Mobility scheme is part of the Tier 5 short-term immigration category, holders of the visa will need to leave the UK when their visa expires and will receive only one Youth Mobility visa per lifetime.

According to ABC News, the British High Commissioner Helen Liddell to Australia said the changes will be beneficial to Australians, and it will be likely that more young Australian travellers will now work and live in Britain for longer.

"Britain's immigration system rewards those who come, work hard, bring their skills and strengthen cultural ties and Australians fit the bill very well," Ms Liddell said.

"Because of the changes, we wouldn't be surprised if those numbers increase next year," a British High Commission spokesperson said.

The Home Office are also warning that several visa schemes will close when the Tier 5 immigration category goes live in November.  This includes the au pair scheme, the British Universities North America Club (BUNAC) scheme, Gap year entrants, Japan Youth Exchange, research assistants to Members of Parliament and the working holidaymakers scheme.  Any persons currently in the UK under any of these categories will need to become familiar with the transitional arrangements and how Tier 5 will affect them. 


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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