29 October 2008

NZ PM welcomes changes to UK working holiday visa

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As Tier 5 of the new UK points-based immigration system goes live next month, so will the new youth mobility scheme that will replace the old system's UK working holiday visa. According to Stuff.co.nz, the New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark has welcomed the changes, as they will allow young Kiwis to work and live in Britain for longer.

Under the current system, eligible young people aged 18-30 years from countries participating in the UK working holiday visa scheme can live in Britain for up to 24 months and work for 12 of those.  When the youth mobility scheme replaces the working holiday scheme in a matter of weeks, those young travellers will be able to work for the full two years of their stay.

Every year around 5,000 Kiwis arrive in Britain on UK working holiday visas, which the New Zealand government recognises as a "rite of passage" for young New Zealanders. 

"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," Ms Clark said after securing ancestry visa rights for New Zealanders during July.

Last night, Ms Clark told reporters she was happy with the result of the new youth scheme.

"This is great news for New Zealanders aged 18 to 30 wishing to experience life in the UK," she said.

"British ministers and officials have recognised the low risk and high value New Zealanders bring to the UK during their travels.  Young New Zealanders work in schools, hospitals, law firms and finance, as well as in the pubs and restaurants many of us used to associate the Kiwi OE with."

Applicants will have to prove their eligibility and that they can support themselves financially before finding a job in the UK, to the tune of about £1600. 

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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