03 March 2009

Australia, Indonesia agree on new work and holiday visa

After meeting with the immigration representative for the Indonesian Government, Andi Mattalatta, Australia's Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, has secured a new working visa scheme for Australians and Indonesians.

Despite travel warnings to Indonesia that have been upheld by the Australian Government since the Bali bombings in 2002, Senator Chris Evans secured the visa scheme to allow a limited number of young people swap countries for up to a year.

The work and holiday visa scheme is different from the Australian working holiday visa, in that it requires the applicant to gain sponsorship from the Government.  Under the new scheme, 100 people aged 18-30 years can work and holiday in the other's country for up to 12 months, if they meet certain requirements.  According to Australia Network News, the applicant must be studying towards tertiary qualifications, and must functionally speak the language of the country they are applying to.

The more common Australian working holiday visa remains uncapped, and does not require governmental support of the applicant; however, all applicants for the Australian working holiday visa must pass strict health and character requirements before having their visa granted.

Senator Evans has reassured that securing the scheme does not contradict his Government's travel advice on visiting Indonesia.

"I understand the suggestion that there might be some conflict.  I think what we're saying is that we can walk and chew gum at the same time," he said.

The new scheme between Australian and Indonesia is due to go live in July.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with emigrating to Australia.

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