30 November 2012

Uruguay joins Australian Work and Holiday Visa program

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Australian Immigration Minister Chris Bowen announced yesterday that Uruguay will become the 10th country to join the Work and Holiday Visa program after signing a Memorandum of Understanding with Uruguayan Ambassador to Australia Alberto Fajardo.

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Uruguay has become the most recent country to join the Australian Work and Holiday Visa program.

The Work and Holiday Visa program is currently open to nine countries including the United States and is similar in principal to the Working Holiday Visa program which allows passport holders of many countries, including the UK and Ireland, to live and work in Australia for up to two years.

The Work and Holiday program has more restrictions but Mr Bowen said the agreement between Uruguay and Australia represented strengthening ties with the South American nation.

"The agreement provides for university educated Australian and Uruguayan travellers aged between 18 and 30 years old to work and holiday in each other's country for up to 12 months," said Mr Bowen.

"This work and holiday agreement will enable young people to immerse themselves in a new and different cultural experience, while also fostering dialogue and economic ties between Australia and Uruguay.

"The agreement reinforces our mutually beneficial relationship with Uruguay, which is based on shared interests, greater economic cooperation, and growing trade and tourism links."

The minister said that the program would initially be capped at 200 visas per year and that arrangements would begin immediately to put the agreement into place.

"In the coming months, my department will work with the government of Uruguay to bring this agreement into effect so that young people from both countries can begin to enjoy the benefits of this visa program>2

Jenny Espiner, visa processing manager at the Australian Visa Bureau, says the announcement will benefit all involved.

"Australia's working holiday and work and holiday programs provide great options to young people from participant countries as well as young Australians who can go the other way," said Ms Espiner.

"The addition of Uruguay to the work and holiday program will add to the multiculturalism in Australia and provide more willing workers for the growing economy."

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people lodge applications with the Australian Embassy.

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