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Changes to the UK working holiday visa

06 July 2023 | By ABC News

A working holiday in Australia is back on the cards for British travellers over 30 who otherwise would have missed their chance. UK passport holders now have five more years to apply for a working holiday visa as part of the new free trade agreement.

What’s changed for UK travellers?

Travellers from the UK can now apply for a working holiday visa from when they are 18 to 35 years-old.

This allows travellers five more years to apply for the working holiday (subclass 417) visa.

The change, which came into effect on July 1, only applies to people who use a UK or Northern Ireland passport to lodge their visa application.

Travellers can only use one passport to access the working holiday visas they are eligible for.

More changes to take effect next year

From July 1, 2024 UK passport holders can be granted up to three working holiday visas without having to complete a specific amount of time working on a farm or in a regional area.

Currently, to be eligible for a second working holiday visa applicants must show that they have done at least three or 88 days of what the government calls “specified work” and six months to secure a third visa.

This covers various types of work in regional areas from mining, fruit picking and construction to fishing.

It also includes tourism and hospitality work in northern Australia or remote places.

UK travellers will continue to be eligible for a maximum of three working holiday visas for 12 months each. 

What has prompted the changes?

These changes are a part of the free trade agreement between the UK and Australia which has been years in the making.

Other changes under the agreement include no tariffs on more than 99 per cent of Australian exports to the UK.

This news has been welcomed by Australia’s winemakers, farmers and fishers.

What about Aussies going to the UK?

There is also good news for Australians heading to the UK, but they will have to wait until next year for the changes to come into effect.

From January 31, 2024 the maximum age to apply for a Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS) visa will also rise from 30 to 35-years-old. 

YMS visa holders will also have the chance to stay in the UK for up to three years, rather than two. 

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese says the changes will provide better career opportunities for Australians.

There are obvious benefits where people can get that experience in the British economy and then I hope go back to Australia and make a greater contribution as a result of that experience.

Papua New Guinea joins Working Holiday progam

July 1 also marked changes for Papua New Guinea, which joined the Working Holiday Maker (WHM) program.

This allows up to 100 PNG nationals to travel to Australia on a Work and Holiday visa.

To lodge an application, people need a letter of PNG government support.

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