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Working Holiday Visa

Australia is part of the Working Holiday Maker (WHM) visa program along with over twenty other countries. This is a reciprocal agreement which allows WHM visa holders to live and work in another participating country for a limited time. The essence of a WHM visa is that it is a holiday visa; with temporary work undertaken to supplement income while travelling.

There are two types of WHM visas with very similar names: The Working Holiday Visa and the Work and Holiday Visa.

The Working Holiday visa is usually valid for twelve months. The UK is an exception, allowing Australians to stay in the UK for two years (but only work for up to 12 months). There are restrictions on age and employment which vary between countries.

The Work and Holiday Visa more restrictive and is usually only available to people with tertiary qualifications. Australia and the US have a Work and Holiday Visa agreement. This visa allows Australians to work in the US for any one employer for up to 12 months. To be eligible for this visa you must be enrolled in a post-secondary course or have graduated from a post-secondary course in the last 12 months. You also need to be sponsored by a registered organisation.

The Working Holiday Program was established in January 1975 and with the main purpose to "promote international understanding by enabling young people to experience the culture of another country."

The first year saw less than 2,000 Working Holiday Visas issued, a figure that has grown significantly to the last reported figures for 2005-06 of 113,936. Working holiday makers have a positive effect on the Australian economy. Based on 80 000 annual arrivals, it is estimated that working holiday makers spend around $1.3 billion annually.

 
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