On 13 November 2012 Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Chris Bowen has announced that Australia will begin talks with the governments of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Israel, Latvia, Poland, and the Slovak Republic on establishing reciprocal work and holiday visa arrangements.
‘The start of discussions for these new work and holiday arrangements recognises the value of Australia’s evolving bilateral relationships with these countries and will strengthen our cultural and people-to-people links,’ Mr Bowen said.
Once implemented, the arrangements would allow young Australians and citizens of the partner countries – who are aged between 18 and 30 – to enjoy an extended holiday in the guest country.
Participants would be able to stay for up to 12 months and engage in short-term work and study during that time. Each arrangement would have an annual cap on visa grant numbers.
‘Negotiating work and holiday arrangements, which must be reciprocal and agreeable to both partner governments, can take some time to finalise and implement. We must ensure all key stakeholders are consulted and necessary administrative processes are in place,’ Mr Bowen said.
The work and holiday visa differs from a working holiday visa as it requires applicants to have the support of their government, hold or be studying towards tertiary qualifications and to speak functional English.
On the successful conclusion of negotiations with each country, they would join Australia’s existing work and holiday arrangement partners: Argentina, Bangladesh, Chile, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Thailand, Turkey and the United States.