Australia trade deal: What are the new rules for working holiday visas for under 35s?

·3-min read
Boris Johnson meets Scott Morrison (PA Wire)
Boris Johnson meets Scott Morrison (PA Wire)

The UK and Australia have agreed upon an “historic” trade deal, the British government’s first major deal since leaving the EU.

Much of what was negotiated between Boris Johnson and Australian prime minister Scott Morrison concerned the elimination of tariffs on nearly all traded products within the next five years.

Separate agreements were struck on the phasing out of dairy, sugar, sheep meat and beef tariffs.

“Today marks a new dawn in the UK’s relationship with Australia, underpinned by our shared history and common values,” Mr Johnson said of the deal.

“Our new free-trade agreement opens fantastic opportunities for British businesses and consumers, as well as young people wanting the chance to work and live on the other side of the world.”

The deal will also extend freedoms for young people looking to travel to Australia on a working holiday visa. Here’s everything we know so far.

What are the current working holiday visa rules for Brits in Australia?

Covid pandemic restrictions aside, British travellers aged 30 and under are eligible for a working holiday visa (417) in Australia. This enables them to stay in the country for up to 12 months, and to work while they’re there.

Eligible Brits can also extend this visa by applying for a second, and then a third working holiday visa, which enable travellers to stay for an extra year apiece. However, to be eligible for the extension, they must complete three months and six months respectively of “regional specified” rural work in an industry such as farming, fishing, mining or construction.

What is changing after the trade deal?

The age of Brits eligible for the working holiday visa is being extended to those under 35 years old, widening the opportunity to hundreds of thousands more people at a stroke.

The deal also looks set to strike off the requirement for those looking to extend their visa for another year to undertake mandatory manual labour in one of the aforementioned industries.

Although Australian farmers are said to be against the move as it will deprive them of much-needed cheap labour, the UK trade secretary, Liz Truss, reportedly argued in favour of dropping the clause as there is no equivalent requirement for Australians in Britain.

The details as shared in the UK government’s statement on the deal are somewhat vague, but it does promise that “Brits under the age of 35 will be able to travel and work in Australia more freely, opening exciting opportunities for young people.”

What are the new working visa rules for Australians in the UK?

According to the Australian government, Australians applying for working holiday visas in the UK will get “expanded rights” and will now be able to stay for three years, with an increased cut off age of 35.

“Professionals will benefit from provisions to support mutual recognition of qualifications and greater certainty for skilled professionals entering the UK labour market,” added Dan Tehan, Australia’s minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment.

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