Australia and Canada formalize Working Holiday program

17 September 2007

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Australia has formalized a longstanding Working Holiday visa agreement with Canada. The program allows thousands of young Australians and Canadians to take an extended holiday and work in each others' country.

Canada and Australia have had the longstanding agreement since 1975. According to Teresa Gambaro, Australia's Assistant Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, the program is a testament to the close relationship between Australia and Canada.

"Canadian citizens are prominent users of the program, with almost 60,000 entering Australia since 1997," Gambaro said.

"The arrangement is a good outcome for both our countries. Not only does it provide opportunities for young Australians and Canadians to experience more of each other's culture and lifestyle, but it also builds stronger business and cultural networks," she added.

The agreement was formalized by Australian Prime Minister John Howard and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Gambaro and Canadian High Commissioner Michael Leir signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 10 September in Canberra.

The MoU will provide some new conditions for nationals of both countries.

"The MoU allows eligible Australians aged 18-30 years to stay and work in Canada for two years. It also allows Australians unlimited access to the program, and will remove the annual quota on visa applications that previously existed," Gambaro said.

"Canadians entering Australia under the Working Holiday Maker program will be issued with a 12 month visa which allows them to work for up to six months with each employer and study for up to four months. They can apply for a second year's visa if they complete three months seasonal work in regional Australia in the first year," she added.