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11 August 2008
Australia continues to expand its Work and Holiday scheme by signing visa agreements with new countries and increasing visa quotas for countries that are already participating in the program. Now, Thailand and Australia will expand their Work and Holiday agreement by more than doubling the number of visas under their arrangements.
Speaking in Bangkok, Thailand on 09 August 2008, Australian Immigration Minister Chris Evans said the change will increase the number of Work and Holiday visas available for citizens of each country from 200 to 500 per year.
The Work and Holiday visa scheme allows young people from participating nations between the ages of 18 and 30 to work in each other's country for up to 12 months.
To qualify for the Work and Holiday program, participants must have a degree in higher education or -- if they are still taking courses -- have at least two years of study underway. Other requirements include the requirement that they must speak English or the language of the destination country.
"This is an investment in future relations with Thailand to help develop links between people in both countries," Evans said. "This visa assists young people in Australia and Thailand to travel and experience different cultures and have closer contact with a local community while holidaying."
Thailand was the first South East Asian country to sign a Work and Holiday agreement with Australia in July of 2004.
"Each year almost 50 000 Thai people visit Australia, and Thailand is a popular destination for Australians with over 300 000 departures to Thailand every year," Evans noted.
"The expansion of the work and holiday arrangement will help to further enhance this important bilateral relationship," he added.
Along with Thailand, Australia has Work and Holiday agreements with Malaysia, Chile, Turkey, Indonesia, and the United States.