UK Working Holiday Scheme changes boon to employers

The government have just announced from that from the 1st of July 2023, UK citizens will have three years to travel and work in New Zealand on the United Kingdom Working Holiday Visa.

The crucial benefit for New Zealand employers is the opportunity to employ UK citizens for a substantial period of three years. The real perk comes when we look at it in combination with the upcoming amendments to the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV). 

Starting from November, AEWV’s will be valid for five years instead of the current three. Adding these periods together, employers potentially have an eight-year period to secure and develop a UK candidate into a long-term employee.

What does this mean for the employees? 

This extension provides ample time to secure their position, and qualify for residence in New Zealand. For those needing to reach a specific wage level (1.5 times the median wage) attain professional registration, or complete New Zealand work experience at a certain wage to spring board to residence, this time extension is an absolute boon. 

This timeframe allows for career progression and professional development, significantly enhancing their prospects for residence qualification.

Here are the key changes:

  • The age of eligibility for a UK WHS visa is now 18-35 years.
  • The maximum duration that WHS visa holders can stay in New Zealand is being extended to three years.
  • WHS visa holders can now work for the entire duration of their visa.
  • Each year, up to 15,000 visas will be granted under the updated UK WHS.

Please note, if you’re planning to stay over 12 months, you will need to provide a medical and chest x-ray certificate. For stays longer than 24 months, police certificates are also required.

For those already in New Zealand on a UK WHS visa, the changes impact you too. From 1st July 2023, you can apply to extend your stay up to the new three-year limit. You’ll need to provide a medical and x-ray certificate if you haven’t already, as well as police certificates.

These changes to the UK Working Holiday Scheme present a fantastic opportunity for UK nationals seeking to live and work in New Zealand, while offering New Zealand employers the chance to secure long-term, skilled workers from the UK.

If you need help or advice about your visa or accreditation status. Get in touch with our expert immigration team.

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