Working Holiday Visas: Conditions on which Aussies / Kiwis can work in UK


Someone sent a guest article to us complaining about how Aussies and Kiwis etc. were working illegally in the UK on Working Holiday visas, which we published. He then sent it on to his MP, Jacqui Lait, who forwarded the NamesFacesPlaces article to the appropriate Government department. Here is the reply he received.

Immigration and Nationality Directorate
Room 1101
Apollo House
36 Wellesley Road
Croydon CR9 3RR
28 March 2003
Mrs Jackie Lait MP
House Of Commons

Dear Mrs Lait,

Thank you for your letter of 5 February to Mr. Mike O‘Brien, which has been passed to this department for a response. The letter was concerning the abuse of the Working holidaymaker scheme.

As you are aware, the Working holidaymaker scheme is a youth mobility scheme designed for young Commonwealth citizens to gain experience of cultural life in the United Kingdom while enjoying an extended holiday here. Entrants are given a maximum period of two years. The key requirements for entry under the Working holiday scheme are as follows:

* That the applicant should be a Commonwealth citizen,
* Aged 17 to 27 inclusive at the time of entry
* Is unmarried (or married to a person who meets the requirements for entry in the category; in which case both parties should intend to take a working holiday together);
* The applicant should be able and intend to maintain and accommodate himself without recourse to public funds and
* Should have the means to pay for his return or onward journey;
* Should intend to take employment incidental to a holiday;
* Does not engage in business, provide services as a professional sportsman or entertainer or pursue a career in the United Kingdom;
* Must not have any children aged 5 years of age or over, or commitments which would require him to earn a regular income;
* Must intend to leave the United Kingdom at the end of his working holiday; and
* Must hold a valid United Kingdom entry clearance for entry in the category

Under this scheme, a person should not engage in work, which represents the continuation of his career. However he is allowed to engage in certain professional activities such as supply teaching at a relatively junior level, agency nursing or working on a temporary basis in a profession allied to medicine such as occupational therapist, physiotherapist, speech therapist, radiographer or pharmacist. These are examples of acceptable activities but not an exhaustive list. A working holidaymaker may not take up managerial positions or act as a locum hospital doctor, GP, solicitor, barrister etc but work as a locum vet is allowed. A person established or qualified in a profession or vocation overseas and who intends to take up a post or appointment in the same field in the United Kingdom should normally be required to obtain a work permit.

I note your comments with reference to the abuse of the scheme and would re-iterate that since the publication of ‘˜Secure Borders, Safe Haven: Integration with Diversity in Modern Britain‘ on 7 February 2002, tackling illegal working is a key part of this government‘s wider reforms to the immigration system.

The government as part of its managed migration programme has recently undertaken a review of the provisions of the scheme. The twin objectives of the review are to make the scheme more inclusive and of reducing the abuse of the category while removing unnecessary work restrictions. The consultation process on the review has been completed and officials are currently formulating proposals for an amendment of the terms of the scheme. An announcement of the forthcoming changes to the category will be made in due course.

Yours Sincerely,

Immigration and Nationality Policy Directorate (INDP)
Section 3 – Employment and Business

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