The arrangements regarding the UK Youth Mobility Scheme visa and the New Zealand working holiday visa are extended. The age limit will be raised and the permitted length of stay extended. This has been agreed upon by former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Read more about the changes for New Zealand visa travellers here.
This agreement is the latest in a series of free trade agreements involving visa facilitation. For instance, Canada, France, the UK and Ireland previously reached an agreement with Australia. The agreement between the UK and New Zealand is similar in scope to these earlier agreements between other countries.
The purpose of the agreement is to promote international travel between the two countries. UK nationals aged 18 to 30 can currently live and work in New Zealand on a working holiday visa for a period of 23 months. Conversely, New Zealanders with the Youth Mobility Scheme visa can live and work in the UK for two years.
The governments of both countries point out that visiting a country on the other side of the world and living and working there can make a very important contribution to someoneʼs development. The Home Secretary of the UK, Priti Patel, for instance, said that travelling, living and working abroad can be an enriching experience. Thanks to the changes in visa regulations, more young New Zealanders and Britons will have the opportunity to develop themselves and their skills in this way. It is also a good opportunity to make lifelong contacts and contribute to the host country.
New Zealand residents have long called for improvements to the visa regime for working holidays. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she herself is one of many New Zealanders who have enjoyed living and working in the UK. She is thus relieved that this agreement has been reached and looks forward to providing Britons with the same wonderful experience in New Zealand.
The main changes
The key point in the FTA is the increase in the maximum age for New Zealandʼs working holiday visa. Under the current rules, applicants must be between 18 and 30 years old. The maximum age will be increased to 36. Thanks to this change, millions of UK citizens will once again have the opportunity to live and work temporarily in New Zealand. The maximum length of stay will also be extended to three years.
This is a bilateral free trade agreement, which means it only applies to the two countries entering into the agreement. So that also means that the New Zealand working holiday visa rules remain the same for other countries, including the Netherlands, Belgium, and many other European countries. There is also the possibility for these countries to negotiate relaxations in the existing agreements. However, for now, travellers from these countries must still assume the current visa conditions.
More information on the new working holiday visa requirements will not be announced until 2023, according to the UK Home Office. It is not yet clear, for example, whether the visa fee and asset requirement will also go up. The changes are scheduled to take effect in early 2024. However, the effective date may still be adjusted depending on the progress of preparations. This is because a lot of legal and technical changes need to be made, a process that could take a long time.
Only on holiday and not working
Would you like to visit New Zealand, but do not plan to live and work there? If you would like to explore the many aspects of the country while on holiday, you do not need a working holiday visa. In this case, you are better off applying for the NZeTA New Zealand. From the moment it is granted, you can use this electronic travel authorisation for two years. With the NZeTA, you can visit New Zealand for a holiday or business trip, as well as for a job application or to participate in unpaid amateur sports. You may stay in New Zealand for up to 3 months per visit. An NZeTA is also required if you are only travelling to New Zealand for a transfer on a connecting flight to your final destination.