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Australia formalises Canadian Working Holiday visa.

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Teresa Gambaro MP Assistant Minister for Immigration and Citizenship

Media Centre Australia formalises Canadian Working Holiday visa

11 September 2007

Australia has formalised its longstanding Working Holiday visa arrangement with Canada which allows thousands of young Australians to enjoy working holidays.

Assistant Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Teresa Gambaro, said Canada was one of the first countries to start a Working Holiday Maker scheme with Australia in 1975.

‘Canadian citizens are prominent users of the programme, with almost 60 000 entering Australia since 1997,’ Ms Gambaro said.

‘Formalising this commitment is testament to the close relationship between our countries.

‘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.’

The arrangement was formally announced by Prime Minister John Howard and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper today. Assistant Minister Gambaro and the Canadian High Commissioner, Michael Leir, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the terms of the visa yesterday in Canberra.

The MoU provides some new generous conditions for Australians.

‘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 programme, and will remove the annual quota on visa applications that previously existed,’ Ms Gambaro said.

‘Canadians entering Australia under the Working Holiday Maker programme 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.’

Australia has reciprocal Working Holiday Maker arrangements with 19 countries. Visa holders under the programme are estimated to spend more than $1.3 billion each year in Australia.

The new arrangements for Australians will commence on 1 January 2008.

Media Inquires: Tjorn Sibma 0417 744 922 (Ms Gambaro’s Office)

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