The possibility of tens of thousands of young people missing out on a university place in the autumn combined with grim employment statistics could see a dramatic increase in the number of young Brits heading Down Under on an Australian Working Holiday Visa.
According to new figures from the Higher Education Funding Council for England, more than 200,000 would-be students in the UK are expected to be unable to obtain a university place this year, and new graduates face a challenging jobs market.
Last year, similar circumstances in the Republic of Ireland saw a 33 per cent increase in young Irish taking a Australian working holiday, 22,788 for the year ending June 30, 2009 from 17,120 the previous year.
The UK is the largest country of origin for Australian Working Holiday visas, and last year a record-breaking 40,182 young people from the UK were granted this visa – a 15 per cent increase on the previous year.
Australian Visa Bureau Director Guy Bradley said: “Anecdotally we have seen an increase in Britons seeking to improve their employability and life skills through work experience overseas, specifically through the Australian Working Holiday programme. We believe this will continue and that the year ending 2010 will be another record breaking year.”
The Australian Working Holiday Visa allows young people aged 18 to 30 the opportunity to live and work in Australia for up to 12 months, as well as the ability to study for up to four months. There is also the potential for UK young people to further extend their visa by another 12 months, making the trip up to 24 months long.
The basic requirements for an Australian Working Holiday visa is that applicants must be between 18 and 30 years old, hold a valid passport with at least one year until renewal, and enough funds to support themselves for an initial period when they arrive in Australia. There is also a health and character requirement, as applicants must not have any substantial criminal convictions or medical issues.
Young people can take a free online assessment to determine their eligibility for the Australian Working Holiday Visa by visiting http://www.visabureau.com/australia/assessment/workingholida… or the Australian Visa Bureau website.