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YHA Petitions To Save Big OE

Want to save the great Kiwi OE? YHA New Zealand is giving young Kiwis the opportunity to voice their opinions.

One of the leaders in the youth travel market, YHA New Zealand is rallying support for the traditional Kiwi OE, under threat from a British Government review of working visas.

YHA New Zealand, part of the world¹s largest budget accommodation network, is launching a nationwide petition to protect the two-year British working visa, available for New Zealanders under 28. The British Government is considering cutting the working visa to one year, as a possible change to its Immigration Act.

YHA New Zealand is making the petition available through its network of 58 hostels, as well as on student campuses throughout the country.

YHA New Zealand Marketing and Development Manager, Shelly Peebles says the two-year working visa currently available for travellers to the UK is an important part of the Kiwi overseas experience.

"The Big OE is an integral part of New Zealand¹s culture," says Shelly Peebles.

"The thousands of young New Zealanders who have waited their whole lives to head overseas, go travelling, experience the world, and work in Britain ­ all the things that make up the Big OE, may be restricted to only a short trip."

"As an organisation that has been working with young Kiwi and international travellers in New Zealand for 70 years, we feel we have to do something about it."

Over 28,000 New Zealanders are members of the YHA, many of them using the budget accommodation network to travel around the UK and the world.

Second Secretary Consular of the British High Commission, William Robertson, says a consultation document, which will examine the potential changes to the work visa policy, is currently being prepared by the Home Office.

"Once this is produced, we will be seeking input from many sources, including the New Zealand Government," says William Robertson.

"We will welcome the contribution from the YHA, as experts in the youth travel market."

Ms Peebles says she hopes many New Zealanders will add their support to the petition, which YHA New Zealand will present to the New Zealand Government and the British High Commission, as part of the consultation process.

"New Zealanders should get behind this petition ­ not only those who are planning to leave soon on their travels, but also those who have experienced the Big OE and realise what a difference it has made in their lives."

"It¹s a great Kiwi institution and we hope to preserve it."

The YHA OE Petition is available at YHA hostels and student campuses throughout the country, or sign online at: www.yha.org.nz

Ends


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