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Cutback to Kiwi Tradition

9 February 2005

Cutback to Kiwi Tradition May Inspire More Creative OEs Reputation and Range of Choices Will Keep Young New Zealanders Working on Holiday

Despite the controversial OE cutback that leaves only a year’s professional work in the UK for young Kiwis, YHA New Zealand says that the reputation of New Zealanders as hard workers and the range of opportunities available will ensure the OE tradition not only continues but flourishes.

“With 18 countries worldwide offering the same opportunity as the British working holiday scheme, young New Zealanders could easily prolong their OE by combining options – from Canada, to Finland, Chile, and Ireland – the possibilities are endless, and more attractive as the New Zealand Government has continued to secure new agreements,” says YHA New Zealand Marketing Manager Daniel Shields.

“Under this new rule they retain the provision for a 24-month stay in the UK, but the career focus is likely to strengthen as those working in high demand areas may apply for permanent employment after 12 months.”

Kiwis have always been adaptable in the face of visa changes, and this change could see a return to an OE supported by multiple visas, incorporating Canada, Ireland or the Netherlands.

YHA views this change with less alarm than proposed changes in 2002 that would have restricted the entire visa to 12 months. That prompted YHA’s “Save the Big OE” campaign, which inspired 5,000 signatures on petitions that supported keeping the scheme intact. The successful campaign was followed by the British Government’s announcement that not only could young holidaymakers work in their career field, but the age limit would increase to 30. Under the new rules, the age limit will remain the same.

“Rather than feel restricted, this week’s announcement by the British Government is an opportunity for travellers to take a closer look at the schemes that aren’t so well publicised, from Finland to Argentina,” says Shields. “Our network offers local support in 80 countries to help travellers on the go, and a service based here in New Zealand, to help them explore all their opportunities before they head away. We can give them useful contacts and help them to understand what a fantastic time it is to be a young New Zealander seeking employment overseas.”

YHA New Zealand offers an international travel advice and booking service for Kiwis interested in overseas travel. Simply ring 0800 278 299 or e-mail

YHA is the world’s first and largest travellers’ network, bringing together like-minded travellers with unique accommodation and local support in 80 countries. In 1937, YHA New Zealand’s founder Cora Wilding actually pioneered the first ever ‘Big OE’ on the SS Awatea, from Auckland to the British shores.


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