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PM welcomes changes to UK working holiday scheme

PM welcomes changes to UK working holiday scheme

Prime Minister Helen Clark has welcomed improved access for New Zealanders on the United Kingdom’s working holiday scheme.

The British Government is freeing up work restrictions and raising the cut-off age from 27 to 30 for New Zealanders heading to Britain for their ‘OE’.

The British Government announced the changes to the UK Working Holidaymaker Scheme on Friday morning (UK-time). Under the changes New Zealanders will now be able to work in any field and remain in the same position for the full two-year period of their scheme entitlement.

“Around 7000 young New Zealanders travel to the UK each year for their ‘big OE’ under the Commonwealth Working Holidaymaker Scheme. This is an important tradition for many New Zealanders and we welcome the British announcement,” Helen Clark said.

“The New Zealand Government has kept in close touch with British ministers on the issue to make sure our views were registered. It is gratifying to see that they were taken on board and that, in fact, young New Zealanders’ access to the scheme has been improved.

“I particularly thank British Prime Minister Tony Blair for the personal and supportive interest he took in the issue when I raised it with him.

“This reflects the contributions New Zealanders on their OE make to the British economy. In turn New Zealand benefits from the experience gained when they return home,” Helen Clark said.

In return, New Zealand accepts 9000 young British citizens to New Zealand each year for a working holiday.

Helen Clark said this exchange of people between the two countries further demonstrates the close ties between Britain and New Zealand.

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