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Bright future for the Kiwi ‘Big OE'

Announcement sees bright future for the Kiwi ‘Big OE’

The British Government has just announced it will be opening up the Working Holiday Maker Scheme for New Zealanders in the UK, in a move to encourage young people from Commonwealth countries to live and work in the UK.

The changes include removing all existing work restrictions; allowing Working Holiday Makers to switch to work permit employment after one year provided they qualify for a work permit, and raising the age to 30 years.

1st Contact, a New Zealand-owned major recruitment and travel advisory company based in London, welcomes the changes. Managing Director and New Zealander Mike Kaye, says the relaxing of the visa is great news for Kiwis wanting to live and work in the UK.

“The changes mean young New Zealanders can now actually work in their chosen profession, furthering their career while in the UK and then taking back their skills to New Zealand when they return.”

Currently New Zealanders on a working holiday visas can only work for half the two-year term in jobs outside of their trained profession and visas must be obtained before applicants are aged 28.

The changes come after earlier speculation the Working Holiday-Maker Scheme (WHMS) would be tightened up and the release of a consultation document in May 2002 by the British Home Office, which proposed extensions to the Scheme. 1st Contact, together with other organisations serving the working holiday market, formed the Youth Travel Industry Project Group (YTIPG) in early 2002, with the purpose of lobbying the British Home Office in favour of extending the WHMS.

Mike Kaye sees this as an extremely positive development for New Zealand and for New Zealanders, as the country itself will gain a skilled workforce returning from the UK and New Zealanders are able to further their careers while away from home.

“A survey conducted by 1st Contact in 2002, showed an overwhelming 91 percent of New Zealanders in the UK on working holiday visas plan to return home within five years,” says Mr Kaye.

“This is a positive trend, it’s like a revolving door, which is something we will certainly look to encourage through 1st Contact recruitment companies, offering services for New Zealanders returning home as well as arriving in the UK.”

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