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Airport Parking and Hotels compares working holiday visas for UK Gap Year travellers

According to gap year travel specialists Oyster Worldwide, September is a popular booking time for school leavers looking to secure a gap year project, following the release of A-Level results on 17 August. For those keen to add impressive foreign work experience along with their new qualifications to their CV, Airport Parking and Hotels (APH) has put together a guide comparing working holiday visas for British travellers, to help gap year students plan for their year ahead.

The guide looks at the working holiday visas provided by nine countries, including Australia, Japan and the USA. The research compares the different types of visas available and looks at cost, duration the visa is valid for, eligibility, application stipulations and type of work permitted on the visa.

The cost for a working holiday visa varies from approximately £18 (HK$190) for Hong Kong’s Working Holiday Scheme to around £270 (AUD$440) for Australia’s Working Holiday Visa. Students looking to avoid any additional admin costs should note that British travellers can work for free without a visa or work permit in Switzerland and EEA countries, which includes all EU countries along with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. Students should however keep in mind that they may still have to pay UK income tax, depending on their residency status.

For travellers who plan to travel for an extended period, the validity of a working holiday visa ranges from four months with an additional 30 days for leisure travel on the USA’s J-1 Visa to up to 24 months on Canada’s International Experience Canada Visa (IEC). Travellers should keep in mind that the maximum period of work may differ to the maximum amount of time permitted in the country. For example, although an Australian Working Holiday Visa is valid for 12 months, a traveller may only work a maximum of six months with each individual employer. Similarly, the type of work undertaken during a working holiday may be restricted, such as when working during South Korea’s Working Holiday Program, which prohibits certain professional work, including in the entertainment industry and as a language instructor. Likewise, those working under Japan’s Working Holiday Scheme are requested to avoid work that may affect public morals, such as bar work. Regardless of the visa applied for, students should note that the work undertaken must be incidental to their holiday plans.

The eligibility requirements are similar for many of the visas researched, with all countries requesting that travellers are aged between 18 – 30 years old with no dependent children. Visa applicants are also instructed to have enough money saved to support themselves during their working holiday, with the required amount ranging from approximately £1,511 (CAN $2,500) when applying for Canada’s IEC to around £3,032 (AUD $5,000) when requesting an Australian Working Holiday Visa. Students are also advised to have a return or onward travel ticket, or proof of enough funds to purchase one.

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