Young Irish people increasingly seeking working holiday visas for Australia

by Ray Clancy on March 21, 2011

in Australia Immigration

More Irish go Down Under for work

Young Irish people are increasingly moving to Australia for a year to work and travel mainly because of lack of opportunities at home, new figures suggest.

The number of Irish citizens taking up an Australian Working Holiday Visa has increased by over 30%, the figures from the Australian tourism authority reveal.

During the 12 months ending in January 31, 2011, the number of Irish nationals granted a visa jumped by 30.51% to 11,122 youngsters, compared to the same period in 2009/10.

The Australian Working Holiday Visa allows young people aged 18 to 30 from participating countries the opportunity to travel in Australia for up to 12 months, working for up to six months with any one employer.

There is also the option to extend the holiday a further year for those who complete a minimum of three months specified work in a rural area, for example picking fruit.

Tourism Australia regional general manager for UK and northern Europe, Rodney Harrex, said the increase in Irish interest in the visa was a sign that younger travellers were keen to explore the opportunities of living and working in a different country.

‘Provided you’ve got a return airfare and some savings to prove you can support yourself when you arrive in Australia, and meet basic health and character requirements, anyone between the ages of 18 and 30 can apply,’ he explained.

Whether you want to pull beers in a pub in Sydney, work on a dive boat on the Great Barrier Reef, drive a monster truck in a mine in Western Australia or work in advertising in Melbourne, the job options for working holiday makers when they arrive in Australia are varied. And now with the extension of the second Working Holiday Visa, if you fall in love with the Australian lifestyle, there are more options for you to stay up to two years,’ he added.

The organisation has also found that big spending Chinese tourists are now Australia’s most valuable tourism market, surpassing the UK. Its latest international visitor survey reported a 5% increase in international visitors last year, and a 4% increase in their spending.

Visitors from China spent $3.1 billion in the year to December 2010, followed by the United Kingdom $2.9 billion and New Zealand $2 billion. Spending an average of 56 nights in Australia, many Chinese are coming for short educational courses or to visit family and friends.

Educational tourists spend the highest amount per day at $107, the second only to business visitors.

Figures from xxx show a similar pattern. Its latest monthly figures show that in January 2011 there were 60,600 visitors from China, an increase of 63% compared with the same month in 2009. While there were 59,900 from the UK, a fall of 5%. But neighbouring New Zealand topped the visitor table at 74,900, an increase of 6%.

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