Talks begin over working and holiday visas for Greeks

by Ray Clancy on August 14, 2012

in Australia Immigration, Jobs in Australia

Talks begin over working and holiday visas for Greeks

The Australian government is to begin negotiations with Greece about establishing a reciprocal work and holiday visa arrangement, it has been announced.

Chris Bowen, Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, said that Australia and Greece shared a strong and rich relationship based on firm community ties.‘A work and holiday arrangement recognises the strength of these connections and will further enhance our cultural links between the two countries,’ he explained.

The arrangement would allow young Greeks and Australians aged 18 to 30 years old to enjoy an extended holiday in the guest country.

Participants would be able to stay for up to 12 months and engage in short term work and study during that time. The programme would have an annual cap on visa numbers.

‘Negotiating a work and holiday arrangement, which must be reciprocal and agreeable to both governments, can take time to finalise and implement, ‘Bowen said.

‘While we recognise the level of enthusiasm by both Greeks and Australians around a successful outcome, we must ensure all key stakeholders are consulted and the necessary administrative arrangements are in place,’ he pointed out.

‘This is a significant step, and I would like to thank the Members of Parliament, community leaders and Greek Orthodox community organisations across the country who have spoken to me about such an arrangement,’ he added.

Greeks are the seventh largest ethnic group in Australia, according to census data, and recently there has been an increase in the number of Greeks seeking visas to live and work in the country due to the dire economic conditions in Greece.

Several hundred Greeks have participated in seminars organized by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship to publicise possible employment opportunities in Australia for skilled workers.

The Australian Industrial Systems Institute has reported that numerous Greeks with visitor visas to Australia have visited their offices in Melbourne in order to inquire about employment opportunities in Australia. Trade courses, from carpentry to automotive technology, are offered by the institute to foreign students.

Argentina was the latest country to enter a reciprocal work and holiday visa arrangement with Australia, joining a number of other countries, including Bangladesh, Chile, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Thailand, Turkey and the United States.

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