The age limit for young people from Ireland and Canada who want to spend a year working and travelling in Australia has been increased to 35 years, it has been announced.

Previously those wishing to benefit from the Working Holiday visa programme had to be aged 30 years or under.

Ireland and Canada

(By Aleksandar Mijatovic/​

Immigration Minister David Coleman also announced that the age limit is reciprocal so the age for Australians wishing to take a working holiday in Canada and Ireland also rises from 30 to 35.

Coleman said that these arrangements will strengthen Australia's close and long standing ties with Canada and Ireland.

'Both Canada and Ireland have been part of Australia's Working Holiday Maker programme since it began in 1975, so it is fitting that they are the first countries to become eligible for the extended age range,' he pointed out.

He indicated that this paves the way for new adjustments for other nations in terms of reciprocal working holiday visas.

He also pointed out that last year more than 16,000 citizens from Canada and Ireland were granted Working Holiday visas for Australia, with many of them living and working in regional and rural areas during their stay.

The Immigration department, which is currently looking at ways of getting more global applicants for skilled work visas to move to regional Australia and those with working holiday visas can stay for a second year if they spend time working in regional areas.

'Australia's Working Holiday Maker program has important social and economic benefits for Australia and is a vehicle for cultural exchange between participating countries,' Coleman added.

Figures from Ireland show that since the Working Holiday Programme began in 1975, it is estimated that more than 275,000 young Irish people have spent up to two years in Australia under this scheme. In 2017 alone, some 8,653 working holiday visas were issued.

But fewer Irish people are moving to Australia. In the 12 months to April 2017, just 5,300 people moved from Ireland to Australia, according to the Central Statistics Office, just over a third of the total in 2012, when numbers peaked at 17,400.