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Young people bailing out of Britain with Australian working holiday visas

5th November 2011 Print

In 2005-06 the number of Australian working holiday visas granted to young people from the UK was 28,281. In 2009–10 this figure stood at 37,056. Young British people apply for and are granted more working holiday visas for Australia than citizens of any other country.

So why do so many Brits want to head out to Oz on a working holiday visa? Well, Great Britain comes a measly 28th place in the UN’s Human Development Index, while Australia is ranked second. The countries on this list are indexed according to quality of life factors including life expectancy, education and standard of living. The quality of life in Australia is definitely perceived by young people to be attractive.

Add to this the fact that the youth unemployment rate in the UK is currently the highest on record, with almost one million young people aged 16 - 24 out of work. That’s nearly 20% youth unemployment. In Australia youth unemployment stands at 11.5%, with a low overall unemployment rate of just over 5%. So in Australia, as a young person you are more likely to find work, albeit temporary work if you have a working holiday visa. Then there is the weather, the lack of language barrier, and the feeling that Australia is more welcoming to young people than the UK. The Australian working holiday visa programme currently welcomes applicants from 19 different countries. The British version offers working holiday visas to young people from just 5 countries, one of which is Monaco.

Rebecca Jordan of work and travel gap year specialist website believes that "…as austerity measures in the UK bite, and a double dip recession looms, more and more young British people will be heading to countries like Australia and New Zealand for a year to work, travel and get work experience. We are definitely seeing an increase in enquiries from young people who just can’t find work or even decent work experience at home at the moment. You don't have to be a student or on a gap year to get a working holiday visa, you just have to be aged between 18-30, have enough cash behind you to cover your flights and a few months living expenses, and want to bail out of Britain!"