Insight

Making sense of the numbers - unravelling working holiday visas

In the April 2017 issue of Making Sense of the Numbers, TIA Insight Specialist Steve Riley unravels working holiday visas. Such schemes provide a valuable source of labour for tourism industry operators, especially those looking to fill seasonal or temporary resource requirements.

Background

The tourism industry benefits from New Zealand having working holiday visas (WHVs) agreements in place with more than 40 countries. This includes working holiday arrangements with some of our major international visitor markets, such as the USA and the UK. They are also likely to have positive impacts on attracting travel by friends and relatives to also travel to New Zealand. Such schemes provide a valuable source of labour for tourism industry operators, especially those looking to fill seasonal or temporary resource requirements.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), which includes Immigration New Zealand (INZ), work together to provide advice to Ministers on potential new WHVs schemes or expanding existing schemes. They take into account the government's trade and foreign relations priorities, as well as impacts on New Zealand's labour market to negotiate the details of schemes with the partner countries.

INZ establishes and manages the schemes. Participants receive open work visas, with specific conditions as applicable. These can involve restrictions on the total length of time spent working or studying, or that a holder can work for only one employer.

Working Holiday Visa Arrangement By Country

Working holiday visas are available to those in the 18 to 30 age group although this is extended up to 35 year olds for a few countries. As Table 1 illustrates, this extended working holiday visa is available to residents from Hungary, Slovakia, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Canada and Finland. 

The visa allows the holder to travel and work in New Zealand for up to 12 months. This is extended to 23 months for UK and Canadian residents.  Table 1 shows that working holiday visas are only available for six months for residents from Malaysia, Austria and Singapore.

Working holiday visas are categorised as capped and uncapped. Capped working holidays are issued to residents of countries that have a quota arrangement  while uncapped are issued to residents from countries with an arrangement of unlimited working holiday visas. 

Download the full article.