Could the ever popular working holiday visa to the UK be a thing of the past for the youth of South Africa?
A long time favourite destination for young ‘Saffas’ looking to expand their horizons or travel Europe, the UK has announced significant tightening of its immigration policy. In the biggest shake up of policy in over 40 years, the UK has adopted Australia’s highly successful points based system for migration.
Included in the new 5-tier immigration system is the abolishment of several visa types over the next 6 months. Both the working holiday visa and au-pair visa will be deleted during the latter stages of 2008. Approximately 17,000 South Africans enter the UK each year under the working holiday visa alone. The direct replacement for these two visas is the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme. The concern is that Tier 5 visas will not be available to citizens of South Africa.
Although not yet confirmed, it is believed that unless there are reciprocal agreements in place for young Brits to take a working holiday in South Africa, this highly popular visa will no longer be an option for young Saffas. Further to this, all applicants for a Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme visa require a sponsor; with this particular visa, the sponsor is actually the applicants’ national government. It is unlikely the South African government will become an approved sponsor.
1st Contact Visas recommend that if you are planning to travel to the UK within the next 6 months to contact them to apply for your working holiday visa now, whilst it is still available. There are other options for employment type visas to the UK; for example the Tier 1 visa for skilled, qualified migrants, Ancestry visas for those with a grandparent born in the UK and Partner/Spousal visas if you are the partner or spouse of a UK or EU citizen.
The official announcement regarding Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme by the UK Border Agency is due by the end of the southern hemisphere winter.
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1st Contact Visas offers visa and immigration services to highly skilled migrants applying to live and work in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.