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Working Holiday Guide

The Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia.

Working Holiday Gap Year Guide

Spend a gap year living your dream life abroad

A working holiday abroad is the ultimate chance to be the architect of your future.

There are numerous destinations available for you to chase your own goals and become the mastermind of the next stage of your life.

Regardless of your passion, you can find somewhere, or something, for you.

Explore that childhood passion, or follow that pipe dream idea through a gap year.

By having a gap year (or more), you have the ultimate flexibility in growing into your new area. Whether you want to go with the flow, or base up and save, working holidays allow you to create the road map.

Hit that ski slope, or explore the untrodden hills. Take that next step on your career, or meet best friends for life in a small little farm town. Working abroad is your vehicle to do just that.

Gap years are for those who want to see past the horizon.

Work Type: Various
Various Visa Requirements
Age Requirement: 18-30 (Singapore 18-25)
Length of Stay: Various
Destinations: Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea
Timeframe: All Year

Working Holiday Visa Countries for UK Applicants

A working holiday visa will allow you to spend time working abroad on a gap year, allowing you to explore the country of your dreams.

Depending on your nationality and which country you wish to visit, the visa process (and availability) could be very different. If you are not a UK applicant, it is important to look on the relevant country's immigration website, which will explain the relationship with your country and the visa criteria (if available).

Although the UK does not have a reciprocal working holiday visa relationship with every country, it has an extensive amount in comparison to other countries.

Each of these processes and criteria are slightly different depending on the destination country, so we've put together a brief guide on the working holiday visas that are available for UK applicants.

The below information is a general guide to the various working holiday visas available to UK applicants. Please ensure you thoroughly read through the direct and relevant immigration website, to ensure that you have all the information and meet the required criteria.

The Sydney Opera House, Australia, in the evening.

Australia Working Holiday Visa (Subclass 417)

One of the most popular working holiday visas in the world, 'the Land Down Under' has long provided a huge amount of opportunity for those on a gap year, with a huge range of hospitality, resort, tourist, office and labour work available for those who visit.

It is also home to some of the most popular bucket list items in the world, from the Sydney Harbour Bridge, to the Great Barrier Reef.

Spend an incredible working holiday gap year in places like Queenstown, New Zealand.

New Zealand Working Holiday Visa

'Aotearoa' (the Maori name for New Zealand) is a hugely popular gap year destination and is one of the most incredibly picturesque countries in the world.

Two islands of absolute beauty provides loads of opportunity whilst on your gap year, with people from all around the world flying in for their famous ski seasons.

  • Age Limit: 18-30
  • Capped No. of Visas?: No.
  • Criteria: Eligible passport, no accompanying dependent children, must have at least NZD$350 per month of intended stay, proof of onward travel out of NZ or funds to do so, medical check (if applying for 2 year visa)
  • Cost: Approx NZD$280 (for one year visa)
  • Length of Stay: 12 months (can also apply for a 2 year visa)
  • Processing Time: 90% within 33 days (although most are much sooner)
  • Direct Link to Official Site: https://www.immigration.govt.nz/new-zealand-visas/apply-for-a-visa/about-visa/united-kingdom-working-holiday-visa
Lake Alberta, Banff, Canada.

Canada IEC Working Holiday Visa

With dreamy landscapes and natural beauty everywhere, it's easy to see why Canada is a hugely sought after working holiday visa.

Due to it's immense pull, the current arrangement with the UK government means that there is a cap on the number in visas. So if you want to shred the likes of Big White for a ski season, plan in advance.

Complete a working holiday gap year in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Working Holiday Visa

One of the financial powerhouse cities in the world, Hong Kong can be an incredible working holiday that has a huge affect on your career.

It also provides a range of scenery to explore and can act as the perfect gateway into the rest of Asia.

Complete a working holiday 6 months in Singapore.

Singapore Working Holiday Visa

The island city state of Singapore can be found in South East Asia and is a gateway into all of Asia.

It has an incredibly powerful financial sector (as well as some of the most iconic tourist spots in the world) and many expats can be found working here, alongside working holiday workers. However, these visas are purely for eligible students or graduates, so make sure you check if you qualify.

Work a gap year in Japan.

Japan Working Holiday Visa

Known as the "Land of the Rising Sun", Japan is steeped in culture and history, making it an incredible opportunity to immerse yourself in a new culture.

It's also well known for it's incredible skiing, meaning you can season hop between countries if you want to keep getting fresh pow.

  • Age Limit: 18-30
  • Capped No. of Visas?: No.
  • Criteria: Eligible passport, no accompanying dependent children, proof of onwards travel or funds to cover, possess reasonable funds to cover stay, health insurance
  • Cost: £21
  • Length of Stay: 12 months
  • Processing Time: Varying
  • Direct Link to Official Site: https://www.uk.emb-japan.go.jp/itpren/index000072.html
Seoul is just one of the South Korean cities that you could work your gap year in.

South Korea Working Holiday Visa

South Korea is one of the most technological advanced countries in the world, frequently inspiring innovation.

But it's also a sporting, tourist and cultural hub, with loads of opportunities for those on a working holiday visa.

  • Age Limit: 18-30
  • Capped No. of Visas?: No.
  • Criteria: Eligible passport, no accompanying dependent children, proof of onwards travel or funds to cover, possess reasonable funds to cover stay of +£1500, health insurance, criminal background check, medical certificate, specific job roles only
  • Cost: Approx £200
  • Length of Stay: 12 months
  • Processing Time: Varying
  • Direct Link to Official Site: http://overseas.mofa.go.kr/gb-en/brd/m_20265/view.do?seq=679361

Why Should I Work a Gap Year Working Holiday Abroad?

Immerse yourself in a new culture

A working holiday gap year allows you between 6-24 months immersing yourself in a culture completely different to your own.

New environments, new foods and even new languages will become part of the norm and you'll grow from these incredible experiences.

You decide your direction

Life is your canvas. You control and create your image, so whatever you wish to do with your gap year, you've got the freedom to do so.

A working holiday offers completely flexibility, where you can decide how you balance your work and travel. Use your previous experience, or try something new; you control your future.

Can spend up to a year away (or even more)

One of the huge benefits of working holiday visas is that, in general, you get a year away in a country you've always dreamed of visiting.

This means you can build a longer term plan in enjoying your time away. Whether you want to build your career, or to work for 6 months and then travel, you have the absolute freedom (and time) to do it.

Earn at least minimum wage

As you're negotiating your own wage, in a role that you've secured yourself, the sky is the limit for you.

You can look at whichever roles you want, in whichever industry you feel the most comfortable in. So not only are you forwarding your chosen career, but you'll be able to save and build as you do.

Explore countries in a deeper way

With 52 weeks (and weekends) or more, you will have time to explore a country like very few other travellers have.

Not only will you tick off bucket list items, but you'll discover the hidden gems and local delights that passing tourists may miss. Before long, you'll be living like a local.

Make incredible memories

Living abroad for a year is a once in a lifetime trip, where you will experience moments that very few have.

Whether your ideal weekend is the beach or the ski slopes, you'll be making your dreams a reality each day. The things you do with the people you meet will live with you forever and will be the source of an infinite number of stories.

Frequently Asked Working Holiday Questions

What is a working holiday?

A working holiday allows you to delve deeper into a country and spend a gap year (sometimes even more) on a specific visa.

As you have much longer, you can delve into everything that makes the country unique. You'll get to experience the perfect combination of what travellers see and what the locals see.

You'll become part of the working community and get to know your new home the way the locals know theirs. But you can then go above and beyond and tick off some of the most incredible sights the country has to offer in your spare time.

You'll earn and work. But that means you'll be able to enjoy and travel even further.

How does a working holiday work?

Working holidays are only possible through countries have exchange partnerships and allowing young adults to travel on working holidays.

These visas allow you to enter the country and work for a certain amount of time, if you meet the specified visa criteria. This is applied for in advance and if granted, means you can work, earn and travel for a gap year (or sometimes even more).

It gives you the right to rent, open bank accounts and everything expected by a normal resident, with only slight variations based on the duration you're in the country.

How do I get a job on a gap year?

The beauty of a gap year is that you decide your path.

Whether you want to follow your career and use your prior experience, or try something completely new, the decision is yours.

Many use gap years to follow their passions, or to push themselves to achieve something they never thought they could.

There's loads of different avenues to search once you know what you'd like to do. Major recruiters have their own online application areas, whereas each country will have job sites and boards for you to apply through.

What is a career gap year?

A career gap year is living the 'gap year lifestyle', but whilst still following your chosen career path.

A great example would be those looking at wanting to follow an outdoor education career. There are numerous roles around the world which will actually contribute to furthering your CV, such as working in a summer camp in America/China/Canada, or becoming a ski instructor in New Zealand.

Another example may be if you want to move into the financial sector, then instead of going straight into a graduate career, you may look at a gap year working holiday in Hong Kong or Singapore.

Your time away will strengthen your background and skillset, meaning you'll go home with a stronger position, ready to seize your next career step.

Do you have to work on a working holiday visa?

Simply; no.

You could save, save, save, and then use your time on your working holiday visa to just travel wherever you wish. There's absolutely nothing tying you into having to work.

Yet most will secure a gap year job abroad to experience the full gap year lifestyle. You'll meet new people, make new friends, develop skills and live like a local, all whilst creating memories that will last a lifetime.

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