Australia pauses working holiday visas, lottery-style bids from 2025

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Australia has suspended its working holiday visa program for Chinese citizens, ahead of changes which will see applicants from certain countries compete for a limited number of spaces.

Citizens from China — along with Vietnam and India — will need to take part in lottery-style bids for the working holiday visa program starting in the fiscal year ending June 2025, a spokesperson for Australia’s Department of Home Affairs said in a statement.

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The intake of Chinese applicants in the current fiscal year has been “paused” while the changes are being put in place, the spokesperson added. The application process is expected to restart later in 2024.

Under Australia’s working holiday visa, people aged 18 to 30 years old can make longer-than-normal visits to the country and work to fund their stays.

The initial visa runs for 12 months, but can be extended for a second or third year under certain conditions.

Australia offers 5,000 such places each year to Chinese citizens, under a previous free trade agreement struck by the two countries.

But demand for the visa class was expected to “substantially” exceeded availability going forward, the home affairs spokesperson said.

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