Australia invites 16 million Britons to work ‘down under’ after extending working holiday visa age limit

The Twelve Apostles, a collection of limestone stacks off the coast of Victoria (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
The Twelve Apostles, a collection of limestone stacks off the coast of Victoria (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Millions more Brits will be able to fulfil their dream of living and working Down Under as Australia prepares to raise the age limit of working holiday visas to 35.

The long-planned changes, which comes into effect tomorrow (1 July), ups the original limit by five years, meaning 16 million more Britons are eligible.

It was an important part of the free trade agreement struck between Australia and the UK last year, which also makes it easier for Australians to work and travel across Britain.

Further changes to the working holiday visa are will be seen this time next year, as from 1 July 2024, Britons will be able to apply to live and work in Australia for up to three years without any specified work requirements – lifting the long-held rule that meant British working holidaymakers had to complete 88 days of agricultural labour for every year they wished to stay on.

The three-year allowance does not have to be consecutive and can be taken at any time up until the age of 35.

More than 35,000 British people head to Australia on working holiday visas, and according to new research from Tourism Australia, 45 per cent of adults aged 25–34 regret not taking a gap year when they had the chance.

“This five-year age range increase presents a world of openings to these young professionals,” said Sally Cope, Tourism Australia’s regional general manager for the UK and Northern Europe said.

“And whilst the opportunities are endless, Australia also offers an incredible lifestyle – where else can you be in the boardroom at 4pm and by the beach an hour later? We’re sure there are many 30–35-year-olds who thought they had missed their chance to live and work Down Under who will jump at this exciting prospect; and Australia is ready to welcome them.”

Two of Australia’s major cities – Melbourne and Sydney – were recently named among the top five best cities in the world for quality of life.