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UK's popular working holiday and au-pair visas on their way out

Working holidays in the UK could be a thing of the past for South Africa's youth.

In the biggest shake up of immigration policy in over 40 years, the UK has adopted Australia's highly successful points-based system for migration. Part of this new 5-tier immigration system involves the abolishment of several visa types over the next 6 months.

Both the working holiday and au-pair visas will be terminated from November 2008, says immigration firm 1st Contact Visas (

About 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. However, there is a concern that the Tier 5 visas will not be available to citizens of South Africa.

Although not yet confirmed, the firm 1st Contact Visas said, unless there are reciprocal agreements in place for young Brits to take working holidays in South Africa, this highly popular visa will no longer be an option for young South Africans.

What is more, all applicants for a Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme visa requires an applicant's national government to act as his/her sponsor. Sadly, it is unlikely the South African government will become an approved sponsor due to the country's high unemployment rate and other social factors, the firm said.

Other options for employment-type visas to the UK are available. The Tier 1 visa is an option available for skilled, qualified migrants, while the Ancestry visa can be used for those with a grandparent born in the UK.

Lastly, partner/spousal visas are an option if you are the partner or spouse of a UK or EU citizen. The official announcement regarding the countries participating in the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme is due by the end of the southern hemisphere winter.
10.7.08 13:58


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