Canada and Australia made an important decision recently to expand the age range provided in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Youth Mobility signed between the two countries. The amended MoU will enable young adults aged between 18 and 35 from Canada and Australia to work and travel in the other country through the International Experience Canada (IEC) programme. The upper age was earlier set at 31.
This is an ideal opportunity for young Canadians and working holiday makers to travel to Australia and vice versa. The Working Holiday Maker Scheme had been in existence for over 40 years and had proved to be a blessing for many. Working holidays have enabled many to gain life experiences, form cultural and other relationships and broaden their horizons and opportunities in life. The age extension is expected to expand these opportunities for many more.
Canada is the first country to which Australia has extended this age limit under its reciprocal Working Holiday Maker programmes. It has similar programmes with 41 countries. Cultural exchange and temporary work rights are also covered under the programme, so there could be more opportunities for labour in Australia. The new age limit will be applicable to both first and second Working Holiday visa applications and is expected to come into effect with the new IEC 2019 season from this autumn.
The scheme covers three categories:
- Working holiday makers, as described above
- Employer-specific work permits granted to International Co-op participants enabling students to gain experience in their field of study
- Employer-specific work permits granted to Young Professionals participants to gain targeted, professional work experience within their specific field of study or career.