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IND announces imminent changes to working holiday visas

21 July 2003

The RCVS has been made aware that some major changes to working holiday visas will come into effect shortly. These changes, announced by the Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) and detailed below, may be of interest to veterinary employers, those members currently on working holidays and those who wish to avail themselves of the scheme:

  • the scheme will continue to operate as a Commonwealth-only scheme;

  • the maximum age criterion is to be increased from 27 to 30;

  • working holidaymakers are permitted to take up work in any sector, for as long as they want on a full-time basis while in the UK on the scheme, and with no restrictions on time spent with one employer;

  • switching into work permit employment is permitted once a working holidaymaker has been in the UK for over a year;

  • those who are already in the UK as working holidaymakers should be able to take advantage of the benefits of a revised scheme;

  • the scheme remains of two years' duration with only one visa issued in a lifetime of any applicant.

Those already in the UK as working holidaymakers will be allowed to benefit from the proposed changes to the scheme with immediate effect. The changes will become effective for all new applicants from 25 August 2003.

The increased age limit and length of time that individuals will be able to work could have a major impact on available veterinary employment by increasing the number of veterinary surgeons potentially eligible to work in the UK under the scheme.

Members holding a current working holiday visa will be allowed to work full-time for two years instead of one, in effect doubling the number currently practising under the scheme. Those who have been working full time for over a year will now be allowed to switch work permit employment under a less complicated process than the previous one.


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