Australia is marketing itself as an attractive work and holiday destination for Chinese nationals following the creation of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA).
The Australian Embassy in China said Australia would grant up to 5,000 work and holiday visas to Chinese nationals between the ages of 18 and 31 each year. The visas would allow Chinese nationals to visit Australia for up to 12 months and work for up to six months during that time.
Australia is the second country to offer such a visa after New Zealand, which offers 1,000 work and holiday visas each year.
The Australian government said the addition of China to its work and holiday program will support the country’s fast-growing tourism sector and inspire job growth in rural areas, where many Australian firms will be encouraged to employ young Chinese nationals.
Specific terms and conditions have yet to be announced. The Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection will announce the legal and administrative procedures before applicants can apply for the new visas.
Some Chinese websites in Australia have been encouraging Chinese students to spend a gap year touring in Australia.
“I work for food and accommodations. It’s normal for students holding a work and holiday visa,” said a woman from Heilongjiang province who is in New Zealand on a similar visa.
In New Zealand, the minimum hourly wage is 68 yuan. By working eight hours a day and five days a week, it’s easy to earn enough money to support oneself. A week’s rent costs about as much as a day’s pay, she said.
“My English skills improved a lot this year even though I didn’t take any language classes. More importantly, I applied for a local university and successfully turned my work and holiday visa into a student visa,” she said.
The work and holiday visa program would be a new option for young adults seeking a different life experience abroad.