A Guide to Working Holiday Visas

Posted on Mar 19, 2019 | 0 comments

A Guide to Working Holiday Visas

It’s a common dilemma: young people have the independence and freedom to travel the world, but often lack the funds to make it happen. If you are a young(-ish) person interested in getting a taste of traveling and working in another country, a global program might provide an easy way to get started.

A working holiday visa is a residence permit allowing travelers to undertake employment (and sometimes study) in the country issuing the visa to supplement their travel funds. For many, holding a working holiday visa enables them to experience living in a foreign country without undergoing the usual costly expenses of finding work sponsorship in advance or going on expensive university exchange programs.


Most working holiday visas are offered under reciprocal agreements between countries to encourage travel and cultural exchange between their citizens. In addition to helping fund young travelers, this program gives the opportunity to dig into a new culture and get to know another country from a local perspective.

There are restrictions on this type of visa:

  • Many are intended for young travelers and have an age restriction (usually from 18 to 30 or 35).
  • There are usually limits on the type of employment that can be taken or the length of time the traveler can be employed.
  • The visa holder is expected to have sufficient funds to live on while employment is sought; some countries require verification of funds.
  • Most countries require the visa holder to have some kind of health or travel insurance for the duration of the stay.


Programs can vary widely and frequently change. For example, starting in 2019, there is a new reciprocal working holiday scheme between the countries of Argentina and South Korea. This program interacts with various programs like SWAP in Canada that encourage international working and cultural experiences for young people. Some countries have very limited offerings (Russia extends a four-month visa only to residents of France), while others are much more flexible (New Zealand extends outreach to 44 countries for periods of up to 24 months).  


Some programs dictate the types of employment that are permissible. Common options are in  tourism and hospitality, retail work, and seasonal industries.  Even if available employment doesn’t correspond directly to your preferred professional field, many employers view this experience as proof of initiative, flexibility, and adaptability.  


This 2019 list gives an overview of working holiday visas by country. Rules can change,so be prepared to follow up with your own research.


Looking for Information on Making Your Career Move?

If you are looking for support to work in another country, Passport Career can help: we offer detailed, insider reports about all aspects of working and living in specific countries and cities. If your corporation, organization, embassy, university/college, library, or other institution would like access to our country portfolios to share with your students, employees, spouses/partners, and others managing a national or international career transition, please click here to contact us (or send email to::global@passportcareer.com) regarding a free, live, online demo and details on how to obtain a license to access Passport Career . For individual access, please contact us for more details at global@passportcareer.com.

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