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Hong Kong signs working holiday agreement with France (with photos)

     Hong Kong and France today (May 6) signed an agreement to mark the establishment of a bilateral working holiday scheme to benefit young people of the two places from July 1, 2013.

     The agreement was signed by the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of France, Mr Laurent Fabius, at Government House in the presence of the Chief Executive, Mr C Y Leung, and a delegation from France.

     The agreement provides an opportunity for young people in Hong Kong and France to broaden their horizons and to gain living and working experience while they are travelling. It will also further reinforce the long-standing bilateral ties between Hong Kong and France.

     Under the scheme, 200 participants from each side each year will be allowed to stay up to 12 months in France or Hong Kong for holiday and take up employment to finance their stay.

     "The scheme with France is the eighth bilateral working holiday scheme that Hong Kong has set up with other places. Since 2001, Hong Kong has established bilateral working holiday schemes with New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, Germany, Japan, Canada and Korea. So far, about 30 000 youngsters from Hong Kong and other partner countries have benefited from participating in the schemes," Mr Cheung said.

     The Hong Kong Immigration Department or Consulate General of France in Hong Kong and Macau will issue a working holiday visa to a successful applicant from France or Hong Kong respectively who meets the following eligibility criteria, among others:

* The applicant must be a French citizen holding a valid French passport, or an ordinary resident of Hong Kong possessing a valid Hong Kong Special Administrative Region passport or British National (Overseas) passport, who is aged between 18 and 30 and intends primarily to holiday in France or Hong Kong for a specified period of not more than one year;

* The applicant must not be accompanied by dependent family members;

* The applicant must possess a departure ticket or sufficient funds to purchase such a ticket, and sufficient funds for his or her maintenance during the period of initial stay in France or Hong Kong; and

* The applicant must hold insurance for medical and health care for the duration of stay.

     Details on visa application procedures for Hong Kong applicants can be found via the website of the Consulate General of France in Hong Kong and Macau at French applicants may contact the Hong Kong Immigration Department by telephone on 2824 6111 or download the necessary information from the department's website

Ends/Monday, May 6, 2013
Issued at HKT 18:26


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