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Hong Kong and United Kingdom announce establishment of Working Holiday Scheme (with photos)

     Hong Kong and the United Kingdom (UK) today (December 12) announced the establishment of a bilateral Working Holiday Scheme for young people of the two places. The scheme will commence on January 1, 2014.

     The announcement was made at a meeting between Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, and the British Consul General to Hong Kong and Macao, Ms Caroline Wilson, at Central Government Offices, Tamar.

     Mr Cheung welcomed the establishment of the scheme. "The UK is one of the popular tourist destinations for Hong Kong people. The arrangement will further strengthen bilateral ties between the two places," he said.

     The scheme with the UK is the ninth bilateral working holiday scheme 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, Korea and France. The objective in setting up a working holiday scheme is to provide an opportunity for young people of both sides to broaden their horizons and to gain living and working experience while travelling. So far, more than 30 000 Hong Kong youngsters have benefited from the above eight schemes.

     Under the current agreement, youths from Hong Kong can apply for a visa under the UK's Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS), which will allow them to stay in the UK for up to two years. During this period, they can take up employment to finance their stay, study self-financed courses or participate in volunteer services. There will be a quota of 1 000 for HKSAR passport holders every year. Holders of British National (Overseas) (BN(O))passport will not be subject to any quota.

     Youths from the UK can apply for a Working Holiday Scheme visa, which would allow them to stay in Hong Kong for up to 12 months. During this period, they may work to finance their stay or study self-financed courses. There will be an annual quota of 1 000.

     The Hong Kong Immigration Department will issue a Working Holiday Scheme visa to a successful applicant from UK, while the British Consulate General in Hong Kong will issue a Youth Mobility Scheme visa to a successful applicant from Hong Kong who meets the following eligibility criteria:

* The applicant from the UK must be British citizen holding a valid British citizen passport, while an applicant from Hong Kong must be an ordinary resident of Hong Kong possessing a valid HKSAR passport or BN(O) passport;

* The applicant must be aged between 18 and 30;

* 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/her maintenance during the period of initial stay in UK or Hong Kong; and

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

     In addition to meeting the aforementioned criteria, HKSAR passport holders must possess a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). Details on obtaining the CoS can be found on the Labour Department's website: Further information on the YMS, including eligibility criteria for Hong Kong applicants can be found on the UK Visas and Immigration website: HKSAR passport holders will be given further information on how to make a visa application in Hong Kong once they have been granted a CoS. Applicants from the UK may contact the Hong Kong Immigration Department by telephone on 2824 6111 or download the necessary information from the Department's website

Ends/Thursday, December 12, 2013
Issued at HKT 15:25


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