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Requirements for work and travel visas for Australia, USA, Canada and New Zealand

Requirements for work and travel visas for Australia, USA, Canada and New Zealand

(Picture: Getty)

The thought of getting on a crowded train each morning and sitting in an office, watching the rain pour down outside, may be enough to make some Brits want to jump ship and live abroad.

Whether it’s sunny Australia or the stunning landscapes on offer in Canada, there are options for people to work and travel abroad, either for a few years or permanently.

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But the options out there can seem complicated and confusing, leaving many of us thinking it’s just impossible to find a way to escape the rain.

All’s not lost, however – here’s your guide to temporary and permanent visas in the most popular destinations abroad.

Australia

Working holiday visa

View of Four Mile Beach from Flagstaff Hill. Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia. (Picture: Lonely Planet Images/Getty)

If you’re between the ages of 18 and 30, you can apply for a working holiday visa. This allows people an extended stay in Australia, supplemented by work, for up to two years.

You have to meet certain conditions – such as having enough funds to support yourself when you first arrive, not working for more than six months with one employer, and not having a substantial criminal or medical background.

To extend your trip from 12 to 24 months, you’ll need to apply for a second working holiday visa.

Those eligible are people who have worked as ‘specified’ workers in regional Australia for three months. This means working in a primary industry, such as plant or animal cultivation, fishing, tree farming, mining and construction work.

More information can be found on the Australian Visa Bureau website.

Skilled temporary business visa – being sponsored by an employer

A surf guard looking towards the ocean at Bondi Beach, NSW, Australia (Picture: Getty)

The 457 visa is most commonly used by employers wishing to sponsor overseas workers to work in Australia on a temporary basis.

There are three steps involved – lodging an employer sponsorship application, lodging a business nomination, and lodging a visa application.

These visas are valid for four years, and you can have a secondary on it, which means that your spouse or partner can also live and work in Australia.

Skilled migration independent visa – living permanently in Australia

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Those wishing to live in Australia for good can apply for the permanent residency, or 189 visa.

This is designed for skilled workers who aren’t sponsored by an employer, and some 457 visa holders can switch to this visa if they don’t want to be held down by one company.

You must express your intent to work in a skilled occupation, as your application won’t be eligible otherwise. These areas can be found on the Australian Government website.

Other conditions include being under 50, being competent in spoken English and completing a skills points test.

For more information on travelling to Australia and visas, visit GOV.UK.

USA

Non-immigrant work visa – temporary employment

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Work visas are offered to those who have been given a specific offer of employment. A petition ne to be filed and approved by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services before applying for the visa at a US Embassy or Consulate.

Your spouse, partner or children under the age of 21 may be able to join you on a derivative visa.

The H-1B visa is designed for those performing specialised jobs, and the H-2B is for those with a temporary or seasonal job.

Visa duration depends on the length of your employment, and typically expires once your job contract is over.

There are visas available for a range of workers – for more information, visit the US Embassy website.

Residential visa – Green Card
The Statue of Liberty, New York (Picture: Getty)

Getting a residential visa to live in the US is commonly known as applying for a green card.

Those from the UK are most likely to get a green card from their family or job.

US immigration law allows US citizens to request for family members to live in the country, with eligible family members including spouses, unmarried children under 21 and parents if the citizen is over 21.

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The K non-immigrant visa allows a fast track for the fiance(e) and children of a permanent US citizen to be allowed residence.

If you receive an offer for permanent employment in the US, workers can obtain a labour certification and a form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker.

Some specialist jobs such as armed forces, broadcasters and international organisation employees allow for green cards, and investors or entrepreneurs who plan to create and maintain 10 permanent full time US jobs can apply based on intent to invest.

To see more ways to apply for a green card, visit the US Department of Homeland Security website.

Canada

International Experience Canada (IEC) – working holiday visa

Hiking in Algonquin Park, Ontario (Picture: Getty)

There are three travel and work experience options available under the IEC.

The open work permit is for those who don’t have a job offer, want to work for multiple employers and travel around.

For those with a job offer, working for the same employer in one location, the Young Professionals category allows applications under the employer-specific work permit.

This type of permit is also applicable to those who fall under the international co-op internship category, where students completing a placement or internship in Canada as part of their qualification can travel abroad to work there.

Those under 35 years of age are generally allowed to live and work in Canada for one or two years.

To find out more, visit the International Experience Canada website.

Permanent residence visas

Moraine Lake in Alberta, Canada (Picture: Getty)

There are several immigration visas available for those who want to move to Canada.

The skilled worker immigration programme is a points based system, where workers have to attain at least 67 points across areas such as education, English and French language ability, work experience and arranged employment.

A relative who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident can sponsor you in order to qualify for a family class sponsorship visa.

The provincial nominee programme allows provinces to nominate immigrants who will work in areas that meet economic and labour ne.

There are three classes of business immigration visa – those who are willing to be investors, entrepreneurs wishing to maintain a business in Canada and those who are self employed, working in desired areas.

For more information, visit the Overseas Emigration website.

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New Zealand

Working holiday visa

Tourist looking at Wanaka lake and Southern Alps from the top of Mt Roy at sunset, Wanaka, Otago region, New Zealand (Picture: Getty)

Young people between the age of 18 and 30 can apply for working holiday visas that allow them to travel and work in New Zealand for up to 23 months.

You will need to have a return ticket, or enough money to pay for one, to be eligible to travel abroad.

Other criteria includes having 350 New Zealand dollars available for each month of your stay, and you’ll be allowed to work for up to 12 months, and study or train for up to six months.

Those who have been working in the horticulture or viticulture (vineyard) industries for three months can apply for a working holiday extension work visa while in New Zealand.

Business and migrant visas

Kiwi sign on the road to Mount Ngauruhoe volcano (Mt Doom), Tongariro National Park, New Zealand (Picture: Getty)

The Silver Fern Job Search Work Visa is for highly skilled young people who want to live in New Zealand, but need to find long term skilled employment before applying for a residence visa. These visas last for nine months.

The Business Visitor Visa allows people to visit New Zealand for business purposes and study for up to three months.

The specific purpose work visa is for those visiting New Zealand for a particular event or job, with the visa expiring once this purpose is over.

The skilled migrant category resident visa is for those aged 55 or under who wish to live permanently in New Zealand. To be eligible, you need to prove you can contribute to the economic growth of the country by working in areas where there is a skills shortage.

To see which areas qualify, there is a long term skill shortage list and an immediate skill shortage list.

Those who are self employed don’t qualify, and will need to apply for an Entrepreneur Resident Visa instead. 

For more information on the visas available, visit the New Zealand immigration website.

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