Changes to the UK Working Holiday Visa

As part of the new five year strategy for immigration and asylum announced on 07 February 2005, changes have been made to the Working Holidaymaker Scheme.

The main changes are that a working holidaymaker:

  • Should now intend only to take employment incidental to a holiday, and not to engage in business, or to provide services as a professional sportsperson, and in any event not to work for more than 12 months during their stay; and
  • Is a national or citizen of a Commonwealth country, except for Lesotho, or a British Overseas Citizen; a British Overseas Territories Citizen; or a British National (Overseas); and
  • May now only switch into employment in the following categories: Innovators, Highly Skilled Migrant Programme or Work Permit employment, if the occupation is on the list of designated shortage occupations maintained by Work Permits (UK).

An amendment to the existing Immigration Rules has been made from the 08 February 2005. The first two changes will become effective for all working holidaymakers whose entry clearance was obtained on or after the 08 February 2005. All working holidaymakers who obtained entry clearance prior to the 08 February will be able to work as a working holidaymaker under the previous rules and conditions.

The amendment in relation to switching will become effective for all in-country further leave to remain applications which have been submitted on or after 08 February, regardless of when the working holidaymaker obtained entry clearance.

As a transitional arrangement, all work permit applications submitted prior to the 08 February for which a subsequent FLR(IED) application has yet to be made, or decided, will still be considered under the pre 08 February Immigration Rules.

This also means that any working holidaymaker for whom a work permit application is received on or after 08 February will now only be allowed to switch into work permit employment if they have been in the UK for at least 12 months, as a working holidaymaker, and the vacancy is one listed on the work permit shortage occupation list.