Immigration experts in Australia and NZ

Upgrade to the NZ/UK Working Holiday Scheme

From 1 July 2023, updates to the Working Holiday/Youth Mobility Scheme will allow more UK and New Zealand citizens to travel and work in each other’s countries for longer.

Currently, the UK Working Holiday Scheme (WHS) allows young citizens of the UK aged between 18-30 to travel to New Zealand and stay for up to 23 months, and work for up to 12 months.

The Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS) allows young citizens of New Zealand aged between 18-30 to live and work in the UK for up to 2 years.

In July 2022, the UK and New Zealand Prime Ministers first announced the planned updates to the WHS and the Youth Mobility Scheme for New Zealanders in the UK.

The updates are a positive development for the Kiwis and Brits wanting to work and explore the other side of the world, as well as for the businesses who hire them.


What is changing?

From 1 July 2023:

  • The age of eligibility for both schemes will be extended to 5 years from 30 to 35 years.
  • The maximum period of time individuals can stay in New Zealand and the UK respectively will be extended from 2 years (or 23 months in the case of New Zealand) to 3 years.
  • the length of time individuals can work will be extended, allowing those in the UK and New Zealand respectively to work for the full duration of their 3-year stay.
  • New Zealand will re-establish an annual cap for the UK WHS to be set at 15,000 visas per year – this is higher than the volume of UK WHS visas we normally grant, allowing for interest and growth in the scheme.


Current WHS visa holders

To help ease the transition to the new enhanced scheme, current eligible Youth Mobility and Working Holiday visa holders will be able to apply for an extension enabling them to stay in either the UK or New Zealand for 3 years and work for the remainder of their stay.

British nationals seeking to stay in New Zealand for 12 months or longer will need to provide health certificates. Those seeking to stay for 24 months or longer will need to provide both health and police certificates.


For any questions regarding this update, compliance concerns, or any further immigration matters, please contact Arno Nothnagel, our NZ Immigration Director, here

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