Greece ready to sign working holiday agreement with Australia

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To date, Australia’s Working Holiday visa makes people from 19 eligible countries to travel to Australia on a holiday with permission to work. But this group of countries may soon admit another one: Greece. The Hellenic Republic has expressed its interest to sign a working holiday visa agreement with Australia, following the signing of a similar agreement with Canada in May 2013 which allows working holidays for citizens in Greece and Canada.

The Working Holiday visa

To be able to visit a country for holiday with privilege to work is a rare opportunity, but Australia has long recognised this need with the Working Holiday scheme. This Australian visa targets young people aged 18 to 30 who want to visit the country for twelve months with the ability to supplement travel funds with part-time employment.

The Working Holiday visa allows holders to leave and re-enter Australia multiple times within the validity of the visa. Employment must only be available for up to six months per employer. Additionally, it is so beneficial because it comes with permission to study for four months.

Interest of the Greek government

Since August 2012, Australia and Greece have been negotiating a working holiday program agreement; the latter has shown intent in establishing this mutually beneficial visa scheme. Both governments have been ensuring that the agreement is agreeable to stakeholders consulted, and both are ensuring that administrative arrangements are in place.

“From now on, it’s an Australian issue—if Australia brings us the agreement, we will sign it,” says Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece Akis Gerontopoulos. The Greek government has twice expressed its intent for finality since June 2013. Despite this enthusiasm, the Hellenic party is also prepared to sign off the agreement if no response is received from Australia before September.

In addition, Mr. Stavros Lambrinidis, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Greece, said that Greek communities and organisations from different Australian cities have been communicating with relevant authorities regarding issues with migration and employment.

“The Department of Foreign Affairs has already begun talks with the responsible Australian Departments so that a reciprocal agreement can be drafted which would allow the movement of young people to Australia and New Zealand.”

Implications of the agreement

Once the agreement is final, 500 Greek and Australian nationals can become ambassadors of their own countries, especially in fostering cultural ties between them. These young individuals can enjoy the tourist-related offerings of the other country while being able to undertake employment in order to supplement funds for travel.

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