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More generous Youth Mobility visas for New Zealanders


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People from New Zealand are in line for more generous Youth Mobility visas, the Home Office has announced. Kiwis will be eligible up to the age of 35 — rather than 30 for other nationalities — and be able to stay in the UK for three years rather than two. The same will apply for British people looking to go to New Zealand on a Working Holiday visa. The rules have not yet changed; “more information… will be provided next year”.

Youth Mobility visas used to be straightforward, in the sense that the rules were the same for all eligible nationalities. More recently, there has been divergence, with Indian citizens in particular subject to “country-specific eligibility requirements” when the scheme was opened to them. The announcement that terms and conditions will vary for New Zealanders follows a similar agreement in respect of Australians, who are also being allowed to get the visa at a more advanced age and stay for an extra year. Again, that is not yet in force.

Last year, only 640 Youth Mobility visas were issued to New Zealanders (8% of the total), but that is a distinctly pandemic-y number: in previous years the average was six times that figure. Over 700 were granted in the first quarter of 2022 alone (21% of the total), suggesting that a recovery to pre-COVID levels is underway.

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CJ McKinney

CJ McKinney is a specialist on immigration law and policy. Formerly the editor of Free Movement, you will find a lot of articles by CJ here on this website! Twitter: @mckinneytweets.