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Australia Announces Working Holiday Visa Lottery for China, India & Vietnam

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In a significant shift for temporary migration, the Australian government has announced a lottery system for working holiday visas for citizens of China, India and Vietnam. This marks the second time Australia has used a lottery system for visa allocation.

What Is a Working Holiday Visa?

A working holiday visa allows young adults from eligible countries to travel and work in Australia for an extended period, typically up to a year. This visa promotes cultural exchange and tourism by enabling participants to fund their travels through short-term employment. It is popular among backpackers seeking to explore Australia while earning money.

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Visa Lottery for China, India, and Vietnam

What’s Changing?

1. From First-Come, First-Served to Lottery: Previously, working holiday visas were allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, leading to a mad scramble for applications. The lottery system aims for a fairer and more streamlined process for high-demand countries.

2. Application Fee: Applicants from China, India and Vietnam will pay a $25 application fee to enter the lottery for a limited number of visas starting July 2024.

Also Read: Australia Launches Innovation Visa Program, Ending Golden Visas

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Country-Specific Visa Caps and Lottery

Vietnam will have a cap of 1,500 visas, having already closed applications for this financial year after receiving 2,467 entries before April. India will join the working holiday program later this year with a cap of 1,000 visas.

China, which saw applications surpass the 5,000-visa cap annually from 2015 to 2019, experienced a drop to 4,573 in 2022-23. Applications from China have been suspended this financial year due to overwhelming interest, leaving many hopeful applicants’ submissions marked as “expired.”

Must Read: Australia Unveils New Program for Indian Graduates to Work and Live

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Why the Change?

Managing High Demand: Demand for working holiday visas from China, India and Vietnam has consistently exceeded available spots. The lottery system aims to ensure a fairer chance for all applicants from these countries.

Vietnam’s Case in Point: Vietnam has already closed applications for the current financial year due to overwhelming demand (2,467 applications vs a cap of 1,500).

Lottery vs. Traditional System

While the lottery system offers a more equitable approach, it also raises concerns:

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Uncertainty and Anxiety: Applicants may experience higher levels of anxiety compared to the previous system, not knowing their application status until the lottery draw.

Thailand as an Example: Other high-demand countries like Thailand (receiving 2,612 applications for a 2,000 cap) haven’t been shifted to a lottery system yet. This raises questions about the selection criteria for the lottery approach.

Australia’s Migration Landscape in Flux

The visa lottery system is part of a broader government effort to reduce net overseas migration. This aligns with other recent changes, such as tighter student visa regulations.

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Also Read: Moving to Australia? TOEFL iBT Scores Now Valid for Visa Applications Again

Bright Spot for India

However, the news isn’t all about restrictions. India’s inclusion in the working holiday program and the new “Mates” visa scheme for young professionals (also allocated by lottery) signal Australia’s strengthening ties with India.

The Road Ahead

The success of the lottery system will depend on its effectiveness in managing demand while minimizing applicant anxiety. Only time will tell if this approach strikes the right balance for Australia’s temporary migration landscape.

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