Young New Zealanders planning to take their big OE in the UK are finding it increasingly difficult to get visas and jobs, according to the founder of the International Working Holidays, the specialist overseas employment agency.
Vicki Kenny, IWH chief executive warns that the situation has worsened significantly over the past 18 months. She says: ` It used to be simple to get a UK visa, but these days if you make just one mistake the application will get sent back and you will have to reapply and pay another application fee. Since they don’t tell you what you have got wrong you might end up doing it all again and still have the application rejected. It’s a big risk if your flights are already booked and you get it wrong. A lot of kids choose bargain flights, which don’t allow refunds or date changes.’
A report from the Commonwealth Exchange in January pointed out that visa restrictions had cut the number of New Zealanders and Australians going to the UK, prompting British MPs to call for a better deal for Australasians.
Vicki Kenny explains: `About 18 months ago the UK changed the rules and made the visas harder to obtain. We get up to 10 questions a day about UK ancestry visas and working in Britain from young people wanting to go on the traditional OE. It seems that people can’t get that information from the British High Commission in New Zealand anymore because all the visa processing is now done off shore.
‘You really do need a specialist service these days. We’ve been doing this for so long, we know exactly what the UK immigration authorities are looking for. We fill out the form for our clients, which takes the stress out of it and have never had an application declined.’
IWH also helps arrange work and accommodation in the UK for young travellers from New Zealand, cutting out the uncertainty of arriving unprepared.
Vicki Kenny says: `We get a lot of young Kiwis who call us and say they’re in the UK and can’t get a job. We usually can’t help at that stage because they won’t have had a police check done and that takes time. The UK is barely out of recession so it’s hard to find a job there. It is even more difficult if you don’t have a job before you get there.
`It can easily cost £100 a day when you are in London looking for work. You soon eat through a lot of savings in the four or five weeks it may take to get a job. We can get them earning ASAP, maybe in a pub or as a nanny, and somewhere to stay, while they are looking for that ‘perfect’ job.’
Vicki Kenny, IWH: 027 670 9968
Peter Boyes, BPR: 0275 540 500