The Australian Government will begin negotiations with Greece about establishing a reciprocal work and holiday visa arrangement, the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen said on Aug. 14. “A work and holiday arrangement recognizes the strength of these connections and will further enhance our cultural links between the two countries,” Bowen said.
The arrangement would allow young Greeks and Australians aged 18 to 30 years old to enjoy an extended holiday in the guest country. Participants would be able to stay for up to 12 months and engage in short-term work and study during that time. The program would have an annual cap on visa numbers.
“Negotiating a work and holiday arrangement, which must be reciprocal and agreeable to both governments, can take time to finalize and implement,” Bowen cautioned. “While we recognize the level of enthusiasm by both Greeks and Australians around a successful outcome, we must ensure all key stakeholders are consulted and the necessary administrative arrangements are in place,” he added.
“This is a significant step, and I would like to thank the Members of Parliament, community leaders and Greek Orthodox community organizations across the country, who have spoken to me about such an arrangement,” he said. The Australian reported that Australia “must find 800,000 new workers over the next five years to ensure economic growth as a surge in service industries eclipses the resources boom, forcing employers to redouble efforts to find skilled staff,” which could open the door to skilled Greeks who want to leave their homeland during a crushing economic crisis that has seen unemployment hit 23.1 percent.
The article explained that, “The findings show the service industries will need more workers than any other part of the economy, even as the resources sector continues to grow,” noting that “while mine companies will need about 100,000 new workers over the next five years, healthcare and social assistance employers will need 240,000 staff and professional services companies will require 110,000.” Education, tourism, retail and financial services will also create new jobs in Australia, it said.