MANILA, Philippines – A select number of Filipinos will now be able to study, work, or go on a vacation for up to a year in New Zealand, under a new agreement between the two countries.
The two countries are now implementing the new Working Holiday Scheme (WHS), which will allow 100 Filipinos annually to study, work, or go on a holiday in New Zealand for one whole year, while 100 New Zealanders will also be able to have the same privileges in the Philippines.
WHS participants may enroll in training or study for a maximum period of three months, or short-term work for one year with a limit of 3 months per employer, the New Zealand Embassy in Manila said in a statement.
The rules, however, bar people participating in the program from taking up permanent employment, unless they apply for a working visa while they are there.
New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully said the scheme, open to people aged 18-30 with a tertiary qualification, will further promote the important links between our two countries.
New Zealand Ambassador Reuben Levermore says that he hopes the scheme will encourage more young Filipinos to travel to New Zealand.
“This scheme will allow more young Filipinos to develop an understanding of New Zealand, which offers world class experiences in tourism and education. The Scheme makes it possible to travel around New Zealand to experience what the country has to offer and work in paid employment at the same time,” the Ambassador was quoted as saying.
Ambassador Levermore also stressed that the scheme will not only be beneficial to Filipinos but to their people as well. “The Scheme also provides an excellent opportunity for young New Zealanders to experience the dynamism of the Philippines,” he added.
The arrangement of the WHS is the first of its kind for the Philippines. New Zealand, however, has had similar arrangements with 34 other countries that proved to enhance bilateral relations.
“New Zealand has entered into over 30 Working Holiday Schemes with other countries and our experience is that these are an excellent way to encourage closer cultural connections with other countries,” said Ambassador Levermore.
The WHS agreement was signed in 2012 by Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert F. Del Rosario and New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs Murray McCully, witnessed by President Benigno S. Aquino III and Prime Minister John Key in Wellington.
An important aspect of diplomacy, people-to-people exchanges promote understanding and goodwill through tourism, cultural, and educational programs between two countries. The WHS aims to let citizens of both countries experience first-hand the thriving way of life in the communities and engage more closely with the local people in each other’s country.
Applications for the scheme opened Wednesday, February 5. For more details on application for Filipinos, visit the New Zealand immigration website. New Zealand applicants, meanwhile, should get in touch with the Embassy of the Philippines in Wellington. – Rappler.com