Aussies and Israelis gain mutual holiday visas

October 22, 2014 by J-Wire Staff
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Australia’s work and holiday visa programme has an exciting new addition, with the signing of an arrangement with Israel to allow young people from both countries a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience each other’s culture.

Signing the agreement: Michaela Cash and Shmuel Ben[Shmuel

Signing the agreement: Michaelia Cash and Shmuel Ben[Shmuel

The arrangement, signed at the Israeli Embassy this morning, means young people from Australia and Israel will be able to take an extended holiday in each other’s country, during which they may undertake short-term work or study, facilitating cultural exchange and fostering people-to-people links between the two countries.

Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash said the agreement is a testament to the constructive relationship between Israel and Australia, to the benefit of young adults seeking a unique cultural experience.

“Israel and Australia share a strong bilateral relationship and the signing of this agreement reflects this. The work and holiday programme is a fantastic way for young people to experience a different culture and bring new insights back to their home country, at the same time reinforcing the close relationship between Israel and Australia to the next generation.”

Minister Cash said the agreement will enable up to 500 young adults from Israel and 500 young adults from Australia to enjoy a holiday in each other’s country, during which they may engage in short-term work and study.

“Australia’s working holiday maker programme is built on the principle that global experiences build global citizens, and that the chance to experience life overseas is an important opportunity to build new skills and develop an appreciation of another culture,” Minister Cash said.

Deal done:  Michaela Cash and Shmuel Ben-Shmuel

Deal done: Michaelia Cash and Shmuel Ben-Shmuel

“Israel is an exciting addition to Australia’s work and holiday visa programme, and I am pleased that as a result of today’s arrangement, more young Australians will be able to step out of their comfort zone and enjoy a vibrant experience overseas.”

“Having spent 18 very memorable months in Israel myself I am thrilled that this new arrangement will allow other young Australians to experience this fascinating country.”

Over the coming months, both Australia and Israel will work closely together to implement the necessary legal and administrative processes to bring this visa into effect. Announcements on the implementation of the Work and Holiday visa, as well as further information on the programme, can be found at www.immi.gov.au

Anita Shroot attended the signing for J-Wire. She reports: “Senator Cash spoke of her time in Israel as a backpacker. She stayed in moshavim and kibbutzim. She signed the agreement on behalf of the Australian government. Negotiations for a visa agreement of this nature began in 1991.”

At the ceremony Ambassador Ben-Shmuel noted that the agreement follows a constructive period of negotiations with his Australian counterparts. He thanked Minister Cash for the assistance of her department, and said it highlighted the importance of the bilateral relationship.

Ambassador Ben-Shmuel said: “Our bilateral relations are strong in the business, technology, tourism and diplomatic areas. All are based on strong people-to-people links, and I’m thrilled by the new opportunities the program enables.

Australia and Israel are not neighbours, yet for generations our youth have journeyed half way across the world to experience all our respective countries have to offer. I’m excited by the opportunities this agreement offers to what has become a rite of passage for many young Israelis and Australians.

98 years ago many young Australians left these shores amidst uncertainty and conflict, and served their country with distinction. Their legacy and sacrifice allows their descendants to visit today with welcome arms.

We hope that this agreement will promote further cross-cultural exposure between our two nations and set the groundwork for future collaborations that will serve business and foreign relations.”

 

The agreement is scheduled to come into effect following Parliament and Knesset approval, and will allow eligible travelers to work while on holiday in the other country. Subjected to specific criteria the program is open to citizens aged between 18 and 30, and grants them a twelve month visa. There will be an annual limit of 500 work and holiday visas per country.

 

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