The Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong has just concluded an agreement with the French government to expand the quota from last year for the Working Holiday program (WHS) from 200 to 400; an outcome that’s eagerly awaited by both Hong Kong citizens and French citizens alike.
Mr. Matthew Cheung kin Chung, The secretary for work and welfare in HK, has expressed that since its inception in 2013, the WHS between France and Hong Kong has given young people from both sides an opportunity, to expand their perception about each other. This program has enabled young professionals, both in France and Hong Kong to learn about each other’s culture while contributing to the local economy as they work and live in the host country for certain duration as part of the WHS program. Given the reception that WHS program has gotten from Hong Kong residents so far, it has been expanded and the government plans to extend the same to include other age groups, and even incorporate an exchange visa program of sorts.
Hong Kong’s teen and professionals between the ages of eighteen and thirty can apply for visa under the Working Holiday program and on successfully obtaining one they can visit France for a short duration for work and vacation. While the current program is open to all Hong Kong residents with HKSAR passport and or have a British overseas passport, they cannot apply for this visa if they had utilized the program earlier on. In other words, as residents they can apply for the WHS program only if they are applying for the same, for the first time and have not traveled to France.
The successful candidate, on getting his visa, can live in France up to 12 months and similarly, French citizens with valid passport can reside in Hong Kong for the same duration during which they can both work and study for pre-approved certified courses. Applicants must provide valid documentation when applying for the working vacation visa program. Most applicants are required to provide a detailed background, along with bank statements and a letter of intent along with copies of their HSKAR passport, Hong Kong ID card, along with two photos of themselves. They are also required to pre-book their airline tickets, including the return ticket or a statement indicating their intent to purchase a return ticket at a said date.
The HKSAR government has set up joint WHS programs with France initially and now the program has been expanded to include other nations like Germany, Korea, Australia, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and Ireland – to name a few. Since 2001, more than Five thousand young Hong Kong residents have joined the WHS.
HKRAS ensures that its citizens are educated about the process, the terms and conditions of their visa, and that they are required to respect the laws of the host country during their course of stay there.