Hong Kong/France Working Holiday Scheme quota to increase

Image for Hong Kong/France Working Holiday Scheme quota to increase

The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) has agreed with the French Government to further expand the annual quota under the Hong Kong/France Working Holiday Scheme (WHS) from 500 to 750 from 1 July 2017 onwards, in view of the encouraging response to the Scheme.

This is the third increase of the annual quota since the establishment of the Hong Kong/France WHS in July 2013. The annual quota of the WHS was increased from 400 to 500 in 2016, facilitating more youths from both economies to live and work temporarily while holidaymaking.

Welcoming the increase of the annual quota, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Stephen Sui said, " We are delighted to see that the WHS has been well received by youths, especially the positive response from the French applicants. The expanded quota will provide more chances for youths from both sides to enrich their international exposure and broaden their horizons through the scheme."

Under the Hong Kong/France WHS, Hong Kong youth aged 18 to 30 who holds a valid HKSAR passport or a British National (Overseas) passport and has not benefited from this Scheme before may apply for a visa. Successful applicants may stay in France for up to 12 months, during which they can take up short-term employment of not more than six months with the same employer, and/or enrol in short-term courses of up to six months.

Hong Kong applicants can visit the website of the Consulate General of France in Hong Kong and Macau for further details regarding visa applications. French applicants may refer to the Hong Kong Immigration Department's website at www.immd.gov.hk.

Since 2001, the HKSAR Government has established bilateral WHS arrangements with 11 economies. In addition to France, our partners also include New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, Germany, Japan, Canada, Korea, the United Kingdom, Austria and Hungary. So far, more than 78 000 Hong Kong youths have joined the aforementioned WHSs.

Hong Kong youths are welcome to join the WHSs. The HKSAR Government also reminds the working holidaymakers to get well prepared before departure and raise their safety awareness when abroad. They should take out appropriate insurance policies including medical insurance, observe local laws and be cautious in dealing with the terms and conditions laid down in employment contracts in the working holiday destinations for safety consideration. WHS participants are encouraged to acquire a better understanding of their destinations (including the living and employment conditions) by visiting webpages of destination governments and their consulates in Hong Kong and dedicated WHS webpages set up by the Labour Department (www.whs.gov.hk), and consulting friends who have participated in WHS previously. If WHS participants encounter employment or personal/property safety issues during their stay in our partner economies, they should contact the local government authorities for help as soon as practicable. In case of accidents or serious incidents, WHS participants can, in addition to approaching the local government authorities immediately for assistance, contact the local Chinese Embassy or Consulate, or call the 24-hour hotline of the Assistance to Hong Kong Residents Unit of the Immigration Department on (852) 1868.

Ends/Tuesday, May 23, 2017