Hong Kong/Canada Working Holiday Scheme to increase quota for 2016

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In view of the enthusiastic response to the Hong Kong/Canada Working Holiday Scheme (WHS), the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) has agreed with the Canadian Government to increase the 2016 quota under the scheme from 200 to 300 on a one-off basis.

The Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, welcomed the quota increase. He said, "The WHS arrangement between Hong Kong and Canada has provided an opportunity for youths from both places to acquire living and working experience while travelling overseas. This can broaden their horizons and build up their self-confidence, resilience and interpersonal skills. So far, more than 1 200 Hong Kong youths and 400 Canadian youths have participated in the WHS. We are encouraged to see that the WHS has been well received by the youths. The Government of the HKSAR will continue to review the applications received under the WHS with the Canadian Government, and explore increasing the future annual quota if necessary."

Acting Consul General of Canada in Hong Kong and Macao, Ms Lynn McDonald, also welcomed the increase to the 2016 quota to meet demand for the extremely popular scheme, which was launched in 2010. "The experience gained from working and living in Canada for young Hongkongers, and in Hong Kong for young Canadians, not only helps them to develop professionally and personally, but also further strengthens the strong ties between Canada and Hong Kong," she said.

Under the Hong Kong/Canada WHS, Hong Kong youths aged 18 to 30 who hold a valid HKSAR Passport or a British National (Overseas) Passport and have not benefited from this WHS before may apply for a visa. Successful applicants may stay in Canada for up to 12 months, during which they can take up short-term employment and engage in short-term courses with a cumulative duration of not more than six months.

Hong Kong applicants are welcome to visit the website of the Consulate General of Canada in Hong Kong and Macao at www.hongkong.gc.ca for further details. Canadian applicants may refer to the Hong Kong Immigration Department's website at www.immd.gov.hk.

Since 2001, the Government of the HKSAR has established bilateral WHS arrangements with 10 economies. Apart from Canada our partners are New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, Germany, Japan, Korea, France, the United Kingdom and Austria. So far, over 70 000 Hong Kong youths have joined the aforementioned schemes.

Hong Kong youths are invited to join the WHS schemes. The Government of the HKSAR also reminds WHS participants to take out appropriate insurance policies and plan ahead before departure. They must raise their awareness when travelling abroad, always observe local laws and be cautious in dealing with the terms and conditions laid down in employment contracts to protect themselves. In case of accidents or serious incidents during their stay in the partner economies, WHS participants should immediately approach the local government authorities for assistance. They may also approach 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, July 26, 2016