We came to Australia with our 4-month work visas, and we’re currently in the process of getting an employer-sponsored visa – and now I come to find out that America and Australia have a new agreement that will allow Americans to hold a 12-month visa! Damn it! Apparently, this news was announced during the APEC meeting in Sydney a few months ago, and the new visa terms came into effect October 31, 2007. I checked out the Australian Gov’t Immigration website, and it’s true – Work & Holiday Visa, subclass 462:

The Work and Holiday visa is for tertiary educated people aged 18 to 30 who are interested in a working holiday of up to 12 months in Australia. This visa allows you to supplement the cost of your holiday through periods of temporary or casual employment.

Australia has reciprocal working holiday visa terms established with 19 other countries already, including: Canada, UK, Japan, Korea, Germany, Italy…just to name a few.

On the flip side, the new agreement seems to make it harder for Australians to come to America. An article from The Sydney Morning Herald said:

But Australians will need to be students or new graduates and to be sponsored by a US organisation that will be required to monitor them throughout their stay and help them reapply for the visa after four months in the country.

As for Americans, though, I would totally take advantage of this new, longer visa.