Friday, August 02, 2013

An Aussie Rite Of Passage – The UK “Youth Mobility” Working Holiday

My littlest sister Katie has just set off to embark on the adventure her 3 older sisters have completed before her – to travel over and set up home in London for the duration of the Working Holiday Visa. Well, that’s what it was called when I did it, but now it’s the Youth Mobility. With her 30th birthday looming, and without the luxury of having a parent or a grandparent born in the UK and the ancestry rights that that allows, each of us have only had access to this style of visa for such an adventure.

It does seem to be the thing that most young Aussies do. And rightly so! London is not all that different to living and working in Australia – just bigger, and closer to Europe! It is also the perfect place to procrastinate about what you want to be when you grow up, about getting a real job at home once you have completed all that university study, and also a chance to spread your wings in your chosen professional area outside of the maybe tired (and tried) and tested work options of home. Plus, it’s an hour to Paris!

Essentially this Youth Mobility Visa is available to Australians (and other agreed nations) with a desire and the means to do it. The visa permits living and working in the UK for up to 2 years, provided you have applied before you turn 31, and you need to show you have money in your account to support yourself. You can work, or study, full time on this visa, which pretty much sets you up to live the good life for that time period.

Katie has mentioned the option of going over to live and play in London on and off for some time, with the pull of a collection of mates who are living the good life over there at the moment. It seems to be her social circle’s time to be doing this. Of course, she came to visit me when I was there doing my Working Holiday stint, and she also visited Jessie when she was doing hers – so London is not an unknown for her, although certainly the experience of living there, and being so far from home, will be!

(Ha! In writing this and running it past her, at this point in the post she wrote “no it won’t!” Ahhhh, she has no idea the waves of homesickness that can come out of the blue! Even I felt them, when I could not have imagined them as I set out!)

The process started with filling out the online form, which required things like our parent’s date of birth, previous travel details, and plans to enter the UK. Next, once she received word that this was processed, she was asked to come down to Melbourne, to the Visa Application Centre, to have her fingerprints scanned, and photo taken, as part of the process. Just like arriving at the airport in the US, this took all of 3 minutes, and the next step to London was done.

About 1.5 weeks later her little blue book was returned to her in the mail with a new full page sticker in it, that has let her into the UK! Just over 4 weeks ago now she finalised her packing, and boarded her flight. So exciting! Her adventure has begun!

Arriving into a heatwave Summer there in London, she has also been there in the thick of it for the Royal Baby arrival, which is pretty amazing. She even popped down to check out the Official Announcement posting in front of Buckingham Palace.

I am so looking forward to following along with her adventures, and am already planning a visit to Europe to hang out with her for a bit while she is there. It's still one of the best times of living for me, and something I seriously think everyone who has the chance should do!

I have also found another travel blogger post with helpful information about the Youth Mobility visa process, you can read here.


  1. Great post Tash. My visa has long expired and I'm still missing London. Just don't think I'm ready to give up travel and go find a real job just yet. Thanks for including the link to my blog as well.

    1. It's a place that gets under your skin, for sure!


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