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Working holiday program: a “youth” visa to travel and work around the world

Brazil, Canada, Australia… The working holiday program is a special visa for 18-30 year olds which allows you to travel for one year and gives you the right to work in 14 countries outside Europe to finance part of your stay. Instructions in 6 questions.

“If I had to remember only one thing from my travel experience in PVT [programme vacances travail] in Argentina, Chile and Colombia it’s self-transcendence!”, smiles Charlotte, 25. This childcare assistant is completing a stay of nearly a year in South America. Trekking in Patagonia, meeting new friends in Buenos Aires, but also having difficulty making herself understood with basic English or finding a job there, the young woman came out of this adventure stronger. Like her, 42,000 young French people left with a PVT for a long-term trip abroad in 2017.

1. What are PVTs?

For several months (up to a year), you can travel through a country and discover its culture while working on site to earn additional resources and thus finance your stay. France has signed bilateral PVT agreements with 14 countries outside the European Union, from Australia to Canada via Colombia, Taiwan and Mexico. PVT’s latest agreement came into effect in 2018 and allows you to fly to Brazil for up to 12 months. Please note: the jobs you will do will rarely be related to your possible university degrees. These are most often small jobs that do not require any particular qualification.

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2. Who can benefit from a PVT?

Working holiday programs – or Working holiday visas (WHV) – are specifically aimed at young people aged 18 to 30 (and even up to 35 for Argentina and Canada) on the date of the visa application. . Unlike other mobility programs, there are no study or diploma requirements. With the Erasmus+ programme, you must be a student or apprentice in training and go through an organization (university, school, apprentice training centre, etc.) to leave. To obtain a PVT, all you have to do is make an individual visa application that you make to the diplomatic representation (embassy, ​​consulate, etc.) in France of the country concerned..

3. How many seats are there?

The programs are often limited. The quotas of French participants are for example 300 places for Chile or Colombia, 500 for Russia or 1,500 for Japan. Good news: there are no quota places for popular destinations like Australia or New Zealand. Bad news: this is not the case for Canada, one of the three favorite destinations for young French people. “Canada is in high demand and only offers 6,750 places per year for around 20,000 requests, specifies Julie Meunier, founder of the site. Result: it is necessary to proceed to a draw to decide between the candidates at the start. Some can apply in July and leave in October, others have never been able to leave in five years.” It is therefore better to plan a plan B, even if the Canadian Embassy in France sometimes grants additional places. “2017 has was a record year with 11,050 PVT granted to French people”, remarks Julie Meunier.

4. What are the requirements?

Apart from the required age, you must not have already benefited from a PVT in the chosen country, except in Australia. You must not be accompanied by dependent children, except in Canada where you can leave with “kids” up to two years old. You must be in possession of a return ticket or demonstrate sufficient financial resources to purchase your return flight. You must also show evidence ofprivate insurance covering risks related to illness, maternity, disability, hospitalization and repatriation for the duration of the stay. Please note: it may also be required by some countries a medical certificate as well as’a clean criminal record.

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5. How much does it cost?

The cost of the visa varies from country to country. It will cost you 22 € if you leave for Hong Kong and 315 € for Australia. But one of the main conditions to be met in order to be able to obtain the visa is to have a minimum of money to meet your needs at the start of your stay. : you must be able to justify at least 3,800 € for Australia, 2,500 € for Argentina, New Zealand or Hong Kong etc. For the rest of your stay, you can work under certain conditions. A good plan is to trade a few hours of work on the farm for room and board.

6. Before, during or after studies: when to go?

It’s a personal choice. You may want to take a break after the baccalaureate, during your higher education or after it. With a PVT, you travel and work for up to a year outside of any school curriculum. Be careful if you do your PVT during your years of study: “Check that your school or university considers that the PVT is part of the gap year. Often this is not the case”, warns Julie Meunier. If the gap period (up to one year) has been a recognized right since 2015, the last word on whether or not to grant it is up to your training establishment. A PVT trip is halfway between the personal project and the professional project. Before leaving, contact the international service of your university or school to avoid being taken aback and losing your student status. As priority is often given to the diploma, many prefer to wait until it is obtained before embarking on a PVT trip.

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