Are you a young Brit dreaming of working abroad?
Maybe you want to pack your bags and live a different life for a while – somewhere far from home. Why not trade the rainy streets of your hometown for the sunny beaches of Australia? Or live in the rugged forests of Canada, or the futuristic hustle and bustle of Japan?
The good news is that citizens of the UK have several excellent opportunities for working abroad.
What is a Working Holiday Visa?
A working holiday visa allows you to work and travel in another country for 1-2 years.
Each visa is different and they are often reciprocal. In other words, if Australians are allowed to work in the UK then Brits will be allowed to work in Australia under similar restrictions.
Working Holiday Visas are ideal for long term travel, because you’ll have the chance to earn money and fund your trip as you go. The visa doesn’t guarantee you a job, but you are free to get one. (Some restrictions on the type of employment might apply.)
*Please note that this information is subject to change and might vary, so further research into your destination of choice is recommended.*
If you are over the age limit of 30/35 for these Working Holiday Visas, click here for some other exciting travel opportunities for all ages.
So where can Brits go and have a working abroad adventure? Here are the countries you have to choose from.
Countries that Offer Working Holiday Visas for British People
Anywhere in the EU
*NOTE: This may change depending on what happens with Brexit. I’ll update this post if it does.*
As a British citizen you are allowed to work anywhere in the European Union. This means that you can rock up in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain or Sweden. In any of these countries, you can just start working without the need for a permit or a working holiday visa.
Of course, it might be difficult to get a job in Paris if you don’t speak any French. However, there are plenty of jobs in hotels and bars in Greece and Spain where you will be mostly serving other travelers. So, a knowledge of the language is not always necessary. Whether you want to find a job that furthers your career, or just a fun short-term gig that furthers your backpacking budget, there are lots of job opportunities out there.
Also, because of the reciprocal healthcare arrangements with most European countries, you will be able to get either free or reduced cost medical treatment if you get ill or injured while working abroad. Keep in mind, you will need a European Health Insurance Card.
Job Vacancies in Europe from EURES (and lots more helpful information)
Jobs in Europe (Choose your desired country on the lefthand side)
What young Brit hasn’t dreamed of running away to Australia for a year? Whether you are working as a scuba diving instructor, driving an Uber in Melbourne or serving up beers at a backpacker bar in Sydney, you will have an amazing time.
Australia and the UK have a reciprocal arrangement that allows British citizens between the ages of 18 and 30 to work for up to 12 months.You will be able to do any kind of work in Australia, but you can only work with the same employer for a total of six months. If you work in an approved agricultural job you can qualify for a second year visa.
The fee is $450 AUD to apply and you must be able to prove that you have enough money to support yourself. (This is usually around $5,000 AUD, plus your fare to wherever you are going when you leave Australia.)
Bob in Oz – A very informative blog by a Brit who moved to Australia
Canada has a lot of amazing experiences to offer, from watching the Northern Lights on a cold winter’s night to cheering at a hockey game to feeling the spray of Niagara Falls on your face. Visit the rugged wilds of Newfoundland, the big city lights of Toronto, the gorgeous Rocky Mountains or the laid back coast of British Columbia.
Canada offers working holidays for British citizens aged 18 to 30, via the International Experience Canada program. The fee is $250 CAD and you’ll also need a biometrics appointment that will cost $85 CAD. You’ll need to prove that you have at least $2,500 CAD to support yourself in your bank account.
A video of a British guy in Canada doing a lot of Canadian things
Why not consider working for a year in the Land of the Rising Sun? Japan is a fascinating destination – a land of ancient Samurai culture and modern manga weirdness, of traditional hot springs, “pod” hotels, octopus flavored ice cream and so much more.
The working holiday visa scheme for Japan allows British citizens between the ages of 18 and 30 to live and work in Japan for up to a year. You must show your bank statements to prove that you have at least £2,500 in your bank account. Or, you can show that you have £1,500 as well as proof of a return or onward journey.
Many British people working in Japan find jobs as English teachers, so you might want to get a TEFL certificate. However, there are also many other options out there, especially if you speak a little Japanese.
Japan-Guide.com (Resource about living in Japan)
New Zealand has friendly people, a huge diversity of landscapes, excellent hostels and plenty of adrenaline-pumping things to do from white water rafting to camping to bungee jumping.
The UK has a reciprocal working holiday visa arrangement with the UK which allows you to live and work for up to 23 months if you are between the ages of 18 and 30. You must satisfy the New Zealand Embassy that your primary intention for coming to New Zealand is to travel, rather than employment.
You must have a passport that is valid at least three months after your planned departure to New Zealand. Also, you must have at least NZ$350 per month for your intended stay. (Evidence of funds can include bank statements, credit card statements, bank drafts or travelers cheques.) If you choose the 12 month visa and decide you want to stay longer, you can apply for the 23 month visa later and extend your stay.
Poms Away Down Under – A British Expat’s View of New Zealand
This country is small on size yet makes a big impact. It has an enormous glittering skyline, cheap and mouth-watering street food and plenty of events and festivals throughout the year. (Plus, you can catch cheap flights to almost anywhere in Southeast Asia.)
The visa is available if you are aged 18 to 25 and a graduate or undergraduate. Your university must be recognised by the government and you must have been a resident and full-time student for at least 3 months. You’ll be allowed to stay and work for 6 months. The application fee is $150 Singapore dollars (around £85).
Contact Singapore is a great resource for living and working in Singapore
Taiwan is an island located off the coast of Southeastern China, known for its densely crowded cities, lush forests and steep mountains. The capital city of Taipei is considered a cultural centre with plenty of art, entertainment and great cuisine. Visit the natural hot springs, see a peaceful Buddhist temple and check out the National Palace Museum (which is ranked with the Louvre as one of the best museums in the world).
Taiwan offers a working holiday visa for British citizens between the ages of 18 and 30 years. You will need to show proof that you have at least $100,000 New Taiwanese Dollars, which is equivalent to about £2,500. After entering Taiwan, you’ll need to visit the National Immigration Agency within 15 days to apply for an Alien Resident Card.
Also, keep in mind that your passport must be valid for at least 12 months after you arrive in Taiwan.You must have full medical travel insurance over your entire stay.
The USA is a wild frontier filled with expansive landscapes, larger than life characters and a culture that is vastly different than the UK (even though the language is the same.)
Unfortunately, working abroad in the USA won’t be as easy as these other countries. The visa restrictions are much more stringent. There are no simple working holiday visa options like in Canada, Australia or New Zealand.
One option is the J-1 Visa. It allows British citizens between the ages of 18 and 26 to work in the USA as an Au Pair for up to 12 months. You must work at least 45 hours per week and will need to complete certain courses before you are eligible, but you will be provided with food and board. You will need to have a job offer in place before you apply for a visa so that your employer can sponsor you.
Another option is to do seasonal work in specific parts of the USA for up to four months at a time. The Bunac Work America Summer Camp Exchange program allows you to work in summer camps. Normally I think that visa programs such as Bunac are a waste of money. It’s often so much easier to apply on your own.
However, getting into the USA to work abroad is very difficult, so it might be worth using a program such as this.
Where Will You Go on Your Working Holiday?
With so many possibilities to choose from, where do you want to work abroad? Let us know your travel plans in the comments below!