Is It The End of the Kiwi Overseas Experience?

Kiwi OERelax! End of the Aussie and Kiwi Overseas Experience won’t happen any time soon

From time to time, media reports hit the headlines suggesting restrictions to immigration to the UK. Could this mean the end of the traditional Aussie and Kiwi Overseas Experience, OE?

Things have been pretty quiet on that front for a while now, but as happened again today, people tell me they hear it’s getting much harder for Aussies and Kiwis to “get into the UK”. Other than making it sound like we’re trying to burgle the place, it’s not true and things are unlikely to change any time soon.

Restrictions to Visas?

There have been no restrictions on Tier 5 visa. The most widely used visa by Australians and Kiwis heading to the United Kingdom on the traditional “Big Overseas Experience” also known as the “Big OE”.

Where restrictions on visa entitlements have had an impact is the availability of Tier 2 General visas.

This is the primary sponsorship visa for non-EU foreign nationals wanting to stay in the UK. There has been no significant increase in the number of Tier 2 General visas made available. However, increased competition between a greater number of non-EU foreign nationals means there are less to go around This may cause difficulty for Australians and New Zealanders wanting to extend their stay in the UK.

However, this is not a significant threat to the Big OE. Most Kiwis have not been affected by changes to Tier 2 Visas as most travel to the UK on the Youth Mobility Tier 5 Visas.

Is Sponsorship an Option?

Over the past few years, only 100 – 200 Kiwis have been sponsored each year. This number represents a small percentage of the total number of Kiwis living & working in the UK and truly experiencing the kiwi overseas experience. 

On the positive side, the UK’s loss is our gain. Further restrictions on UK sponsorship visas means that more skilled Kiwis may return home to live, work and contribute.


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