The land down under is vying to become a top destination for gap year students.
This Australian Embassy in China says it is preparing to grant 5,000 work and holiday visas annually to Chinese nationals between the ages of 18 and 31, allowing these young tourists to visit for a year and legally work for up to six months.
A recent Beijing Today article noted that the new Australia visa model is akin that of its sister nation, New Zealand, adding that the latter doles out 1,000 work and holiday visas annually. The article went on to quote a female recipient of such a Kiwi visa from China’s Heilongjiang province:
“I work for food and accommodations… My English skills improved a lot this year even though I didn’t take any language classes. More importantly, I applied for a local university and successfully turned my work and holiday visa into a student visa.”
Much of Australia’s business elite say it’s high time that their nation implemented such measures. A Daily Telegraph article said: "Billionaire casino owner James Packer has been particularly vocal about the need for visa reform as well as Austrade, Tourism Australia and NSW Trade & Investment."
The Telegraph story added that a measly 1.1 percent of China’s 100 million annual tourists are bound for Australia and its neighboring "Oceanic" neighbors. Businessmen like Packer surely hope that the relaxed visas will ready Australia for China’s tourist boom, which is expected to boast 200 million travelers by 2020.