Australia and Chile increase Work and Holiday visa quota

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Australia and Chile have tripled the number of visas under a reciprocal program that allows young people to work during their holiday in each other's country.

The number of visas available under the Work and Holiday visa program will increase from 500 to 1500, according to Australian Immigration Minister Chris Evans.

The Work and Holiday visa allows young people between the ages of 18 and 30 from certain countries to work while on holiday in Australia. Only citizens of countries with which Australia has Work and Holiday agreements with are eligible.

While similar to the Working Holiday visa, the similarly named Work and Holiday visa has some differences, including the need for applicants to have -- or be studying towards -- a degree or qualification in higher education. In addition, applicants must be able to speak "functional" English.

In the Work and Holiday agreement between Australia and Chile, Work and Holiday visa holders are able to work for up to six months with any one employer and study for up to four months during their 12 month stay in either country.

Australia has Work and Holiday visa agreements with Chile, Thailand, Turkey, and the United States of America. In 2005 Chile became the first Latin American nation to enter into a Work and Holiday agreement with Australia.

"The increase in the program is an investment in future relations with Chile, helping develop links between people in both countries," Evans said.

"This visa assists young people from both countries to travel and experience different cultures and have closer contact with a local community," he added.