The annual quota of the Working Holiday Scheme (WHS) between Hong Kong and France will be increased reciprocally from 400 to 500 with effect from January 1, 2016, as the scheme received a positive response.
Secretary for Labour and Welfare Matthew Cheung Kin-chung said: “We are encouraged to see that the WHS has been well received by youths, especially the enthusiastic response from the French applicants. The expansion will provide more opportunities for youths from both sides to enrich their global exposure and broaden their horizons through the scheme.”
The scheme was established in July 2013. The annual quota of the WHS for 2015 was increased on a one-off basis from 200 to 400 in May.
The Hong Kong government has agreed with the French Government to further expand the annual quota to 500 from 2016 onwards, “to enable more youths from both economies to live and work temporarily in the other locality while holiday-making”.
Under the Hong Kong/France WHS, Hong Kong any youth aged 18 to 30 who holds a valid HKSAR passport or a British National (Overseas) passport and has not benefited from this scheme before may apply for a visa.
Successful applicants may stay in France for up to 12 months, during which period they can take up short-term employment of not more than six months with the same employer, and/or enrol in short-term courses of up to six months.
Hong Kong applicants can visit the website of the Consulate General of France in Hong Kong and Macau for further details regarding visa applications.
The government has established bilateral WHS arrangements with ten economies since 2001. Other than France, the government has also partnered with New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, Germany, Japan, Canada, Korea, the United Kingdom and Austria.
More than 65,000 Hong Kong youths have joined the Working Holiday Schemes.