Spain and New Zealand to increase number of working holiday visas

The governments of Spain and New Zealand have announced plans to bolster the working holiday visa schemes between the two countries, meaning that more young people will now be able to apply.

Spain and New Zealand to increase number of working holiday visas
Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden announced the expansion of the Working Holiday or Youth Mobility Scheme after their meeting in Madrid held on Tuesday, ahead of the NATO Summit.

The increase means that 2,000 Spaniards and the same number of Kiwis will now be able to benefit from the scheme. This is 10 times more than the 200 visas currently available for each country. 

Those aged between 18 and 30 are eligible for the visa, which allows New Zealanders to come to Spain for one year to work for up to six months and travel or study and train for the other six months.

The only caveats are that you can’t accept a permanent job or work for the same employer for more than three months and you must prove that you have sufficient savings to live on. You are also not allowed to apply if you have any dependent children.

The same conditions apply to young Spaniards wanting to work and travel in New Zealand. 

The application process for 2022 is currently closed but will open again in 2023, with the increased number of visas available for each country.

“I am delighted to announce a boost to our Working Holiday Scheme with Spain. These schemes create opportunities for young New Zealanders to develop their skills and work experience while travelling and living in Spain,” Ardern said in a statement after the meeting.

“These changes reflect the strength of the relationship between Spain and New Zealand,” she added.

During their meeting, Sánchez and Arden also agreed on the need for a Free Trade Agreement between New Zealand and the EU, creating opportunities for both New Zealand and Spanish businesses, as well as a plan to work together on a new seabird conservation project.

Other subjects discussed by the two leaders included a Global Values Partnership, committing to work closely on areas to strengthen democracy, sustainability, human rights and the rule of law, as well as Russia and the war in Ukraine.

Sánchez said that the partnership will serve to “build more inclusive societies, greener economies and more resilient democracies”.

“Meeting with President Sánchez was a chance to reaffirm our countries’ commitment to working together, and alongside others, to maintain international peace and security, and the rules-based order. It is fitting that our meeting took place in the lead-up to the NATO Summit,” Ardern said.

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EU delays passport scan system and €7 travel fee until 2023

Two major changes that were due to come into force in 2022 for travellers entering the EU - an enhanced passport scanning system and the introduction of a €7 visa for tourists - have been delayed for a year.

EU delays passport scan system and €7 travel fee until 2023

Although both the EES and ETIAS schemes are still due to be introduced in the European Commission has pushed back the start dates for both until 2023.

It comes amid a chaotic summer for travel in Europe, with airports struggling with staff shortages and strikes while some crossings from the UK to France have been hit by long delays as extra post-Brexit checks are performed during the peak holiday season. 

The two separate changes to travel in the EU and Schengen zone were originally due to come into effect in 2020, but were delayed because of the pandemic. Now the EES system is expected to come into effect in May 2023, while ETIAS will come into effect in November 2023. 

The EES – Entry and Exit System – is essentially enhanced passport scanning at the EU’s borders and means passports will not only be checked for ID and security, but also for entry and exit dates, in effect tightening up enforcement of the ’90 day rule’ that limits the amount of time non-EU citizens can spend in the Bloc without having a visa.

It will not affect non-EU citizens who live in an EU country with a residency permit or visa.

There have been concerns that the longer checks will make transiting the EU’s external borders slower, a particular problem at the UK port of Dover, where the infrastructure is already struggling to cope with enhanced post-Brexit checks of people travelling to France.

You can read a full explanation of EES, what it is and who is affects HERE.

The ETIAS system will apply to all non-EU visitors to an EU country – eg tourists, second-home owners, those making family visits and people doing short-term work.

It will involve visitors registering in advance for a visa and paying a €7 fee. The visa will be valid for three years and can be used for multiple trips – essentially the system is very similar to the ESTA visa required for visitors to the USA. 

Residents of an EU country who have a residency card or visa will not need one.

You can read the full details on ETIAS, how it works and who it affects HERE.

Both systems will apply only to people who do not have citizenship of an EU country – for example Brits, Americans, Australians and Canadians – and will be used only at external EU/Schengen borders, so it won’t be required when travelling between France and Germany, for example.