The working holidaymaker scheme (WHS) will be abolished later this year when the new Youth Mobility Scheme under the Points-Based System (PBS) is launched. All those who have valid working holiday visas granted before the abolition of the scheme will not lose their working holidaymaker status, and will be able to complete their working holiday.
Working holidaymakers will remain able to switch in country into the Innovator or Businesspersons categories until those categories are closed down at the end of the summer, and those eligible under the current immigration rules to switch into employment in shortage occupations will be able to do so until the work permits provisions are closed down in the autumn. Since under the PBS it will not be possible to switch from Tier 5: youth mobility into Tier 1: highly skilled migrants, we announced, in anticipation of that, there would be no switching from the WHS into Tier 1 in our Statement of Intent, published on 5 December 2007. Working holidaymakers who wish to work in the UK as highly skilled migrants therefore need to return to their home country to apply for the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP) before it is closes at the end of the summer, or for Tier 1 (General) once HSMP has been closed. There are no figures available for how many working holidaymaker have returned home to apply for HSMP entry clearances.
The total number of working holidaymaker visas issued globally in each of the last five years for which visa statistics have been published are as follows:
Number 2001-02 46,078 2002-03 49,365 2003-04 59,822 2004-05 69,504 2005-06 52,600 Source: Annual Entry Clearance Statistics, UKBA Visa Services website.
Source: Annual Entry Clearance Statistics, UKBA Visa Services website.