Working Holiday UK Tips

Caz on the River Thames

The working holiday UK program is very popular for people from Australia, New Zealand, and other countries that qualify. We at yTravel Blog have personally used a UK Working Holiday Visa, now called the Youth Mobility Scheme, as it’s a great way to work abroad, save a strong currency, and travel the world.

Caz worked in London for 2 years through the working holiday UK program prior to us getting married. She taught primary school in East London, lived in homes filled with up to 25 international backpackers, and had an amazing time traveling around the UK and Europe!

After we got married, we both got a visa to live and work in Ireland for 1 year. Once again Caz taught, and Craig worked in construction.

We had a great time traveling around Ireland and saved up some great cash to go backpacking for 5 months in East Africa. The UK Working Holiday Visa is one of our favorite strategies for making travel more affordable and interesting.


Big Ben and Parliament House

The opportunity to get a working holiday visa for another country gives you the greatest immersion into its culture.

You will develop a deeper understanding of the people and their day to day lives, you’ll get a real feel for the heartbeat of the country and what drives it, you’ll get out of your comfort zone by trying different and unusual jobs, and it’s a great way to meet the locals and form life long friendships.

Craig in Hyde Park


How to Get the UK Working Holiday Visa…

Here are the typical UK visa options….

1. Working Holiday Visa  (Now called the Youth Mobility Scheme) – The youth mobility scheme is for young people (17 – 30yrs) from participating countries who would like to come and experience life in the UK.

It allows you to live in the UK for up to two years, contribute to the economy by working, paying taxes and spending on goods and services while young UK nationals enjoy similar opportunities in the other participating countries.

The countries in the scheme are:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Japan
  • New Zealand
  • Monaco

If you are a national of one of these countries, you may be able to come to the UK under the youth mobility scheme. Your national government will be your sponsor.

This is a 2-year visa.  It is non renewable, so once you have been there 2 years, you cannot renew for another 2 years. Workwise, people do anything and everything, with the most common jobs being barwork, nannying, temping, teaching, banking, construction etc.

Ride the London Underground (tube)


How to Apply…

The first thing you need to know is do you qualify?

To apply for a Visa you need to contact the British High Commission in your own country. It is possible to get an application form online. Visas can take time to process so allow yourself plenty, you may end up waiting longer at busy times of the year so don’t procrastinate!

2.  UK Ancestry Visa – If you are a Commonwealth citizen and at least one of your grandparents was born in the UK, including the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, or a grandparent who was born before 31 March 1922 in what is now the Republic of Ireland, you have UK ancestry and you can apply to come to the UK to work. The UK Ancestry Visa is a 4-year renewable visa.

3. British Passport - If your parents are British you may be able to apply for Dual Citizenship.

Caz at Bath in England


How to Get to the UK…

For some great travel tips on Finding Cheap International Flights and for Cheap Flights UK whilst living there, please see our Cheap International Flights page!


Where to Stay when you first arrive…

If you need budget accommodation when first arriving in the UK, a good starting point is a Hostel. They are cheap and a great place to meet like minded people. To find great hostels online with FREE booking and the lowest price guarantee we recommend Hostel Bookers.

And for more permanent accommodation, please see the information below under “TNT Magazine“, “GumTree“, and “Moving to London Tips“.


Helpful Websites…

  • TNT  Magazine – The online version of the famous TNT Magazine that is available weekly for free at all London Tube stations and has everything you need to know about moving to London, living in the UK, finding accommodation, finding jobs, where to party, how to ship belongings and much much more…be sure to pick one up as soon as you arrive in London!
  • Gum Tree – community classifieds for London. Great website that sends you daily emails on whatever you’re interested in. For example, info on bar jobs, healthcare jobs, events/gigs, flats/houses for rent, pay rates for different jobs and the prices for renting or sharing a house or bedsit.
Caz in Greenwich, London


Travel Jobs…

  • – Jobs in London and the UK
  • Gum Tree – Great website for job seekers.
  • Helpx – an online listing of host organic farms, non-organic farms, farmstays, homestays, ranches, lodges, B&Bs, backpackers hostels and even sailing boats who invite volunteer helpers to stay with them short-term in exchange for food and accommodation.
  • Live-In-Hotel-Jobs Article – Here is a good article on the ins and outs of a Live-In-Hotel job in the UK.
  • Live In Jobs-  FREE Live-in-jobs service  for backpackers in the UK.
  • Work Gateways – jobs for working travelers in the UK.
  • Professional Jobs – Robert Walters Recruitment in the UK has a well established national network of offices covering specialist professions.
  • WWOOF – World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. Get free accommodation and meals in exchange for your work!
  • Pub Jobs – London Pub jobs directory
  • Seasonal Jobs– Find seasonal jobs by sector!
  • Fruit Picking Jobs in the UK – This web site is world wide but has postings for the UK
  • Fruitful Jobs – specialists in seasonal labor and short term employment needs.
  • Anywork Anywhere– jobs and resources for work and travel throughout the UK
  • Construction Jobs – vacancies mainly for professionals and white collar jobs.
  • O’Neill and Brennan Constructions - Construction jobs in the UK and Ireland (Craig worked with them in Ireland).
  • UK Recruitment Agencies – For jobs in Teaching, Nursing, Construction, Banking, Legal, Social Work etc Please Note: Employment Agencies are regulated by law and any agency that asks for any fees up front is illegal and should be avoided. The agency will get their commission when they place you!
Catch a football game at Wembley Stadium

Recommended to organize before you go…

  • Travel Insurance – World Nomad’s is recommended by Lonely Planet
  • Youth Hostel Membership. – Great if you will be backpacking or staying in hostels.
  • International Youth Travel Card (IYTC)If you are under 26 years old, the IYTC opens the door to thousands of discounts both at home and overseas.  You’ll save money on flights, accommodation, communications, museums, food, clothes, movies and more!
  • The London Pass – Save on Sightseeing in London, gets you FREE entry to 55 sights and attractions!
Waxy O'connors Irish Pub in London


Moving to London Tips…

View from the London Eye


Guide Books…


UK and London life…

  • Pubs and ClubsCheck out some of the best Aussie and Kiwi pubs.
  • Tourist Trapswhat to look out for!
  • Forumsfor everything and everwhere questions ask those that are there doing it!
  • Brewery Tours

26 Comments on “Working Holiday UK Tips”

  1. rubina khan

    Dear Readers we are an organisation providing visa and immigration advice. We cover all applications under the new point based system: Tier 1,2,3,4,5 including the Youth Mobility Scheme. We can assist with visa extensions, reviews and reconsiderations. We also assist with sponsoring family members to join you in the UK. Whether you are a EU national or a non EU national we can help you with your immigration matter.

    Please contact Ms Khan for a free consultation on 07762569898 or email at [email protected]

  2. I was in London yesterday.

  3. Very useful list of resources. Found this very helpful thank you!

  4. I thought the topics you posted on were very interesting. the pics are amazing and I really liked them.

  5. This was a very informative post although I must say I was disappointed to hear that the U.S. does not participate in the Working Holiday Visa scheme. In the 1980’s, I was able to obtain a UK student work permit through what was called the British Universities North America Club (BUNAC) [I think the "C" stood for "Club"]. I’ve looked on the internet but can find no reference to this organization and fear it no longer exists (I was trying to make future plans for my child to live in work in the UK when she is older).

    Very interesting and comprehensive report. Your hard work in putting this together is quite evident.

    • Thanks Lisa. It is sad that the US does not particpate in the scheme. We are trying to get into the States but they make it extremely difficult. I understand your frustration

  6. looks like a great trip. There are some really fun places to visit in the UK.

  7. Yes I have been to London many times and there are some great places to see which are historical or architecturally great!

  8. ndikwah paul

    please i wish to know if it is only a particular agency that deals with the countries you listed above or if i have everything that is required i can apply as well in the British high commission in my country as well, actually i am from Cameroon and i meet the demands of the program and wish to participate as well. or does it mean i cannot use this method at all? thanks

    • Hi Ndikwah. I can’t really help you in regards to your situation. As each country has different visa requirements its best you talk to the embassy in your country to see what your options are and go from there. Good luck

  9. Anne-Pascale

    Is there someone who got a job with Dee Cooper recently? Her website seems a bit old, is she still doing free placement in hotels?

  10. Is there any programs for South African Citizens to apply for working visa, just for travelling experience?

    • I am not sure LEe. You will have to check the embassy to see what the requirements are for visas. It is different for every country and nationality.

  11. Hi there, I’ve been living and working in London since December last year, I’m about to claim my tax refund for all my work up until April 2013. However, I plan on leaving the country in August and returning home. Is there an exception that allows me to collect a tax refund now for the months of April, May and June now, due to the fact that I will no longer be residing in the UK

    • I have no idea Jack. I really can’t advise you on things like this as the rules change so much and for different nationalities. I would do a little research online or talk to a local accountant. They’ll be able to help you and give you a good refund. I am pretty sure you can still claim back that money, you may just have to wait until the end of the financial year, but double check that.

  12. oindrila

    I am an Indian girl who has a student visa for France. Now I am done with my studies and I want to go to London to find a job. I already have a tourist visa. The question is : can I work using the tourist visa?

    • No. You can’t work on tourist visas. You have to apply for a specific work visa.

  13. Hi, I was in England on tourist visa while being there I registered to get marry but things didn’t work out as the person had wanted a lot of money for the marriage. I would like to revisit London and would like to know if the registration for marriage would cause a problem on my new application. I am into business now and on my first application I made was under employment, should I apply for a visitor’s visa again or a business visa? If I want to work in the UK, is there any company/employer who is will to send the necessary documents?
    Becky recently posted..I can’t wait to travel again so I can ____
    Becky recently posted..I can’t wait to travel again so I can ____

    • I think if people do like what you did would make things hard for others.

  14. Hi, you might not know this but I fit into none of those categories (I’m over 30, don’t have british grandparents or parents) so how do I go about getting a visa for the UK to work? Thanks!

  15. Hello, thank you for all the helpful resources! I’m a 20 year old Canadian girl, and I am planning to apply for this visa. I do fit in to all the criteria for the youth mobility scheme, but I’m just a tad worried… it’s difficult to get a part-time job in England? I plan to live the full 2 years, but am wondering if it’ll be possible to get a job to support my living! Just worried…

    • I know how you feel. I was always worried as well, but I’ve always found work in all 5 countries I’ve lived in. I think you need to be open to try new things, and be persistent and determined to find a job. Do as much research as you can and back yourself with as many skills as you can i.e waitressing, bar work, admin– anything that can help you in case you get stuck

  16. Thanks for all your helpful tips, it’s very important to make sure you cover all your basis when planning to work abroad. It’s a fun new adventure so embrace it! Make sure you get the proper coverage and stay safe!

  17. […] of the sections I particularly like is the section on the UK Working Visa because this is a visa that I have recently acquired. I even found some great tips in that section […]

  18. Wow! you have provided everything travellers need if they plan to go to the UK. This is very kind!

  19. Was wondering since I work in retail does the youth visa will be any good for me if I want to apply for that visa to work in London ? as well I turn 30 in a few months so I am not sure if I will be wasting my time trying to apply for that visa to work any help will be great before filling out all of that paper work.

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