The working holiday UK program is very popular for people from Australia, New Zealand, and other countries that qualify. We 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.
The UK Working Holiday Visa is one of our favorite strategies for making travel more affordable and interesting.
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 lifelong friendships.
Episode 1 of our Travel Podcast shares the working holiday experience in London
How to Get the UK Working Holiday Visa
Here are the typical UK visa options.
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:
- New Zealand
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.
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!
- To get all the facts on the Youth Mobility Scheme
- For all other visa questions, including study visas, visit the Official British Government Website
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
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 Finding cheap flights to anywhere page!
Where to Stay in the UK 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“.
- 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.
- Visit Britain– everything you need to know about visiting Britain.
- Enjoy England– the official website for tourism in England.
- Visit Scotland– the official website for tourism in Scotland.
- Visit Wales– the official website for tourism in Wales.
- Visit London – what to see and do in London.
- Official British Government Website – for all your visa questions and option.
- Foreign and Commonwealth Office – Travel and living abroad advice from the British Govt.
- London Transport System – How to get around London by tube, bus and car.
- Tube Maps – see train station and line information.
- Cycle Paths– bike London.
- London Parks– info on London’s parks and personal space.
- Rail Europe– Enjoy Europe by train.
- TNTJobs.co.uk – 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!
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!
Moving to London Tips…
- Get an Oyster Card – a card you can use instead of paper tickets to put travelcards, passes and railcards on it, as well as credit.
- UK Bank Account– opening a bank account in the UK after you arrive can be a nightmare.
- London Airports– for info on all London airports.
- Airport Tips– how to navigate London’s airports.
- Public Transport – Learn about London’s extensive public transport system.
- Accommodation – info on where to live in London.
- Budget Travel Accommodation– see our page on how to get save money on accommodation
- Tax – UK tax explained.
- Health System – for info on the UK health system.
- International Travel Insurance – for getting there and traveling around Europe and the UK.
- Camper Van & Motor Vehicle Insurance for Backpackers– thinking of touring Europe in the summer?
- The Countdown Checklist what to organize and when?
- Leaving the UK – so your time has come to an end, what now?
Guide Books for Travel in the UK
- City Guidebooks– Lonely Planet city guides worldwide.
- Country Guidebooks – Lonely Planet country guidebooks.