On 28 June the ‘Working Holiday Scheme’ was officially signed by the Minister for EU Affairs and Trade Ann Linde and the Secretary for Labour Welfare of the HKSAR Stephen Sui. This means from 1 January 2018 youths in Hong Kong can apply for a working holiday visa to Sweden, and vice versa.
Welcoming the establishment of the scheme with Sweden, Mr Sui said: “This scheme provides an opportunity for young people in Hong Kong and Sweden to broaden their horizons and to gain living and working experience in a foreign culture. It will also further reinforce bilateral ties between Hong Kong and Sweden.”
The scheme with Sweden is Hong Kong’s 12th bilateral working holiday scheme. Since 2001, Hong Kong has established working holiday schemes with New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, Germany, Japan, Canada, Korea, France, the United Kingdom, Austria and Hungary. So far, more than 78 000 Hong Kong youths have benefited from the schemes.
When the scheme commences operation youths from each side will be able to apply for a visa under the Scheme, which will allow them to stay in Sweden or Hong Kong for up to 12 months. During the period, they may work to finance their stay. There will be an annual quota of 500 from each side.
The Hong Kong Immigration Department or the Consulate General of Sweden in Hong Kong will respectively issue a working holiday visa to successful applicants from Sweden or Hong Kong who meet, amongst others, the following eligibility criteria:
The applicant must be an ordinary resident of Hong Kong holding a valid Hong Kong Special Administrative Region passport or British National (Overseas) passport for at least the intended period of stay; or a citizen of Sweden holding a passport valid for at least the intended period of stay;
The applicant must be aged between 18 and 30;
The applicant must not be accompanied by dependent family members;
The applicant must possess a departure ticket or sufficient financial resources to purchase such a ticket, and have proof of the financial resources necessary to provide for his/her maintenance during the period of initial stay in Sweden or Hong Kong; and
The applicant must hold medical and liability insurance for his/her entire authorised period of stay.
Details of visa application procedures for applicants from Hong Kong can be found on the website of the Consulate General of Sweden in Hong Kong at www.swedenabroad.com/en-GB/Embassies/Hong-Kong. Applicants from Sweden may obtain the necessary information from the Department’s website www.immd.gov.hk.