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Posted on Dec 3, 2019 in Migration News |

5 Undiscovered Gems in China

When you think of visiting China, what is the first thing that comes into your head? Maybe it’s the Great Wall? Or perhaps it’s the countless bustling cities like Shanghai or Beijing? For many, it’s simply the endless sources of delicious food! But what really makes China special is that there is simply so much to see here! In fact, China is full of undiscovered wonders. And you can discover these little-known treasures by getting away from the beaten track. Here are 5 of China’s hidden gems, which are definitely worth seeing. Houtouwan- an abandoned ghost village A short distance from Shanghai, Houtouwan is a photographers’ paradise! It looks like nature has swallowed this place. In fact this could be the greenest village on the planet! It was established as a fishing town in the 1950s with approximately 3000 fishermen. But the locals abandoned it during the 1990’s to live closer to cities for better prospects. Over the next decades, nature has reclaimed the town, covering it with a lush layer of green. Now, this is a real ghost town. Tourists can walk around and enjoy the greenery. If you decide to visit, be prepared to spend a lot of time climbing uphill. You should also expect a lot of traveling, as visitors will need to take a series of ferries and buses to reach this mysterious and magical place. But it is totally worth it! Suzhou, China’s city of Canals Suzhou is China’s answer to Paris and Venice. This romantic town is perfect if you want to escape the skyscrapers, noise and fast-paced life of the big cities. The 2,500- year-old city was the cultural epicenter and a major economic hub for trade in the past and it is located about 100km northwest of Shanghai. The city is famous for its crossing canals and tranquil rivers and displays China’s classical elegance and sophistication. An array of meticulously designed gardens, small waterways and stone bridges makes this one of the most picturesque cities in China. To get an authentic Suzhou experience, you will need to take a boat and...

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Posted on May 22, 2019 in Migration News |

How can I get a Working Holiday Visa for Australia?

Something about Australia has made it irresistible to young travellers for decades. Perhaps it’s the never ending list of iconic sights to see. Maybe it’s the unbeatable weather. Or could it be the abundance of job opportunities for backpackers? Whatever it is, every year thousands of young travellers from around the world apply for Working Holiday Visas in a bid to make their dreams of sampling life ‘down under’ a reality. But what is a Working Holiday Visa? And how can you get your hands on one if you have ambitions of living and working in Australia? In this blog we’ll cover all of the key points to know about these visas as well as answer some of the most common questions that are asked on the subject. Welcome to the ultimate Encyclopedia of Australian Working Holiday Visas!   What is an Australian Working Holiday Visa?   If you’ve ever dreamed of a gap year in Australia, a Working Holiday (or ‘Backpacker’) Visa is the perfect launching pad for a year of work and travel down under. The Australian Government’s Working Holiday Maker Program is a cultural exchange program which enables young travellers to have an extended holiday and earn money through short-term employment. Visa holders can sample the Australian way of life, living and working in OZ for up to 12 months. You can also use the visa to study in Australia for up to four months. There are two types of visas in the Working Holiday Maker Program: Working Holiday visa Work and Holiday visa Confusing, right?! But don’t worry. Everything will become clear!   How can I tell if I am eligible for an Australian Working Holiday Visa?   You can apply for an Australian Working Holiday Visa if you are a citizen of one of the qualifying countries (listed further below) and: You’re aged between 18 – 30 (or 35, not yet 36 if you’re Canadian or Irish) You have a valid passport You have sufficient funds to support yourself when you arrive in Australia   You must also meet certain health, character and financial requirements...

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Posted on Apr 15, 2019 in Migration News |

Do you make these mistakes when applying for a visa?

  Picture the scenario. In the coming days you’re due to travel abroad for an important business trip. So you go through some last minute checks to ensure that everything you need is in order. Passport? Check! Suitcase? Check! Visa? Err… So now you have to hurriedly fill out your visa application online. But then, a short time later, you receive notification that your application has been denied. Denied? Disaster! Don’t let this happen to you! Here’s five of the most common mistakes that visa applicants make and how you can avoid them. 1 – Not reading the instructions First things first! Perhaps the most common error that visa applicants make is to not read the application instructions properly. Usually the application will clearly outline the forms that you must fill out and the paperwork you are required to supply. And yet, countless visa hopefuls submit their applications with documents missing. This can lead to significant delays in the processing of your visa. Read the instructions. They’ll make your life a lot easier! 2 – Providing incorrect passport details Every year countless visa seekers have their applications derailed by incorrect passport details. It’s impossible to overstate the importance of filling out your details correctly. Simply put, no visa application with incorrect details (such as incorrect date of birth or passport number) will be approved. That’s why it’s essential to double check your passport details! And then, when you’ve finished double checking, triple check them! 3- Wrong passport sized photos supplied Many visa applications require candidates to submit passport sized photos. Usually exact requirements for the photos are specified in the application documents. And yet, submitting incorrect passport photos is a really common mistake that visa seekers make. Some of the most common issues with passport photographs include: The background of the photograph is the wrong colour The photo is too dark The photo is not in the correct size One recent Visa First customer even used a pillowcase as their white background! Nice try! Our advice? Get your passport photos taken by a professional. Sure, it might cost you...

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Posted on Apr 3, 2019 in Migration News |

Working Holidaymakers can now stay in Australia for a third year!

  There’s good news for prospective Aussie Backpackers. The Australian Government has announced a number of changes to the Working Holidaymaker (WHM) program – the most significant of which allows Backpackers to extend their life down under into a third year. From July 2019, travellers can now stay in Australia for three years if they complete at least six months of rural agricultural work. The motivation behind the amendments is to boost farms and businesses in regional Australia who are constantly on the lookout for Working Holidaymakers to fill their job vacancies. The changes in a nutshell The Australian Government wants to encourage Working Holidaymakers to stay working in regional Australia for longer in order to support these rural communities. Changes introduced to the WHM Program include: Third year down under: Working Holidaymakers in their second year in Australia on a subclass 417 or 462 visa who, after 1 July 2019, undertake six months of agricultural work in a specified regional area now have the option of spending a third year down under Expansion of regional areas: In order to qualify for a second-year in Australia, subclass 462 visa holders must work in agricultural roles (plant and animal cultivation) in regional areas of the country. The Government has expanded the areas of Australia which are considered ‘regional’. Previously, only areas in Northern Australia were considered eligible for this type of work Remain with an employer for 12 months: Subclass 417 and 462 visa holders can now stay with the same agricultural (plant and animal cultivation) employer for 12 months. Previously Backpackers could only stay with these regional employers for a maximum of six months Increase in number of visas issued: The annual visa caps for a number of countries that participate in the subclass 462 visa program are increasing Raise in maximum age: The maximum eligibility age for subclass 417 visa applicants from Canada and Ireland is increasing from 30 to 35 A new and improved Working Holidaymaker (WHM) program! The announced changes to the Working Holidaymaker (WHM) program will potentially benefit both Backpackers and Australian businesses. The changes...

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Posted on Mar 21, 2019 in Migration News |

Wanna move ‘down under’? Australia is looking for more Working Holidaymakers!

The Australian Government has launched a new campaign which aims to attract more Working Holidaymakers down under, as well as support Aussie farmers and boost regional tourism. The campaign, titled ‘Australia Inc’, is targeting young people in the UK, France and Germany who are considering combining overseas travel with temporary work. A number of enhancements to the traditional Working Holiday program have been introduced in unison with the launch of the campaign. Among the changes to the program are the expansion of the regional areas where Working Holidaymakers can work, increasing the time period they can stay with an employer and the addition of an option of a third year. $3 billion Australia has long been heralded as a top destination for prospective Working Holidaymakers and the Work & Travel initiative is an essential part of Australia’s agricultural and tourism industries. In fact, Working Holidaymakers play a critical role in filling short-term workforce shortages in regional areas and they also inject over $3 billion into the Australian economy each year. But Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham believes that more could be done to convince Working Holidaymakers to pack their bags and book a flight to Oz. “Whilst Australia is a highly desirable Working Holidaymaker destination, research shows there are some barriers to travel, such as distance and a lack of understanding of the long-term benefits of a Working Holiday in Australia,” said Birmingham. “This campaign is aimed at demonstrating how living and working in Australia will make young people stand out from the crowd when they return home and benefit their long-term career and life goals.” Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Richard Colbeck was keen to stress the importance of Working Holidaymakers to Australia. “Access to sufficient labour, particularly for seasonal work, is a perennial issue and concern for the industry. Our changes to the Working Holiday Visa are specifically designed to help meet the needs of our farmers.” Wanna be an Australian Backpacker? Visa First can help you! We offer a complete Australian Working Holiday Migration service. Before you leave home, we...

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Posted on Feb 27, 2019 in Migration News |

2018 was another record breaking year for Canadian tourism

For a second consecutive year, a record number of tourists chose Canada for their holiday destination. A massive 21.13 million travellers visited Canada in 2018 – the first time Canada has topped the 21 million mark. The record numbers have been attributed to a number of different factors. For instance, it’s now easier than ever before for tourists to explore Canada. In recent years the Canadian Government has implemented visa changes for priority markets by introducing the Electronic Travel Authorization (Eta) Visa. In addition, new flight routes and increased service to Canadian airports have seen flight capacity rise by 6% (when compared to 2017) to the highest level ever – representing an additional two million seats on flights to Canada. Last year overnight arrivals to Canada from countries other than the United States reached an all-time high of 6.7 million (32% of total arrivals). Overseas tourists typically stay in Canada longer and spend more, benefiting tourism businesses in communities across Canada, and the economy. Tourism generates 745,300 jobs in communities across Canada and contributes an estimated $102.5 billion to the economy. So where do Canadian tourists come from? Figures from December 2018 United States – 944,886 (2% increase from 2017) China – 737,379 (first time exceeding 700,000, 6% increase) France – 604,166, (first time exceeding 600,000, 5% increase) Mexico – 404,402 (first time exceeding 400,000, 5% increase) India – 287,416 (15% increase) Travelling to Canada? If you’re planning a trip to Canada, Visa First can help you! Whether you’re thinking about a vacation or dreaming of living and working in Canada, we take the stress out of the visa application process. Our Canadian visas Want to visit Canada on holiday? You’ll need a Canadian ETA. Apply for yours here. Live and work in Canada for up to two years. Apply for your Working Holiday Visa here. MCorcoranMore...

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Posted on Sep 27, 2018 in Migration News |

Cutoff Age Now 35 for Australians On IEC Canada Visa

  The cutoff age for Australians applying for the International Experience Canada (IEC) work permit is now 35, compared to 30 previously. The change also works both ways with Canadians now allowed to travel to Australia under the International Experience Canada programme up to the age of 35. The move was welcomed by Whistler Chamber CEO Melissa Pace who said that highering the age limit from 30 to 35 would help fill the gap in middle management in roles taken up under the programme. There are 3 categories open to participants under the IEC programme, including Working Holiday permits, International Co-op for students looking to gain targeted experience in their field of study, and Young Professionals. Australia is a major source of participants in IEC, with locations in Western Canada particularly popular among the Aussie contingent, especially winter resort destinations such as Whistler, BC and Banff, AB More than 200,000 Canadians have taken advantage of the work and travel experiences offered through the International Experience Canada program and many return to Canada with life-changing experiences valuable to both their personal and professional lives. Canada doesn’t cap the number of Australian participants in the IEC and is one of 34 countries whose residents can participate. If you are a citizen of one of the 34 participating countries, you can typically travel and work in Canada under the IEC programme if you meet the age restrictions. For some countries this is 18-30 and for others this is 18-35. To take part in the International Experience Canada (IEC), you should also:  Preferably have no criminal record Own a valid passport for the period of your stay You should have enough money to support yourself on arrival in Canada while you are looking for a job Each year they agree a quota of visas with each country that holds a working holiday agreement with Canada. The visa itself permits you to work, live and travel in Canada for 12 months (more for certain countries). If you are interested in applying for a working holiday visa to Canada or Australia, you can apply directly with us at Visa First. To find out more...

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