Why the Working Holiday Visa is nothing more than a money making scheme


In less than 24 hours, 100 places will again open for young Filipinos wanting to stay in New Zealand for 12 months. More information about the requirements can be found here.

There had been recent excitement over New Zealand Immigration offering the Working Holiday Visa to Filipino Citizens and some even claim that this is the “easiest pathway” to New Zealand.

However, it is important to note that this is a TEMPORARY visa and the expectation is that you will RETURN to the Philippines once the visa period ceases.

There are three major caveats with regard to this visa:

  1. The target age group of this visa of 18-30 years old is also the group of people with the highest unemployment rate in the country. Government estimates 20% or 1 out of 5 young kiwis have no jobs. Being allowed to work is one thing but actually securing work is another thing.
  2. Part-time, fixed-term work is hard to find. Usually 3 months temporary work can be found in far-flung farms doing fruit-picking and other labour intensive jobs. Not only is it back breaking work, but it is usually paid minimum wage of $14.75 per hour (or $12 after tax) that is not enough to sustain your living costs here.
  3. Immigration requires that you need to have $4,200 to meet your living costs. But as above, if you are unable to find a job, there is no way you are living here with that sort of money. I would say you need to have at least $200/week to survive in the city centres. Multiply that 52 weeks in one year and you would need $10,400 (around P331,000) for the whole duration of your visa. The present reality is that there are heaps of long-term unemployed in New Zealand (some spanning multiple years) living off taxpayer subsidies. Look into the jobs and careers section of the Trade Me forums and there is plenty of discussion about that.

Knowing these facts, the working holiday visa would be more suited for someone who is:

  1. Boy/girl with wealthy parents who can finance their holiday.
  2. Those seeking first world training and a bit of overseas experience and then come back to the Philippines to use this to benefit their careers.
  3. Those who can avail of free accommodation from relatives/friends and spend this time for reunion and bonding.

If you are looking to stay permanently in New Zealand and have the skills that New Zealand wants, you better be looking at the Silver Fern Visa or the Residence Visa – Skilled Migrant Category.

The working holiday visa is called as such because it is really meant for young people doing their holiday with a chance to earn a bit of money on the side if they are lucky. If you are to apply for a work permit after your visa expires, you will go under the same tedious process (i.e. proving that there is no Kiwi for the role) like everyone else but not on equal footing, as you have already spent heaps after one year.

Truth be told, this is actually an opportunity for New Zealand not only to boost their tourism revenue but also supply the remote, low populated regions with cheap, youthful and energetic labour on a seasonal basis.







4 thoughts on “Why the Working Holiday Visa is nothing more than a money making scheme

  1. You are so much full of negativity. I am a product of a working holiday scheme, i am one of the first batch 2014 of this scheme. It helped me a lot and my friends. Three of us got a slot and now three of us is working well here in New Zealand and got our visa status changed. It really depends on the person’s capability and eagerness to achieve the success. If you only think of negativity and never risk, then you are a failure. You have never tried it yet but you already surrender. So my advice to everybody. No Guts! No Glory!


    1. Thank you for your comment. I wouldn’t say I’m negative but a realist. I lived here 7 years now and I’ve seen my fair share of failures and successes, mostly leaning on the former because of wrong information. Some have squandered their life savings, got into heavy debt and suffered tremendously. We don’t hear much from these people unfortunately for obvious reasons. If you have made it like me then congratulations to you, the purpose of this blog is to help people weigh the risks and challenges and look on NZ beyond the rose tinted glasses. I would rather offend with the truth than comfort people with lies. Thank you for reading!


      1. I agree with you. I was also granted working holiday visa last year 2015, working holiday visa is mainly for tavelling and for those who want to experience kiwi life..having the visa, Work should be a secondary intention not primary intention. I was able to travelled nz from north to south.. So if anyone wants to stay in nz permanently or intention is to work working holiday visa isnt the best option..

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I agree with Ramil, its better to show the reality to people and let them weigh in on the issue. I think your country (New Zealand) has all the rights to profit from all these visa schemes, i mean there is nothing wrong to it. It is the duty of the migrant on choosing the right visa in accordance to his/her circumstances and to the NZ law. But the thing is, one should know the facts before making any move. As they say in the label of medicines that “results may vary”.


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