Greek-Australians are complaining that a visa program to let Greeks between the age of 18-30 to stay in Australia for one year – and for Australians to stay the same length of time in Greece – would come under a program designed for lesser-developed countries, such as Bangladesh and Malaysia and put restrictions on them.
Australia and Greece decided to provide a Work and Holiday Visatype 462 but Greeks, and Australians who want to come to Greece said they prefer to come under Working Holiday Visa type 417, which is provided to Europeans but does not include limits on number of arrivals per year, while qualifications, such as university degree and English skills, are not necessary.
Chris Bowen, Australian Minister for Immigration and Citizenship told Neos Kosmos that, “There is no discrimination towards Greece,” and clarified that governments of the two countries are discussing Visa 462 for the time being, which would permit about 500 people to enter Australia and Greece each year.
Australia’s Ambassador to Greece, Jenny Bloomfield, said that Greeks should not confuse the Work and Holiday Visa with Australia’s migration program which offers some financial benefits. “The program concerning young people willing to spend their holidays while working in Australia or Greece is pretty important and aims at giving a boost to bilateral relationship between the two countries,” she said. Bloomfield added that, “Every young person will have the chance to get a positive experience during his 12-month-long stay in the other country and be his own country’s ambassador.”