Nov 12, 2010
Hong Kong and the Republic of Korea have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) effective January 1, 2011to mark the establishment of a new bilateral working holiday scheme to benefit the young people of the two places from January 1, 2011. The MoU was signed by the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, and the Consul-General of the Republic of Korea in Hong Kong, Mr Jun Ok-hyun.
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The working holiday scheme provides an opportunity for young people to broaden their horizons and gain first-hand living and working experience in a foreign place.
Speaking at the Signing Ceremony, Mr Cheung said that Korea had been a growing tourist destination for Hong Kong people, thanks to its beautiful landscape, rich cultural heritage, pop culture and economic dynamism. Over 165,000 HongKong visitors travelled to Korea in the first nine months this year.
He said, "Through exchanges in person, I believe that our youngsters will better understand not only Korea, but also themselves and their own strengths and weaknesses through the experiences they gain throughout their adventures.
By the same token, Hong Kong can offer to young Koreans an attractive and vibrant cosmopolitan environment where the West meets the East, a can-do spirit and increasingly close economic integration with Mainland China. It is encouraging to note that some 660,000 Korean visitors came our way in the first three quarters this year.
The scheme with Korea is the seventh bilateral working holiday scheme that Hong Kong has drawn up with other places. There are 200 places available per year from each side under the scheme. Participants will be allowed to stay upto 12 months for holiday and take up employment to finance their stay.
Hong Kong has also established bilateral working holiday schemes with New Zealand and Australia in 2001, Ireland in 2005, and Germany, Japan and Canada in 2009. Over 14,000 Hong Kong youngsters have benefited from the scheme whilst about 1,500 young people from these countries have experienced Hong Kong's cosmopolitan and vibrant way of life.
Under the Hong Kong/Korea Scheme, the Hong Kong Immigration Department or the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Hong Kong will issue a working holiday visa to a successful applicant from Korea or Hong Kong respectively who meets the following eligibility criteria among others:
* the applicant must be either a Korean national possessing a valid passport of Korea, or a HKSAR or British National (Overseas) passport holder ordinarily resident in Hong Kong, who is aged between 18 and 30 and intends primarily to holiday in Korea or Hong Kong for a specified period of not more than one year;
* the applicant must not be accompanied by dependent family members;
* the applicant must possess a return travel ticket or sufficient funds with which to purchase such ticket, and sufficient funds for their maintenance during the initial period of stay in Korea or Hong Kong; and
* the applicant must hold comprehensive liability and medical insurance for the entire period of stay.