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Travel News

Taking on the world: Your OE

Handy advice for young kiwis flying off on their big OE

For many young Kiwis, it is a rite of passage – heading off on your OE or overseas experience. And for a lot of people, the UK is the obvious choice of destination, thanks to agreements we’ve had in place for generations allowing some of us to work there. If your child is keen on heading to Blighty for their OE, here are some things you can do to help.
- Make sure they have done all the required research and obtained the necessary visas beforehand if they are planning on staying longer than six months and hoping to work. If you or your child’s other parent was born in the UK, they may be eligible for a British passport. If one of their grandparents was born there, they may qualify for a UK ancestry visa.
- Many Kiwis may get in on the youth mobility scheme visa, which allows people aged 18 to 30 to work there for up to two years. They need to have £1890 in savings (around $3565 at the current exchange rate) and can’t apply if they have children who live with them or who they are financially responsible for.
- Not only will they have to prove they have the $3500 in savings, but it costs around $435 to apply for the visa and they may also have to stump up a recently introduced health surcharge of around $434 a year if they are staying for more than six months.
- Suggest they look for a job before travelling to the UK – the best scenario is to have work to go to. Depending on their skills, they may be able to land work as a teacher, carer, social worker, nanny/au pair, administrator, bar staff etc in advance. There are agencies offering this kind of work, but check that they are reputable.
- Networking can be a great way of finding work. LinkedIn and social media sites can be helpful – get your child to start monitoring these before they head off overseas.
- Remind them that they’ll need to get a National Insurance number if they are planning to work in the UK (it’s similar to an IRD number). They can’t apply for one until they get there.
- Having somewhere to stay for at least a few weeks when they first get to the UK is a must. If they’ve got friends or family there who will let them sleep on their sofa, that’s great but it is also a good idea to have money put aside for accommodation.
- If they have never lived away from home and it’s likely they will be living with others, make sure they are equipped with basic life skills. They should be able to cook meals, do housework and generally make themselves useful. This will stand them in good stead as house guests if they’re staying with extended family or friends.
- It can be helpful to get extra qualifications before heading overseas, such as a first aid certificate.
Don't forget
There’s more to the UK than London. Your child may have more luck getting jobs in other parts of the country and also find it much cheaper to live elsewhere than in the expensive capital.

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