Working holiday visas are proving to be increasingly popular in New Zealand as the scheme offers young people the chance to work for a year in the country.

New Zealand immigration has just announced that places for Chinese applicants under the New Zealand Working Holiday Visa programme will this month. Under the scheme a thousand places will be available annually to young citizens of China for a 12-month stay.

Places under the quota are released in stages to help manage demand.  The first 200 places will become available from 10am New Zealand time on 10 January 2011. An immigration spokesman said that demand is expected to be high the places are expected to be filled very quickly.

The New Zealand Working Holiday Visa Scheme gives young people aged between 18 and 30 the opportunity to travel to New Zealand and undertake employment during their stay. It gives them working rights in order to supplement their travels, and as such any work undertaken must be incidental and adhere to the conditions stipulated on the visa.

It is also very popular with young people from South America and 1,000 Argentineans, 1,000 Chileans, 300 Brazilians, 200 Mexicans, 200 Uruguayans and 100 Peruvians between the ages of 18 and 30 use it every year.

Young people from the United Kingdom, France and Germany get unlimited access to the visa and a number of them are also working under the scheme which New Zealand citizens under 30 can also get working holiday visas in those countries with a reciprocal agreement.

Eligibility conditions may differ between countries but in general visa applicants must have a passport for at least three months after the planned departure from the country. They must be between 18 and 30 years old, must not bring children with them, must hold a return ticket, or sufficient funds to buy a return ticket and have a minimum of available funds to meet their living costs while in the visiting country.

They must also meet health and character requirements, and have comprehensive medical insurance for the length of their stay.

Jobs that are popular with young people include working in vineyards, catering, cafes, restaurants and as chefs.