UK and Japan Expand Visa Programs for Young People

UK and Japan Expand Visa Programs for Young People

The British Embassy in Tokyo, in collaboration with the Japanese government, has unveiled plans to enhance opportunities for young people through expanded mobility schemes. This initiative aims to facilitate increased cross-border experiences and employment prospects for young nationals from the United Kingdom and Japan, thereby fostering more profound cultural exchanges. The announcement heralds a new phase between the Young Mobility Visa programs of the two nations.

Effective January 31st, the scope of the Japanese Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS) has been broadened, allowing up to 6,000 young Japanese nationals to apply for this program. Simultaneously, the United Kingdom has reciprocated this expansion by increasing the quota for young British nationals eligible for the Working Holiday Scheme (WHS) in Japan to 6,000 from April 1st of this year.

In a notable development, Japanese citizens desiring to acquire the YMS visa are no longer subjected to the previously employed ballot system for registering their interest. Instead, they can submit their applications anytime if they meet the requisite eligibility criteria.

Enhanced Opportunities for Exploration and Growth

Julia Longbottom CMG, the British Ambassador to Japan, expressed her enthusiasm for these advancements, highlighting the strengthening partnership between the UK and Japan. She emphasized that schemes such as the Youth Mobility Scheme and Working Holiday Scheme have the potential to be transformative, offering young people invaluable life experiences and broadening their horizons.

Michael Lutz, UKVI Head of Region for Asia Pacific, shared similar sentiments, expressing satisfaction with the expansion of these visa programs. He noted that this development will enable more young Japanese individuals to live and work in the UK, fostering enduring connections and strengthening the bilateral ties between the two nations.

Benefits for Young Participants

Over the years, numerous young British and Japanese individuals have taken advantage of these visa programs to explore each other's countries, gain work experience, and immerse themselves in different cultures. These programs were established as part of the Hiroshima Accord, a strategic global partnership announced jointly by the Prime Ministers of the UK and Japan in May of the preceding year.

The British Embassy underscored the significance of these expanded YMS and WHS initiatives, citing them as a testament to the enduring commitment of the UK and Japan to promote people-to-people exchanges between their respective nations.

In addition to strengthening ties with Japan, the United Kingdom extended its young mobility visa programs to Australia in June of the previous year. Concurrently, Australia relaxed the eligibility criteria for working holiday visas for UK citizens by raising the age limit, further enhancing opportunities for cultural exchange between the two nations.


What are the age eligibility criteria for these programs?

The UK YMS and Japan WHS are open to young adults aged 18-30 (inclusive).

How long can I stay in the host country under these programs?

The maximum stay duration is typically two years, with potential options to extend under specific circumstances.

What are the travel insurance requirements?

Travel insurance is mandatory for both programs. Ensure your plan covers medical expenses, repatriation costs, and other potential risks.