Hong Kong youth are showing growing interest in longer-term stays in Japan under the latter’s working holiday scheme, according to latest data.
Figures released by the Japanese consulate this week showed 374 people seeking visas during the second application period this year, which ran from Oct 6 to 17, under the working holiday program.
This represents a 34.1 percent increase on the 279 applications the consulate received during the first 2014 period.
The figure marks a new record, Sky Post noted, adding that 60 percent of the applicants in the latest round were females.
Of the total applicants, 131 were granted working holiday visas. They can collect the visas for free until Jan. 22.
Among the successful applicants, the number of those aged between 18 and 22 was up about 5 percent from the prior period. The 23-26 age group saw a 4 percent rise, while those aged between 27 and 30 was down 9 percent.
More than half of the winners possessed college diplomas or had higher education.
The annual quota for the Working Holiday Scheme between Japan and Hong Kong is set at 250 visas for each side. Applications are accepted by the consulate during two periods each year, with a view to issuing 125 visas for each period.
However, the number of successful applicants in the second period this year was 131, rather than 125, because six successful applicants from the first period did not collect their visas, according to a press release from the consulate.
Observers say easier-to-find jobs and relatively safe society are the main reasons prompting youngsters, particularly females, to want to go to Japan with working holiday visas. Meanwhile, a weak yen has made travel costs cheaper.
One man who spent working holidays in Japan in 2010 said his part-time job in a theme park there fetched him about HK$80 (US$10.3) an hour.
While Japan has the advantage of being cheaper compared to some destinations in the US and Europe, the real benefit was the experience he secured, the person told Sky Post, noting that the stay in Japan had helped broaden his horizon and gain deeper understanding of Japanese culture.
– Contact us at [email protected]