The annual quota for a scheme that allows Hong Kong youngsters to work and study in France for a year will be increased to 500 from 400 starting Jan. 1, the government said.
Secretary for Labour and Welfare Matthew Cheung Kin-chung said the annual quota for the Hong Kong/France Working Holiday Scheme was increased in the wake of enthusiastic responses from both Hong Kong and French youths, Headline Daily reported on Wednesday.
The expansion will provide more opportunities for youths from both sides to enrich their global exposure and broaden their horizons through the scheme, Cheung said.
This is the second increase in the annual quota since the scheme was launched in July 2013 after it was increased from 200 to 400 in May.
Under the scheme, a Hong Kong resident aged 18 to 30 who holds a valid HKSAR passport or a British National (Overseas) passport and has not benefited from the scheme before may apply for a working holiday visa.
Successful applicants may stay in France for up to 12 months, during which they can take up short-term employment of not more than six months with the same employer, and/or enroll in short-term courses of up to six months.
Kenneth Wu, a travel writer who once lived in Australia for a year through a similar scheme, said he benefited a lot from working holidays overseas as he not only made friends with people from various countries but also learned a lot about different cultures, increasing his self-confidence and making him more independent.
Valuable experience can be gained from working holiday schemes and young people should try to take advantage of them, he said.
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