ACT News


Australia-Slovenia work and holiday agreement established

Young Australians looking overseas for work during their gap year have another country to choose from.

Slovenia and Australia have established a work and holiday visa program, allowing 200 young adults from each country to visit and work in the other each year.

The program is the first Australia has established with a former Yugoslav nation and the 12th with a Eurozone country.

Charge d'Affaires to the Slovenian Embassy in Canberra, Jana Grilc said about 20 Slovenians and at least one Australian have been granted the visas since they were introduced on January 1.

She said the arrangement benefited both Australians and Slovenians by providing new perspectives on management, culture and work practices.

"They can spend up to six months with one employer to see how companies operate in Australia," she said.


"It's important that they do travel and respect what they have back home, while also bringing those positive influences back with them."

To be eligible for the visa, Australians need to be aged between 18 and 31 when applying, hold sufficient funds for an airfare and personal support overseas, as well as holding at least secondary school qualifications.

The criteria for Slovenian visitors is stricter: applicants must have completed at least two years of undergraduate university study and prove "functional English" skills.

Ms Grilc singled out the ACT as a place where Slovenia hoped to expand its interests, given the territory's renewable energy commitments.

The Slovenian capital, Ljubljana is 2016's Green Capital of Europe, granted the title for its commitment to preserve existing green spaces, improve pedestrian and cycling infrastructure and a "zero waste strategy".

"Canberra is quite modern with its renewable energy plan and I see a lot of opportunity for us to compare our strategies," Ms Grilc said.

"We're also interested in looking at agriculture approaches, which are of a very different nature. There's a lot both our countries can learn."

Slovenia, which borders Croatia, Austria, Hungary, Italy and a small portion of the Adriatic Sea, also holds its bee population in high regard, protecting the native Carniolan‚Äč variety and promoting its honey industry.

Since establishing the country's embassy in Australia in 2011, ambassadorial staff have helped spread the Honey Breakfast, a Slovenian campaign in which local beekeepers visit schools on the third Friday of November, to Canberra schools.

"Beekeepers have visited Garran Primary‚Äč and Hughes Primary and promoted healthy lifestyles and the importance of bees to the ecosystem," Ms Grilc said.

"We've had a lot of co-operation with local beekeepers."

Applications for the visa need to be made either through the Slovenian Embassy in Canberra or the Australian Embassy in Vienna.

A similar agreement with Australia and Slovakia also started in January.