WHM visas: Age cap for Canadians set to increase to 35 from 1 November 2018

It appears to finally be happening. After a false start, finally, the age limit for Subclass 417 – Working Holiday visas is set to increase. It will, however, only apply to one country: Canada.

A media release by the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a decent source as any, states that from 1 November 2018, the age cap for Canadian passport holders will increase to 35 years of age. They cite the changing nature of cultural exchange including the delay in undertaking a gap year, which is usually known to be taken after finishing secondary school.

What many may not realise is that these cultural exchange programs are negotiated with each individual country and not as a whole. The issue for Australia’s migration regulations was that there was no scope in raising the age limit for each individual country of passport. This was fixed on 1 July 2017, with the regulations changed to specify an upper age limit of 35, or a maximum age limit according to the relevant instrument. While this had no practical effect at the time, it provided a mechanism to increase the age limit quickly, and importantly, by country (due to the need for bilateral agreements).

While the current instrument has yet to change, given the source of the announcement, it would be expected a new instrument would be released closer to the implementing date.