Working holiday visas

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I saw on Twitter today that Spain and Australia are in advanced talks to finally agree on a working holiday visa programme between the two countries. This came from the account of the Spanish embassy in Australia, so I imagine it’s fairly legitimate, although I haven’t been able to find any recent news about it elsewhere.

Here’s my translation:

We are confident that an agreement with Australia on Work and Holiday visas can be signed by the end of the year!

I think this is great. There is precious little relationship between Australia and Spain and it would be great to see more possibilities open up in this area. It certainly would have been a nice option to have when I first moved to Barcelona.

I’ve never understood why there was no agreement for working holidays visas between Spain and Australia, but today I read something that makes sense, although we’re moving into hearsay and rumour territory now.

Apparently it’s all got to do with Christopher Skase. The Australian businessman who declared bankruptcy and then fled to Mallorca. Somehow (read: bribes with lots of other peoples’ money) he managed to have his extradition from Spain denied based on health issues – even after he was obviously better – and Australia wasn’t happy about this.

So, the reason that there were no working holiday visas is that Australia has been in a tiff about corrupt spanish officials letting Skase off the hook, and more than 10 years after he died (and 20 years after the fact), they’re only just getting over it now.

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