A delay in the implementation of the memorandum signed between Australia and Greece is recorded by several relevant press releases.
The Memorandum of Understanding between Australia and Greece was the result of an initiative launched by the Greek Community of Melbourne but its resolution had been pending since 2014.
According to the bilateral agreement, 500 young people from Greece, aged between 18 and 30, will be eligible to apply to stay in Australia for one year and undertake short-term work and study. The same reciprocal conditions will also allow young Australians to work and holiday in Greece. The Working Holiday visa (subclass 417) and the Work and Holiday visa (subclass 462) allow holders to work for up to six or 12 months respectively.
Although the issue was supposedly resolved following the agreement ratification by the Greek parliament in July, as well as the official announcement and publication in the Greek Government Gazette (ΦΕΚ B’ 4488/2017), prospective applicants are still in limbo since Greece is still not one of the countries eligible for the visa, as Neos Kosmos reports.
As Ioannis Ferentinos, Head of the Mission at the Canberra Consular Office, told reporters, “We are waiting for a Government Circular which would outline the framework and provisions of the program.”
Citizens who have talked with Greek officials reported that the latter claim they have not received official directives yet, which is also the case for the Greek Embassy in Australia.
The Greek General Secretariat for Lifelong Learning & Youth of the Ministry of Education Research and Religious Affairs is in charge of the program’s commencement, however, no official time frame has been set yet.
A spokesperson for the Australian Department of Home Affairs responded to Neos Kosmos, saying that “Australia remains committed to progressing discussions with Greece on a reciprocal Work and Holiday visa arrangement between our countries,” adding that once a commencement date for the arrangement has been mutually agreed by both partner countries, details of the Work and Holiday visa program will be published on the Department of Home Affairs’ website.