France and Australia sign work visa deal

24th November 2003, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Nov 24 (AFP) - A new visa accord between France and Australia allowing young people from each country to work in the other for up to a year was hailed as a big boost to bilateral ties by the Australian ambassador here Monday.

PARIS, Nov 24 (AFP) - A new visa accord between France and Australia allowing young people from each country to work in the other for up to a year was hailed as a big boost to bilateral ties by the Australian ambassador here Monday.

"This is the most important development in bilateral relations between our two countries in years," ambassador William Fisher said in a statement.

Political relations between Paris and Canberra have been strained in the past, most notably over the US war on Iraq, which was strongly supported by Australian Prime Minister John Howard.

But Monday French Deputy Foreign Minister Renaud Muselier and Australian officials signed the working visa agreement and another accord, reinforcing cooperation in the fight against illegal fishing in Antarctic waters, in Canberra as a step to thawing relations.

According to the embassy statement, the visa deal will from January next year permit Australians and French people aged between 18 and 30 to apply for the right to spend up to a year in the other country.

During that time, they will be allowed to take on "incidental work," which is defined as spending less than three months with any one employer.

Similar schemes have long existed between Australia, Canada and Britain, among other countries, but political tensions have up to now precluded Australia and France signing an agreement.

Under the existing arrangement, Australia accepted nearly 90,000 foreigners over the past two years.

Fisher said there would be no quota on the number of French people who would be able to go to Australia under the scheme. His statement said the new accord was expected to boost tourism between both countries.

© AFP

                                                                Subject: French news



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