WYSE Travel Confederation and IAPA urge EU to support reciprocal UK Youth Mobility Scheme
Experiencing a different culture through an exchange programme allows young people to gain a deeper understanding of the world, themselves, and those around them. Participants of such cultural exchange programmes develop language and leadership skills, self-confidence and empathy, strengthening international relationships.
As a member of the EU for the last 25 years, the UK has actively been promoting and participating in the inbound and outbound mobility of students and young people. However, since 1 January 2021, EU citizens looking to embark on a cultural exchange programme in the UK must comply with domestic immigration laws, due to the curtailing of free movement following Brexit. This means that EU citizens keen to immerse themselves in British culture and learn English, through, for example, an au pair stay, do not have any visa route.
Despite the immense value of cultural exchange programmes, the UK Home Office has not provided a viable route for EU nationals to enter the UK.
WYSE Travel Confederation and its members, representing the global youth, student and educational travel industry, strongly believe in and support youth mobility and freedom of travel as a means to access vital exchange programmes and foster relationships between cultures.
Together with The International Au Pair Association (IAPA), and in support of all European au pair associations, WYSE Travel Confederation urges the EU to start negotiations with the UK regarding a reciprocal Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS). A mobility agreement would enable young Europeans between the ages of 18 and 30 to participate in au pair and other cultural exchange programmes in the UK, allowing them to obtain the same benefits as citizens in other parts of the world, such as Australia, Canada, Japan and New Zealand.
We request the support of the EU Commission and national governments in lobbying for a British visa option for young people in Europe to travel to the UK for an au pair experience or other cultural exchange programme.
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