Fewer young Hongkongers are planning working holidays in Japan. In the first round of working holiday applications, held in April, 352 people applied, the Japanese consulate says. That is the lowest number of applications since April 2014, when only 279 applied.
But because so few people signed up, almost everyone who applied was allowed to go. Of the 352 applicants, 347 were accepted. That means there are still 1,153 spots remaining for 2017.
The working holiday scheme between Japan and Hong Kong accepts applications twice a year, in April and October. Competition was the sharpest in October 2015 and April 2016, when less than one third of applicants were successful.
The scheme is open to Hong Kong residents aged between 18 and 30. Successful applicants can stay in Japan for up to one year, and take up short-term employment or study while there.
Young Post asked readers for their views on the working holiday visa scheme.
Shahryar Naeem, 19, from the University of Hong Kong, said that he would consider applying for this visa because the valuable working experience and cultural exchange in Japan could impress his future employers.
“But I would also consider the living conditions and working environment,” said Shahryar, adding if he had to do something harsh “such as farming, it would discourage me from applying for the programme”.
YP junior reporter Angelina Wang, 15, from Chinese International School, said the programme was interesting because it would let her learn more about Japanese culture, but she didn’t like the tough competition. “The application process isn’t easy, as only a third of last year’s applicants were successful,” she said. “That would put me off as I always need to plan ahead. If I didn’t have a guaranteed spot, I’d have to find other options.”