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Working Holiday Visa (IEC 2021)

Are you looking for an adventurous way to work and travel overseas? Apply for a working holiday visa in Canada which gives you the opportunity to stay in amazing cities like Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal, working part-time while traveling through the breathtaking expanses of the country. The International Experience Canada (IEC) program provides young individuals with the opportunity to do all this and more.  

Working Holiday Visa in Canada - IEC 2021



The Working Holiday Visa is part of the International Mobility Program (IEC) and is available to citizens of 34 countries that have a consensual youth mobility arrangement with Canada. The Working Holiday Visa is a temporary open work permit that lasts between 12 and 24 months, depending on your country of origin.

This popular visa category is designed for adventurous young adults who want to travel while working part-time in Canada. It’s ideal for those who haven’t settled on a career path yet and are looking for gap year opportunities abroad. If you’re a travel influencer or simply love to travel, backpack, and explore new places for a few months, then the unspoiled wilderness and urban splendor of Canada awaits you.

The best thing about the Working Holiday Visa is that it will allow you to earn money so that you can fund your travels during your stay. This is a great way to pay off all your expenses you will incur while in Canada.

You will also gain valuable Canadian work experience to better compete in the global economy. Your career horizons will broaden by working with people who have diverse cultural backgrounds while learning new approaches to doing business, experiencing a different country, and developing your language skills.

What You Need to Know About the Working Holiday Visa

Below you will find details about the working holiday visa program, including eligibility requirements and the application process as well as the steps that are involved once you have applied. When will Canada open the 2021 IEC season? Pools for the IEC season 2021 did not open in December, 2020 as expected due to the impact of COVID-19. There has been no official announcement for the opening date of the 2021 IEC season. Most likely, Canada will open the pools a few months into the new year. But if you already have your Port Of Entry (POE) letter you may qualify for a 12-months extension.

Don’t let uncertainty stop you from getting the ball rolling, there is a lot of preparation you can do beforehand and we can help you with a complete IEC Working Holiday checklist!

Who Can Apply for the Working Holiday Visa?

Take a look at the list below to see if you are a citizen of one of the qualifying countries!


Eligible Countries in the International Experience Canada (IEC) Program
AustraliaAustriaBelgium
ChileCosta RicaCroatia
Czech RepublicDenmarkEstonia
FranceGermanyGreece
Hong KongIrelandItaly
JapanKorea, Rep.Latvia
LithuaniaLuxembourgMexico
NetherlandsNew ZealandNorway
PolandPortugalSan Marino
SlovakiaSloveniaSpain
SwedenSwitzerlandTaiwan
UkraineUnited Kingdom

How to Apply for a Working Holiday Visa in Canada

Man backpacks through Canada on working holiday

The Canadian Working Holiday Visa is an extremely popular option and has strict quotas for each county that is filled every year. The application process is a 2-step process that consists of creating an online profile and submitting a complete application. Here are the most important initial steps:

  • Step 1: Create an online profile where you’ll be asked questions based on the criteria listed below.
  • Step 2: Wait for the draw to take place where you will need to receive an invitation. You need to complete your profile within 10 days of receiving this invitation.
  • Step 3: Submit an application within 20 days of receiving your ITA.

You need the following to apply:

  • Valid passport;
  • Be a part of the 34 participating countries;
  • Aged 18-35 (the cut-off is 30 for certain countries);
  • $2, 500 to cover initial expenses;
  • Health insurance;
  • Round-trip ticket or sufficient funds to cover one; and
  • No dependents

This program is very popular and has a capped quota of applicants, so it’s crucial to get your application started as soon as possible. Another aspect to keep in mind is that you need to include biometric data, including electronic fingerprints at a designated venue in your home country before departure.

Where to Work in Canada on a Working Holiday?

Your job search can wait until you are physically in Canada but you can also start looking and planning remotely. Are you looking for resort-based work? Casual, part-time shift work? An internship to begin an exciting career? Or something completely different? Thinking long and hard about how you want to spend your 12-months or more in Canada, may help you establish a solid plan and an epic trip itinerary which will help you reach all of your goals to make the most of your Working Holiday!

Job ideas for Working Visa Holiday holders:

  • Farms and ranches that offer jobs working with horses or picking fruit from fragrant orchards;
  • Ski resorts that offer instructor positions or hotel work;
  • Summer camp guides and instructors; and
  • Retail and delivery work

Additional IEC Programs

Young Professionals

Woman sits in a boardroom on her working holiday

The Young Professionals Program is aimed at secondary graduates who have studied already and are seeking employment in Canada. This is a wonderful opportunity to gain working experience in the country, paving the way for future immigration plans or simply gaining a global outlook on working life. It can also connect you with further working opportunities in Canada that might broaden your field of expertise. 

The only major requirement for this type of working holiday visa is a signed letter of employment from a Canadian company. It’s up to you to organize this aspect and make sure you adhere to the other criteria (such as a valid passport) before applying to the program. If successful, you are granted a temporary working visa for 12-24 months with the option of extending depending on how long your company wishes for you to stay on as well as what documentation they can provide to motivate an extension. 

Industries that you are likely to find skilled work in include:

  • Science
  • Law
  • Health
  • Education
  • Commerce
  • Communication

International Co-op Internship

Colleagues have a meeting during a working holiday abroad

The International Co-op Internship is a wonderful program for those that are still studying at a post-secondary institution in their country of origin. You can acquire valuable overseas work experience related to your field of study. This is for students who intend to complete a work placement or internship in Canada as part of their academic curriculum. You will need to find work that is relevant to your field and makes sense in terms of furthering your skills.

The eligibility requirements are the same as those for the Canadian Working Holiday Visa except that there is less flexibility in the sense that you will need to acquire a job offer/letter of employment to process your application. This permit is generally only valid for a 12-month period as most internships will not exceed this. It’s also important that you check if your country of citizenship is participating in the internship program before applying. 

Top Tips Before You Go to Canada With a Working Holiday Visa 

So, you may be all set in terms of documentation and you have received your ITA but there are still some specifics that you need to prepare for once in Canada. Here are some tips for you to consider before you set off to visit this vibrant nation.

  • Make plans to hire a car or get familiar with the public transport system;
  • Save up for expenses that arise before your first paycheck;
  • Make sure you have the correct certifications for the industry you plan to work in eg. Occupational First Aid or Food Safe for the hospitality industry;
  • Don’t forget to apply for your tax refund at the end of the financial year;
  • Apply for travel insurance for the year;
  • Get a local sim card (useful for contacting your workplace as well);
  • Set up a bank account; and
  • Find an affordable money-transfer app.

Make use of our services to ensure that you get a full profile assessment, choosing the correct working holiday visa program for your background. We assist you in collecting all the necessary documents and guide you through your application process. Apply today to join other young professionals in their journey to discover all that Canada has to offer. 

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