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Working Holiday Visa in Canada - IEC 2020

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. 

The Working Holiday Visa (IEC program) is available in countries that have a consensual youth mobility arrangement with Canada. There are three different programs that fall under working holidays in Canada, all of them based on temporary work permits that last between 12 and 24 months, depending on your country of origin. 

If you haven’t settled on your career path but you are willing to work in an unskilled position with other young adults (for example ski resorts) or you are enrolled/have attained tertiary education outside of Canada, you can use the opportunity as a gap year in Canada. The difference between this program and others is that your amazing trip 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 professional working 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.

Working Holiday Visa Programs

Below you will find details about the three different working holiday visa programs, including the processes that are involved once you have applied. All of these options still require you to create an online profile that is scored according to set criteria (such as age and language proficiency) before a draw takes place and you are potentially offered an Invitation to Apply (ITA).   

How to Apply for a Working Holiday Visa in Canada

Man backpacks through Canada on working holiday

The Canadian Working Holiday Visa is the most popular option and has a strict quota that is filled every year. This visa is the most flexible in terms of a work-life balance as it allows you the obtain an open work permit which gives you the freedom to work anywhere in the country, for as long as you’d like before or after traveling through Canada’s picturesque wilderness. Your permit will be valid for 12 - 24 months depending on your nationality and where you apply from. If this program speaks to you, make sure to apply as soon as possible so as not to miss out.

  1. Create an online profile where you’ll be asked questions based on the criteria listed below.
  2. Wait for the draw to take place where you will need to receive an ITA. You need to complete your profile within 10 days of receiving this invitation.
  3. Submit your Working Holiday Canada permit within 20 days of receiving your ITA. For this, you’ll need your offer letter and fee payment secured.
  4. You will then be issued a Letter of Introduction which you will need to keep safe and take with you to Canada.

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 as of mid-2018, biometric data collection needs to take place at a designated venue before departure.

Consider these seasonal work possibilities:

  • 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

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 with 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 buy 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.