Canada Working Holiday Visa – A Complete Guide

Canadian sign

Article Updated On: 25/01/22

NOTE: Applications for 2022 IEC Working Holiday visas are now being accepted. Here’s how to get your visa.

The Working Holiday Program enables young individuals to live, work and travel in Canada for up to two years.

This is your chance to sample everything that Canada has to offer, experience a new way of living, and enhance your resume.

What’s more, if you have ambitions of staying in Canada for the longer term, you can potentially apply to become a permanent resident.

In this guide, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about the Canadian Working Holiday Program and show you how to easily apply for your visa online.

What is the Canadian IEC program and what is the difference with the Canadian Working Holiday visa (WHV)?

The International Experience Canada (IEC) program is for young adults who want to live and work in Canada for a limited time.

The IEC program gives the opportunity to foreigners to gain experience while working in Canada and may serve as the first step toward permanent residency.

You can apply for a Working Holiday Visa in Canada through the IEC.

The IEC visa has three categories:

  • Working Holiday
  • International Co-op
  • Young Professionals

 
The Working Holiday program, which does not require a job offer in advance, is the most popular IEC program.

Before applying to the Young Professionals program, individuals must secure a job in Canada. Meanwhile, the International Co-op program is designed for students who have secured a co-op placement in Canada.

Visa First’s specialists can provide assistance with the Canadian Working Holiday Visa.

What is a Canadian Working Holiday Visa?

The Canadian Working Holiday Visa allows young adults from eligible countries to work in Canada while travelling across the country.

It provides temporary work permits which are valid for either 12 or 24 months depending on the country of the visa holder.

If you want to apply for the visa on your own, you must first create a profile, which informs the Canadian authorities of your interest to get a Working Holiday Visa.

Candidates that are successful will be invited to formally complete their application.

If you think you might need help, Visa First’s experts can assist you with the whole process.

Nonresident in Canada looking at a lake

What is the age limit for the Working Holiday Visa in Canada?

Young individuals between the ages of 18 and 30 (or 35 for some nationalities) from one of 36 eligible countries can create a profile and, if qualified, be included in their country’s pool of candidates for their chosen category.

Can you get a Working Holiday Visa for Canada if you are over 30?

It depends on your nationality.

Applicants from some countries will not be able to apply if they are over the age of 30.

Meanwhile, other applications will be entitled to apply up to the age of 35.

2022 Canada Working Holiday Visa Infographic By Visa First

Who can apply for a Canadian Working Holiday Visa?

This program is suitable for you if:

  • You don’t have a job offer
  • You would like to work for more than one employer
  • You want to work in multiple locations
  • You want to work and earn money while you travel

You can apply for a Canadian Working Holiday Visa if:

  • You are a passport holder of one of the 36 countries (listed below)
  • You meet the age requirements
  • You do not have a criminal record
  • You are medically fit to travel
  • You have access to at least CA$2,500 to support yourself for the first three months of your stay in Canada

How to prepare for the IEC season in 2022?

There are three main steps that you will have to go through.

  1. Create and submit an account through the IRCC portal
  2. Receive an invitation to apply
  3. Submit your work permit application

We understand that this process may seem overwhelming and stressful, and that’s where we are ready to help you.

Our visa experts are ready to provide you with professional assistance through each one of these steps and help you secure your Working Holiday Visa for Canada.

When will Canada open the 2022 IEC season?

The pools for the 2022 season are already open.

As of January 13, interested participants from the participating countries can submit their profiles to the various IEC pools, including the famous Working Holiday program.

All pools are open now and will send out their first invitations the week of January 17.

Because of the COVID-19, the last two IEC seasons were smaller than expected. While quotas for the 2022 IEC season are large, the pandemic makes it hard to predict how many participants will be accepted this year.

Toronto, Canada at night

In order to compete in the 2022 IEC pools, candidates must be completely vaccinated.

You do not have to create a new profile and can still receive an invitation to apply (ITA) if you:

  • if you have already created a profile and it’s active (for example in 2021)
  • you did not get an ITA

Our visa experts can assist you with personalized guidance for the whole IEC process.

What does ITA mean in Canada?

ITA is the abbreviation of invitation to apply, as we already mentioned above.

There are different types of ITAs, depending on the program you are applying for.

What happens after you receive an invitation to apply (ITA)?

If you are invited, you have 10 days to accept or decline the invitation. If you accept it, you will have 20 days to prepare and submit your work permit application.

Of course, if you decide that you need guidance, Visa First’s professionals can provide you with assistance through the whole process.

How many times can you participate in IEC Canada?

International Experience Canada (IEC) may allow you to participate more than once.

It is subject to the agreement between Canada and your home country.

If you are permitted to participate a second time, you may be required to wait a certain period of time before doing so.

Citizens of the following countries should go through this waiting period:

  • Croatia
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Mexico
  • Poland
  • Slovakia
  • Spain

How hard is it to get the IEC Working Holiday Visa?

All IEC countries have quotas.

Some nations have higher limits, making it easier to acquire a Working Holiday Visa for Canada.

A good example is Australia which has an unlimited amount of visas available.

Some countries, however, have smaller quotas and high demand. You will not receive an invitation if you are not a part of the IEC pool, regardless of your citizenship, so make sure you enroll as soon as possible (or ask for assistance) to enhance your chances.

working holidaymakers in Canada

What documents do I need for a Working Holiday Visa in Canada?

1. Copy of the Bio-Data page of your passport

Your passport must be valid both upon applying to the IEC program and upon entry to and departure from Canada. The work permit validity cannot exceed the validity of your passport, as well as the maximum validity will not be issued for longer than the validity of your passport.

2. You will need an up-to-date resume

3. A passport photo

4. Police certificate

You must provide a police certificate, which is a copy of your criminal record, or a declaration of the absence of any criminal records from each country where you have lived for more than six months (in a row) since the age of 18.

Police certificates are different in each country and may be called judicial record extracts, police clearance certificates, good conduct certificates, etc.

They are issued by police authorities or government departments and are used by Citizen and Immigration Canada (CIC) to determine a person’s admissibility to enter Canada.

5. Proof of means of financial support

You must provide evidence of or equivalent to  CAN $2500 to help cover your expenses in Canada.

The evidence may include:

  • bank statements for the past four months
  • a bank draft in convertible currency
  • any other proof.

6. Biometrics

Starting July 31, 2018, nationals from countries in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East will be required to provide biometrics (fingerprints and a photo) if they are applying for Canadian Working Holiday Visa. Once applied for the visa, you will receive a request letter with instructions.

How can I stay in Canada after IEC and after my Working Holiday Visa has expired? What is the Express Entry system?

It is possible to use an IEC as a path to gain permanent residency.

The Canadian Experience Class is an immigration program for those with at least one year of work experience in Canada.

Participants in the IEC may also be eligible for the Federal Skilled Worker Class (FSWC) or the Federal Skilled Trades Class (FSTC).

The Express Entry system in Canada manages all three of these immigration programs.

It is an electronic system that manages the applications of skilled workers who want to become permanent residents of Canada.

Where can I work on a Working Holiday in Canada?

Your job hunt can wait until you arrive in Canada, but you can start looking and planning beforehand.

You need to ask yourself some questions.

Do you want to work at a resort? An internship to kick-start a rewarding career? Working a casual, part-time shift? Or how about something entirely different?

Job opportunities for Working Holiday Visa holders include working in:

  • a winter resort (any positions from ski instructor to a receptionist or even accountant)
  • the retail industry
  • hotels/ bars / restaurants
  • summer camps
  • farms, ranches
  • au pair

and more.

Thinking in advance about how you want to spend your 12-months or more in Canada may help you build a strong plan and amazing trip schedule that will help you achieve all of your working holiday goals.

Montreal, Canada

Can au pairs come to Canada on a Working Holiday Visa?

Yes, as mentioned above because Canada has no formal au pair program or au pair visa.

That being said, young people may apply for a Working Holiday visa and work as au pairs.

What do I need to get a Working Holiday Visa for Canada?

To get a Working Holiday Visa in Canada, you must:

  • be between 18 and 30 (in some countries 29 or 35 is the limit)
  • be coming from a country that has signed an agreement with Canada
  • have a two-way ticket or sufficient funds to buy one
  • have WHV insurance which covers health and repatriation costs for the duration of your stay in Canada
  • Not have participated in the Working Holiday category of International Experience Canada before
  • Have sufficient funds (as already mentioned above)
  • Have a passport that is valid for the duration of your stay and is from an eligible country
  • Not be accompanied by dependants

Visa First’s team can assist you with the entire process and documentation.

How do I apply for a Canadian Working Holiday Visa?

When applying for your visa, you have two main options to consider.

Apply directly with IEC

If you select this option, you will need to read all the instructions, FAQs, and information on the IEC website.

You will need to follow the application process step-by-step – and you will need to create an online IEC profile.

The advantage of this option is that you can keep your costs to a minimum. However, you alone will be responsible for your application.

Аpply with an agent

If you don’t want to complete the application yourself, you can choose the help of an agent.

Visa First will help you with your visa paperwork and even boost your chances of a successful outcome.

Visa First provides a fast and convenient service – removing the hassle, and time associated with applying for travel visas and employment permits.

Our team will answer all the questions you may have and help you through the entire process securely from start to finish.

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