Working Holiday Visa in Canada

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Are you interested in experiencing a working holiday visa in Canada, also known as International Experience Canada, IEC visa or working holiday Canada?

This section will provide you with an overview of all the relevant steps required steps for this type of immigration to Canada, which allows you to get a job in Canada for either 12 or 24 months.

Please read the information and associated links carefully. Errors in the application process can be costly and delay your immigration to Canada.

NOTE: On November 30, 2015, several changes were announced for the 2016 application procedure. The information below has been updated to reflect this.


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Who can apply?

International Experience Canada (IEC) is a working holiday visa in Canada program. It allows people from many different countries under 35 years of age to work in Canada for a temporary period. Citizens of some countries are eligible for two back-to-back one year periods.

Citizens of participating countries can now begin creating their 2016 profile. The full list of participating countries is:

Australia Austria Belgium
Chile Costa Rica Croatia
Czech Republic Denmark Estonia
France Germany Greece
Hong Kong Ireland Italy
Japan Korea Latvia
Lithuania Netherlands New Zealand
Norway Poland Slovakia
Slovenia Spain Sweden
Switzerland Taiwan UK

How to get a working holiday visa in Canada

You can obtain a working holiday visa in Canada through the International Experience Canada (IEC) program. Apply directly to the Embassy of Canada to avoid paying any fees to agents for vague additional services.

What’s changed in 2016?

A new application process was revealed in November 2015 for those hoping to participate in the 2016 program.

One of the biggest changes is you no longer need to wait until the early months of the new year to begin the application procedure.

The new system will draw applicants at random at “regular intervals” until all places are filled for the year. This means you can create a profile and become a candidate at your leisure, any time after the opening date for your country.

You’ll be asked to enter one or more ‘pools’ as determined by country and visa category. ‘Australia: Working Holiday’ and ‘Ireland: Young Professionals’ would be examples of pools.

CIC has committed to giving at least five days notice before each country’s and category’s final rounds of invitations, which will mark the closure of that pool for the season.

Read more about the 2016 changes at these links:

The following is a general overview of the IEC visa process to achieve your working holiday Canada visa:

Become a candidate:

  • Complete the Come to Canada questionnaire. This is used as an initial assessment of your eligibility. If you meet the criteria, you’ll receive a personal reference code.
  • Enter this code to create your MyCIC account.
  • Build your IEC profile.
  • Submit your profile and choose the IEC pool(s) you want to be in. Some candidates will only be eligible for one pool, some will be eligible for more.
  • At this stage, it’s a case of waiting for the IEC rounds for your pool to begin. You’ll need to receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) to continue the process.
  • If you receive an ITA via MyCIC, you will have 10 days start your application for a work permit, or to decline the invitation.

Apply for a work permit:

  • If you choose to accept the ITA, you’ll have 20 days from the day it’s received to submit your work permit application and pay any relevant fees.
  • In the Young Professional and International Co-op categories, your employer also needs to pay the CAD$230 employer compliance fee through the employer portal before the 20 days expire.
  • Gather and upload all the documents (e.g. police or medical certificates) requested by CIC. If you don’t have these immediately, you can upload proof that you’ve applied for a police cert or medical exam.
  • Pay relevant fees. For working holiday visas, it will be necessary to pay a participation fee of CAD$150, and an open work permit holder fee of CAD$100.
  • The CIC will assess your application and may request additional documents.
  • If your application is a success, a letter of introduction (LOI) will be sent to your MyCIC account. Bring this with you on your journey to Canada as you’ll need to present this to an immigration officer at a Port of Entry (POE), such as an airport or border crossing. This is where you’re provided with a work permit.

Further help with your IEC visa

You can post questions to Moving2Canada’s IEC forum, where thousands have gathered to provide help and guidance to one another.

Use the magnifying glass in the top-right to search through previous queries and see if you can get instant answers.

Achieving your working holiday visa for Canada is pretty straightforward if you are willing to study the available resources. Please read all the available guidelines and documents.

Once you have your application under way you can review these guides for more help:

For more information, see these links:

For guidance on obtaining police certs (or Garda certs), see here:

Finally, ensure you have a friend double-check everything because making mistakes can cost you a few months or result in rejection. Best of luck!

2016 IEC application procedure

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