If you’re living in Ireland and hoping to come to Canada on a Working Holiday Visa this year, you may have been alarmed at some of the media coverage in the past few days.
Numerous articles have been published, claiming that as few as 500 visas are left for 2017, from the full allocation of 7,700. The advice is that you need to act quick if you want to grab your hands on one.
In actual fact, we don’t know an exact figure and it could actually be a lot closer to 4,800.
The figure of 500 appears to be based on this assumption: 5,418 invites to apply for a visa have been sent so far for 2017, and there are 1,794 candidates remaining in the pool and hoping to receive an invite.
The data is coming from this page on the official Canadian immigration website. We’re familiar with that page – we use it every week to update our IEC News Hub.
If you add these figures together, you get 7,212. A conclusion seems to have been made that these 7,212 places are now filled, out of a total of 7,700 visas available.
Where this assumption falls apart, is that not all of those 5,418 invites would have successfully turned into a visa being issued. To obtain a visa, candidates go through a two-step process:
1. You create a profile, in order to receive an invite to apply for a visa. 5,418 such invites have been sent.
2. Once you get an invite, you can formally apply for your visa.
There are many reasons why people who advance to step two will be rejected, and will therefore not receive a visa.
They may not get their documents submitted in time (the 20-day deadline catches a lot of people out), they may have lost interest in a move to Canada, or it may be found out that the candidate is ineligible for the program.
In some cases, the same candidate will have received an invite, been rejected, and then received a second invite – that would mean two invites for only one candidate.
This means the 5,418 invites is an unreliable benchmark against which to base the number of visas that are remaining. An invite does not mean a visa will definitely be issued.
For example, in 2016, 7,675 invites were sent out to Irish working holiday visa holders, and by the time the pools had closed, just 4,384 visas had actually been issued.
A more reliable indicator is the ‘Spots available’ figure that same official web page offers. At present, it states that 4,835 spots for Ireland are still available – not 500.
Of course, some – but not all – of these 4,835 spots will be filled up by the candidates remaining in the pool who are awaiting an invite, and those who have already received invites but not yet received a visa.
As of now, all 4,835 are still up for grabs, and anyone who submits interest today in receiving an invite has the same chance as any of the 1,794 currently in the pool. The issuing of invites is done randomly, and not on a first-come, first-served basis.
Each of the articles that ran with the claim that as few as 500 visas were still available urged those who are interested to act fast. This is advice we concur with.
We encourage people to be organized, and to plan for their visas as soon as they can. Once you have it, you have 12 months to arrive in Canada and begin your two-year working holiday.
So even if you wanted to arrive in May 2018, you could create a profile now if you wanted, knowing that the earliest you’d get your visa would be May 2017, and you would have a full year to complete your move to Canada.
If you want more advice and videos to help you fill out the forms, you can read our Working Holiday Visa in Canada guide here. Our IEC Facebook forum has 11,000 members where you can join discussions and ask for help.