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This page contains detailed information on applying under the IEC Working Holiday work permit.

The 2023 IEC season closed on October 23. Check if you’re eligible for the 2024 IEC program by taking our free Canadian Immigration Quiz.

Interested in a working holiday visa in Canada in 2024? Find out about International Experience Canada (IEC) Working Holiday work permits (sometimes referred to as a Canada Working Holiday Visa) on this page.

What is the IEC Working Holiday Visa in Canada program?

It provides temporary work permits under the International Mobility Program to young foreign nationals from over 30 countries, so they can legally live and get a job in Canada. The permits are valid for either 12 or 24 months, depending on your country of citizenship.

Candidates must first create a profile, which notifies Canadian authorities of their desire to receive a working holiday visa in Canada. Successful candidates will receive an invitation to formally complete their application for a work permit, however this success is subject to eligibility and availability.

Who can apply?

View the full list of International Experience Canada participating countries, including the different categories of work permits that are available.

Personalized Guidance: Your Moving2Canada Account

Now that you’ve an idea of when to begin the IEC process, make sure to sign up for a free Moving2Canada account. Your account gives you access to tons of resources, including checklists with step-by-step instructions for your immigration process, job openings from Canadian employers looking to hire IEC participants, and much more!

Once you sign up for free, we’ll show you exactly where and how to create your IEC profile, plus a bunch of other important tasks to help you along the way.

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How to get a Working Holiday visa in Canada

You can create a profile on the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website.

Draws take place at “regular intervals”, where candidates are selected at random to receive an invitation to apply for a work permit, 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.

However, your best bet is to become a candidate as early as possible for a working holiday visa in Canada, as this IEC category is particularly popular. This will expose you to a greater number of these draws.

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

IRCC 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.

Here’s how to become a candidate, and receive an invitation to apply for an IEC working holiday visa in Canada.

IEC Canada Eligibility-  What are the Working Holiday visa requirements?

To be eligible to apply for an IEC Working Holiday Visa in Canada, candidates must:

  • Be a citizen (passport holder) of one of the 35 countries that have a “bilateral youth mobility agreement” with Canada. In other words, one of the IEC Working Holiday visa Canada participating countries OR be from the United States and apply through a recognized organization.
  • Have a valid passport for the duration of the stay in Canada (the work permit issued will not be longer than the validity of the passport).
  • Be between the ages of 18 and 30 or 35 (inclusive) at the time of application. The working holiday visa age limit depends on the applicant’s country of citizenship, as outlined in our International Experience Canada country list.
  • Have the equivalent of at least CAD$2,500 on landing to help cover initial expenses.
  • Be able to take out health insurance for the full duration of their Working Holiday Visa in Canada (participants will have to present evidence of this insurance at the point of entry in Canada). View providers and get quotes on our health insurance for Canada page.
  • Be admissible to Canada.
  • Have, prior to departure, a round-trip ticket or the financial resources to purchase a departure ticket for the end of their authorized stay in Canada.
  • Not be accompanied by dependants.
  • Pay the appropriate fees, as outlined in the ‘Apply for a work permit’ section below.
  • Citizens of certain countries are also required to be resident in their country of citizenship at the time they apply for their Working Holiday Visa in Canada.

Check out this guide for full details on all the documents you need for your IEC work permit application


Become a candidate- first step to apply for IEC Canada:

  • Complete the Come to Canada questionnaire. This is used as an initial assessment of your eligibility for an IEC work permit. If you meet the criteria, you’ll receive a personal reference code.
  • Enter this code to create your account.
  • Build your IEC visa profile.
  • Submit your profile and choose the IEC pool(s) you want to be in. Some candidates will only be eligible for one pool, while some may be eligible for more.
  • At this stage, it’s a case of waiting to be selected, as you’ll need to receive an invitation to apply (ITA) in order to continue the process. Where numbers in the pool greatly exceed the number of permits available, this will reduce your chances of receiving an ITA. Get the latest update on your chances at our Working Holiday Canada news hub.
  • If you receive an ITA, you will have 10 days start your application for a Working Holiday Visa in Canada, or to decline the invitation. If you do not accept or decline the  invitation within the 10 days, your working holiday IEC profile will be removed from the pool.

Second Step: Apply for an IEC work permit:

  • Once you press the ‘Start Application’ button to formally accept the ITA, you’ll have 20 days to submit your work permit application and pay any relevant fees.
  • In the IEC 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. They’ll need to send you the Offer of Employment number they receive so you can enter this in your application.
  • Gather and upload all the documents (e.g. police or medical certificates) requested by IRCC. If you don’t have these immediately, you can upload proof that you’ve applied for a police certificate or medical exam.
  • Pay relevant fees.
  • Submit your application.
  • IRCC 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 account. Bring this with you on your journey to Canada (as well as proof of travel insurance (health) and proof of funds) as you’ll need to present this to an immigration officer at a Port of Entry letter (POE), such as an airport or border crossing. This is where you’re provided with a work permit. Make sure you bring all of the documents required for your arrival in Canada.

What are the chances of getting a Working Holiday work permit?

Your chances of getting a Canadian working holiday visa depend on the country you are applying from. Some countries are more competitive than others. Draws from the Working Holiday pool are random, therefore the more people in the pool for your country, the less likely you are to get accepted. Likewise, each country has a different amount of working holiday permits they can issue. If you are from a country with a small quota, you are less likely to be selected.

What can you do to increase your chances of being successful?

Enter the pool as soon as the 2024 season opens. The longer you are in the pool, the more chances you have of being selected. Even though the 2023 program is currently closed, you can prepare all the information you need ahead of time to make sure you are ready to submit when the 2024  pools open. The Working Holiday permit is the most competitive of the 3 IEC programs. If your country offers the young professional program, try job searching in Canada to secure employment. Applying as a young professional increases your chances of being successful.

What is the age limit for the working holiday visa in Canada?

This depends on the country you are from as each program has a different age limit to participate, either 30 or 35 (inclusive).

Do you need proof of funds to apply for a Working Holiday visa for Canada?

A prerequisite to qualify for the IEC program is to be able to show at least $2500 CAD in funds. There is no need to show these funds as part of your work permit application however when you land in Canada with your port of entry letter to activate your work permit, you must present a bank statement no older than 7 days which shows you have the equivalent of $2500CAD. If you are unable to show this, you will not be issued your Working Holiday permit.

How much does the Working Holiday permit cost?

It does not cost anything to enter the IEC working holiday pool however if you are selected and go on to submit a work permit application, you will need to pay the appropriate processing fees. To get a Working Holiday Visa in Canada, it will be necessary to pay a processing fees of CAD$161, and an open work permit holder fee of CAD$100. In  addition to this, applicants will need to pay an $85 biometrics fee unless they have given biometrics in the 10 years preceding their application.

What documents do you need for a Working Holiday visa in Canada?

The documents you need to provide for your Working Holiday permit are quite straight forward. To make it even easier for you, we have come up with a handy guide on what documents you need to have ready for your IEC application.

How many IEC Work Permits will be issued in 2023?

There is expected to be around 90,000 IEC work permits issued in 2023. As this is a quota based system each country gets a quota on the number of permits it can issue. For instance, Australia has an unlimited number of permits it can issue, the United Kingdom has a quota of 10,000 where as Italy only has 1000.

How many IEC permits will be issued in 2024?

Based on annual trend increases, we can expect the 2024 annual quota to be between 95,000 and 100,000.

Can the work experience I gain on a Working Holiday permit be used to get Canadian permanent residency?

The Working Holiday permit is an open work permit which will allow you to work for any company, in any industry, in Canada, with few exceptions. This gives Working Holiday permit holders the opportunity to legally gain valuable Canadian work experience that can be used to support a permanent residence (PR) application. The type (TEER skill level) of work experience you will need will depend on the PR application you would like to make. For instance, if you are hoping to apply to the Express Entry pool, you will need skilled (TEER level 0,1,2 or 3) work experience. If you are gain lower skilled work experience, you will need to look for Provincial Nominee Programs. Either way, gaining Canadian work experience helps you on your way to become a permanent resident. Note that self employed work experience on the working holiday permit will not count towards your Canadian experience class eligibility.

Can my spouse join me on my Working Holiday visa?

As part of the eligibility criteria, applicants must not be accompanied by a dependant, including spouse or common law partner. however, there are ways your spouse/ common-law partner can join you in Canada.

  1. If they qualify for a Working Holiday visa, they can apply for one in their own name
  2. One you come to Canada and start working on your Working Holiday permit, your spouse or common- law partner could qualify for a Spousal Open Work Permit (SOWP) . A SOWP is an open work permit and will be issued for the same duration of your Working Holiday visa.

As there is a limited number of times you can get a working holiday visa, option 2 is often the best option for many applicants to give flexibility for future use of the Working Holiday program.

Other IEC categories

In countries where it is available, the Working Holiday Visa in Canada category is popular as it provides participants with an open work permit, which they can use to work with any employer. You may be eligible for, and interested in, these other categories:

Young Professionals Program

The Young Professionals category is designed for foreign youth, particularly post-secondary graduates, who wish to further their careers by gaining professional work experience in Canada.

Participants must have a signed employment offer letter or contract of employment with a Canadian employer before applying. If successful, they will be issued an employee- specific work permit.

Read our full guide to IEC Young Professionals Canada work permits.

International Co-op Internship Program

The International Co-op (Internship) category is designed for foreign youth who are enrolled at a post-secondary institution in their country of citizenship.

Applicants must want to complete a work placement or internship in Canada to fulfill part of their academic curriculum and be registered students for the duration of the internship. Permits issued under this category are generally valid for up to 12 months, though some participants may be issued a longer validity due to their citizenship.

Applicants must have a signed job offer letter or contract for a work placement or internship in Canada that meets the requirements of their academic curriculum in their country of citizenship. The eligibility requirements for the Working Holiday Visa in Canada, listed above, also apply to the International Co-op category.

Read our full guide to IEC International Co-op work permits.

Further help with your IEC application

Please explore our many resources to help you plan your application. Research is crucial as you plan for success in Canada.

IEC Health Insurance



Employment tips for IEC working holiday.

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