In late March, the USIT travel agency went out of business due to a “tsunami” of effects sparked by the coronavirus crisis. For years USIT had assisted young people from Ireland and elsewhere navigate the rigours of moving to various destinations, including Canada.
I was once one of those young people. When I moved to Canada in 2011 aged 24 as a working holiday participant, I paid USIT hundreds of euro for some basic assistance that included hooking me up with an insurance provider, booking flights, and some guidance on completing a few forms.
Nearly a decade later, USIT was still providing a similar service. With good marketing and a sparkling drop-in office in Dublin city centre, USIT kept bringing in new clients who shared a common Canadian dream and a fear of the unknown.
If you were one of them, then you’re probably a bit startled now that USIT is suddenly no longer there to hold your hand. Maybe you don’t know if your insurance is still valid, if your flight will take off (and if it does, if you still have a seat), or if you can get this move done at all given the unprecedented circumstances.
Here’s what you need to know:
- The now-liquidated USIT has indicated that it will still answer all email enquiries to [email protected] If you were a USIT client and have a query, contact them. If cannot access the IEC pool or your profile as USIT made it on your behalf, contact USIT ([email protected]) to see if there’s a way for you to get access; otherwise, you may have to create a new profile yourself, in which case see below for information about Moving2Canada GO.
- To find out if your insurance remains valid, contact MAPFRE, the insurance underwriter for policies sold by USIT, at [email protected] MAPFRE continues to trade, and our sources in that company indicate that if your policy was incepted (i.e. the policy had actually begun) prior to USIT’s liquidation then that policy would remain valid. Please check with MAPFRE to make sure of the status of your policy.
- Most importantly, you can still have your hand held throughout this complex process – sign up for Moving2Canada GO.
Our mostly Irish team at Moving2Canada built GO for exactly this purpose: to give you all the information and resources you need, when you need them, for free. Moving2Canada GO delivers guidance on how and when to complete forms and gather documents, recommended insurance providers, and expert advice on getting jobs and navigating life in a new country, with regular reminders and personalized assistance. Since going live in December, Moving2Canada GO has helped thousands of working holiday applicants get shit done quickly and simply without needing to reach for a wallet or credit card. This saves you time and money for what really matters – getting out there and enjoying Canada.
So don’t let USIT’s demise get you down. In fact, things are about to get better once you sign up for free with Moving2Canada GO. It’s your move, made simple.
‘Genuinely every part of this site I have found so helpful, especially the checklist of things to do! But all the little things as well such as how to set up your phone and bank accounts. It’s truly amazing and makes me feel like I’m really wanted in Canada. Cannot compliment it enough.’ – Moving2Canada GO user Katie Fitzgerald
Hugo O’Doherty is Editor and Product Manager with Moving2Canada.