A working holiday is a temporary visa that allows you to work and travel in a country with the same standard as citizens. It is an excellent way to work to fund your travels in a foreign country. A lot of you may have done this before in Australia, New Zealand and the UK and been very surprised at how quick and easy the process is. From my past experiences, it has taken from 20 minutes up to 2 weeks to obtain my working holiday in these countries before.
Canada is not as easy and the immigration is quite strict and rightly so given the high tourist attraction that the country holds so I will give you all of our tips and tricks to ensure the process is as quick and easy as possible.
HOW TO APPLY
If you are looking on the canada.ca website, you will notice that it doesn’t give you an option for a ‘working holiday’ that is because it is called an IEC (International Experience Canada). Before you can fill out your application, the website will go through a brief eligibility review to see what programmes you are eligible for. If IEC pops up, your all good to go!
FILLING IN THE APPLICATION
The application for Canada is a lot more extensive than it is for Australia, New Zealand etc.. it is very important to be as thorough and precise as possible in your application form to avoid any potential delays down the line. Double-check every small detail, from your postcode down to your passport number. There are very small margins for error in the application process so try and avoid any mistakes.
INVITATION TO APPLY...
Once you have completed your initial application, you must wait for an ‘invitation to apply’ before you proceed further. This is to help break up the huge amount of applicants immigration receive each year. You will be placed in a pool dependant on your nationality and at different points throughout the year, immigration will invite several applicants to apply and fill up the spots.
You can check out when each round will start and end for your country, number of applicants in the pool and your chances of being invited HERE
GATHERING YOUR DOCUMENTS
While you are waiting for your invitation to apply it is a good idea to start gathering your documents now because when you receive your invite, you are only given a certain amount of time to obtain and submit all of your documents.
A requirement for IEC is that you must have a minimum of 6 months on your passport so don’t leave it until the last minute.
You must submit police certificates from every country you have spent 6 consecutive months in.
If you lived in either Queensland or Victoria for 6 months or more, you must provide a traffic report or evidence proving you have never held a Queensland or Victorian driver’s license.
If you are applying for a traffic report from Australia but you are not still there, it is quite complicated. You must have 3 proof ID stamped by a notary or a public figure and send the application of in the post with a money order in Australian dollars to pay the fee.
This will depend on your nationality and what line of work you wish to work in Canada. If you wish to work in medicine or with children, you will need to complete a medical exam.
Everybody is now required to give biometrics as a stage in the IEC process. This can be done anywhere in the world outside of Canada. It does not have to be in your own country
You are required by immigration to have travel insurance for the full length of your work permit. E.g 24 month work permit, 24-month insurance.
PROOF OF FUNDS
You must have a bank statement showing you have $2500 (Canadian Dollars) + funds for a return flight to support yourself while looking for employment in Canada.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER YOU RECEIVE YOUR INVITATION TO APPLY
Upon receiving your invitation you have 1 month to submit all your documents, you will also receive a request letter to obtain your biometrics. You can get your biometrics at a VAC, these are global and can be found pretty much anywhere in the world. You can find your closest VAC HERE.
PAYING THE FEES
The fees for your IEC application are $250 while your biometrics will cost a further $85. This is all that you have to pay to Canada immigration but don’t forget about the costs for your police certificates, traffic reports, insurance etc… It is a costly process but its Canada and it is beautiful and it will be worth it.
GETTING HELP WITH YOUR APPLICATION
It can be stressful and overwhelming at times but there is always help available when you need it. We highly recommend ‘O Canada! IEC Discussion & Support’ group on facebook. It is a group of highly educated admins that have had 1st hand experience in immigrating into Canada and you can find EVERY answer you have on their page!
You can also complete a web form request through canada.ca, however, they do get bombarded with requests and questions so you can imagine it might take a while to receive a response.
WHAT DO I NEED TO TAKE WITH ME
When you arrive at immigration, you will be asked for;
POE (letter you receive when you have your application approved)
Proof of insurance (check out Choosing the Right Insurance for You)
Proof of funds (recent bank statement within the last 7 days) Click HERE for budgeting tips.
All supporting documents (police certificates, traffic reports etc…
Our biggest tip to those applying for a working holiday in Canada is to be patient, I personally waited 7 months for an invitation to apply but once the process was complete it was such an overwhelming experience for me and Canada is a country full of beauty and opportunity so grab it with both hands.