How to get a Working Holiday Visa in Canada

Working holiday visa in Canada
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Updated 2022-09-23 14:23

Would you like to travel to Canada and work to finance your trip? This article should interest you. Here are some guidelines on the terms of the Canada Working Holiday Permit (WHV).

The Canadian Working Holiday Visa is only available to nationals of countries that have a mobility agreement with Canada: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Ukraine, UK.

Good to know:

Working Holiday Visa holders can work anywhere in Canada, for any employer, for up to two years. The duration allowed varies depending on the nationality of the applicant.

If you are granted a WHV, you are free to find full-time work or to take on odd jobs across Canada. You can also take a training program lasting less than six months. This may, for example, allow you to take English lessons.

Conditions to be eligible for the Working Holiday Visa in Canada

There are certain conditions that must be met before you can access the WHV in Canada. These are as follows:

1.Your age

To apply for the WHV, it is important to check what the conditions are for the agreement signed between your country and Canada. The minimum age is usually 18 years old, while the maximum age is either 30 years old or 35 years old.

2. Having a valid passport

Your passport must cover your entire stay in Canada: remember to renew it before applying for your work permit if it expires soon. Your passport must also have a minimum of one blank page for your permit to be affixed, but make sure that it is not the last page of the passport.

Your passport could be different from the one you used when you applied for the Canadian WHV in case it was lost or stolen, but there shouldn't be any issue as long as the new one you present to the immigration in Canada is valid for the full duration of your stay in Canada.

3. Having sufficient funds

You will need to have at least CAD 2,500 in your bank account before departure. You will also need to purchase a one-way airline ticket (or a round-trip ticket if you have already planned your return date) or prove that you can afford to buy one.

It is common to be asked for proof of funds less than seven days old upon arrival in Canada. In addition to these funds, you will also need to prove that you can purchase a return air ticket (in case you have only purchased a single ticket). It is recommended that you buy your air ticket after you have your work permit.

4. Having a health insurance policy

To obtain your permit, it is essential to take out expat health insurance that covers hospitalization and repatriation and will be valid for the whole duration of your stay.

Medical costs in Canada are much higher than in Belgium, Luxembourg or France. It is, therefore, of the utmost importance to be insured when you leave. You should expect to pay approximately 350 euros for one year's insurance and just over double that for two years.

Please note that your work holiday visa will depend a lot on the number of months you take out insurance. If your insurance was taken out for three or six months, the authorities would not give you a permit beyond that number of months. This is something you really need to consider as you will not be able to renew your WHV afterward.

5. First-time participation

Only one WHV is allowed per person in Canada. However, there are exceptions, such as bi-nationals who can have two WHVs under two different nationalities. For example, a Franco-Belgian person is eligible to obtain a WHV for two years as a French person and another for one year as a Belgian.

However, this does not apply to you if you have done a WHV in one or more other countries.

6. Having a clean criminal record

To be admitted to Canada, it is important that you do not pose any risk to the internal security or health of the country. People with criminal records may be banned from entering Canada, including arrests for drug use or drunk driving.

7. The quota per country

Unfortunately, applying for the permit does not mean that you will be automatically accepted. A specific number of places are available for each country. For English-speaking countries, the quota per year per country is :

  • Australia – Unlimited number of places per year
  • Austria – 165 places per year
  • Denmark – 350 places per year
  • Germany – 4,490 places per year
  • Hong Kong – 250 places per year
  • Ireland – 10,500 places per year
  • Sweden – 580 places per year
  • UK – 5,000 places per year

8. Other formalities

You will also need to include a CV and a cover letter with your application.

Some of these requirements may vary depending on your country of origin. Check the Canadian Immigration Services website to find out what applies to you.

When you arrive in Canada, immigration officials at the airport may ask you to prove that you meet the conditions of the program. Keep your proof-of-funds documents, insurance certificate, and airline ticket with you in the cabin so that you can show them if necessary. The agents will also ask you to show the letter of introduction that you will receive if you are awarded the WHV.

Documents required to apply for the Working Holiday Visa in Canada

To apply for the Working Holiday Visa in Canada, you are required to produce the following:

  • A passport-size photo
  • Your passport
  • An up-to-date CV
  • An IMM5707 form: for your family information
  • Medical evidence: to demonstrate your health status
  • Police certificate(s): in case you have ever been arrested, detained or charged with a crime. A certificate will also be required if you have lived in a foreign country for more than six months; you will need to have a certificate from the country in question to hand.

Fees for your WHV application

A fee of CAD 341 (as of June 2022) is applicable to a WHV application and is broken down as follows

  • CAD 100 for the open work permit fee
  • CAD 156 for the CIS fee
  • CAD 85 for the biometric fee (During your application, you will be required to have your biometric data taken and this process must be done at a center approved by the Canadian government).

Steps to follow to apply for a Working Holiday Visa in Canada

The first step is to register in the International Experience Canada (IEC) pool, of which the WHV is a part. Registration in this pool is free of charge. The Canadian immigration services, which manage these programs, regularly hold invitation rounds during which candidates are invited to apply for the permit of their choice. The schedule of these invitation rounds can be found on the Government of Canada website.

For the WHV, the first round of invitations is usually held around October. All IEC permits are limited to a certain number of recipients per year, so it's possible that you don't get the WHV, even if you meet the requirements. This is because the number of applications to the WHV pool exceeds the quotas offered by Canada each year. In addition, invitations are distributed randomly, so there is no way to improve your record.

If you happen to find an employer in Canada before getting there, it should be easier for you to get one of the two other permits offered by EIC: the Young Professionals permit and the International Co-op permit. You could also study in Canada. It's worth noting that French students in Quebec benefit from a reduction in the tuition fees normally charged to international students.

Good to know:

If you want to go to Canada as a couple, you should be aware that you will both need to obtain your own WHV. However, holders of a Study Permit or Young Professionals Permit can help their spouse to obtain an open work permit in Canada. You must prove that you have been in a relationship for at least 12 months.

If you get the WHV and you would like to bring your children, they can get a visitor's permit or a study permit. You can find more information about this on the Canadian government website.

What is the budget for living in Canada?

Below is a breakdown of the costs of living in Canada (source Numbeo; as of June 2022):

 

Currency: US Dollars (USD)

Rent

 

1-bedroom flat (in the city center)

1,228.52

1-bedroom flat (outside the city center)

1,030.72

3-bedroom flat (city center)

2,004.68

3-bedroom flat (outside the city center)

1,735.90

Utilities

 

Water, electricity, air conditioning, heating, waste collection for an 85m² apartment

137.21

Internet (60 Mbps or more, ADSL/cable, unlimited data)

64.20

Transportation

 

1 ticket (one way) for local transport

2.54

Monthly pass for local transport

78.27

Shopping/groceries

 

Rice (1 kg)

3.12

Milk (1 L)

2.04

12 eggs (normal size)

3.04

Bread (500 g)

2.40

Chicken (1 kg)

11.11

Red meat (1 kg)

13.69

Oranges (1 kg)

3.45

Bananas (1 kg)

1.42

Apples (1 kg)

3.62

Potatoes (1 kg)

2.37

Onions (1 kg)

2.28

Water (1.5 L)

1.74

Wine (mid-range bottle)

12.50

Local beer (0.5 L)

2.81

Imported beer (0.33 L)

3.09

Cigarettes (pack of 20)

12.52

Leisure

 

Movie theatre - 1 seat

11.70

Sports club - monthly cost for 1 person

41.59

 

Work and wages in Canada

When looking for a job in Canada, it is good to know that minimum wages vary from city to city. For example, in British Columbia, for a small job, you can earn around CAD 15.65 per hour, while in Saskatchewan, you can only expect CAD 11.80 per hour.

A very useful tool to help you make good employment decisions is Explore the Market, a resource created by the Canadian government that will allow you to see the wages across Canada for each trade.

Once you've decided which part of the country to move to, you can start your job search online! There are several websites dedicated to job hunting in Canada, including Jobbank, Job Bank, Kijiji, Craiglist, Engagés.ca, Monster, Workopolis, etc.

Informal networking is also often practiced in Canada, so don't hesitate to contact the companies you are interested in directly to offer your services. You will also come across many testimonials from working holidayers who have found work by going door to door in Canada. So if you don't manage to find a job before you arrive in Canada, believe us, nothing is ever lost in advance!

Finding temporary accommodation in Canada

Have you thought about the accommodation you plan to take during your stay in Canada?

When you move to Canada for your WHV, one of the biggest challenges you will face is finding suitable accommodation, the place where you can finally come home to rest at the end of a long day of work and/or exploring.

Ideally, you should find accommodation before you arrive in Canada. That way, once you arrive, you can take advantage of temporary accommodation, such as a hotel, youth hostel or Airbnb, while you look for a more permanent solution.

Networks such as Helpx, Airbnb or Craiglist can help you find accommodation in Canada, but don't forget to mention the area you want to visit and your budget!

Things to see and to do during your stay in Canada

Here you are in Canada. Maybe you have finished the work part of your WHV. Maybe you've decided to take some breaks between jobs to see the country.

Here is a list of the top 5 places you should visit during your stay in Canada:

1. Niagara Falls - Ontario

A true classic that is sure to be on any list of things to see in Canada during the summer. Many describe this experience as magical — you won't soon forget it. The best time of the year to visit Niagara Falls is between June and August.

2. Whistler - British Columbia

Winter and winter sports enthusiasts will love Whistler and its snowy landscape. Enjoy skiing and snowmobiling to the fullest, not to mention the cultural side of the town with its many art museums and cultural centers. Visit Whistler between December and March or June and August.

3. Quebec City - Quebec

Considered one of the most beautiful cities in North America, Quebec City is a must-see. On the agenda: historical attractions such as La Citadelle, beautiful parks where you can sunbathe in the summer, and romantic walks on the Dufferin Terrace. You can discover them at any time of the year.

4. Banff National Park - Alberta

Nature lovers will be seduced by Banff and its turquoise lakes, spectacular glaciers, snow-capped peaks and mesmerizing landscapes. Indeed, all these natural beauties can be seen in this breathtaking park. The best times to visit Banff during the year are between June and August and between December and March.

5. Tofino Beach - Vancouver Island

Those who can't imagine a holiday without seeing a beach will be delighted to learn that they can visit the true paradise of Tofino Beach. You'll soon forget that you're in Canada and not on an island because the scenery is so exotic! It is recommended that you visit Tofino between March and May or between September and November.

Life after the Working Holiday Visa in Canada

If you wish to stay in Canada after your WHV expires and you are French, you can register in the EIC pool to return with an International Co-op permit. However, you will not be able to combine the WHV with a Young Professionals permit. Belgians do not have access to the Young Professionals permit and can only obtain the WHV once.

If you have worked full-time in Canada, your experience may qualify you for permanent residence. However, there are criteria regarding the length of time and type of job. Take the test on the Canadian government website to see which category is most appropriate for you.

Useful link:

International Experience Canada

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.