Guide to the Canadian Working Holiday Visa Program

Article publié le 23-04-2018.


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Welcome to this comprehensive introduction to the Canadian Working Holiday Visa program! If you’ve heard about Working Holiday Visas (WHV) but you’re not sure how they work or if you want to apply and need an overview of the whole process, then this guide is for you. The next few chapters will take you through:

  • The pros and cons of a WHV
  • Eligibility requirements and WHV application fees
  • The quota system, the selection process and the application period
  • The 9 steps of a Canadian WHV application
  • The documents required during the application process

These Working Holiday Visas to Canada are offered through International Experience Canada (IEC), a program developed by the Government of Canada to encourage youth mobility between Canada and 32 partner countries.

What’s so special about the Working Holiday Visa program?

You can work legally in Canada

The WHV is an —i.e. a document issued by the Government of Canada that authorizes you to stay in Canada for a maximum of 12 months or 24 months, depending on your country of citizenship. With a WHV, you can explore Canada and work during your stay.

You don’t need to find a job before you leave

You don’t need to have a job offer in Canada before applying for your WHV. Some applicants do start contacting potential employers from abroad, but this is not a requirement.

You can work for any employer in Canada

With your WHV, you can work for more than one employer in more than one location during the 12- or 24-month validity period of your visa.

You can work anywhere in Canada

Feel free to explore Canada from sea to sea! You don’t have to stay in a specific city, province or territory—you can start in British Columbia and eventually end up in Quebec after a visit to Manitoba and a trip to Yukon! Once you land in Canada with your WHV, you’re free to roam around as much as you want.

You can work with the same employer for up to 12 or 24 months

If you find your dream job, you can work for the same employer for the entire duration of your WHV.

You aren’t required to work

If you have enough funds to support yourself during your stay in Canada, you don’t have to find a job. Working isn’t a legal requirement but an option—you can work but you don’t have to. Feel free to spend your time travelling around Canada! You can even volunteer or complete an internship if you’re looking for a different kind of work experience.

Side Note: If you want to complete an internship related to your field of study in Canada, it’s probably best to apply for an International Co-op Internship work permit.

Your spouse, partner or friend could come IF they apply for their own WHV

Your spouse, partner or friend won’t automatically get a WHV to come to Canada with you. Each individual has to meet eligibility requirements and submit an application for a WHV or another IEC visa. Even children must obtain their own visitor visa or a study permit.

You don’t have to meet specific work experience or education requirements

Your application won’t be assessed or ranked based on your work experience, language skills, education or cover letter. Any applicant who meets the basic eligibility requirements listed in chapter 3 of this guide can become a candidate and may receive an invitation to apply for a WHV.

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