Tips for Canadian Employers – How to Hire a Working Holiday Permit Holder in 2021 (And Why!)

Published: 15-03-2021



Are you a Canadian employer interested in hiring a foreign national? International Experience Canada (IEC) is a Government of Canada program that offers citizens from many participating countries the opportunity to work in Canada. The Working Holiday permit—basically an open work permit—is the most popular IEC category among travellers between 18 and 30-35 years old, and the 2021 application season is just starting.

Since it’s an open work permit, travellers usually apply for their Working Holiday permit from their home country and eventually start the job hunt after they arrive in Canada. They can work anywhere in Canada for as many employers and for as long as their wish until the 12- or 24-month permit expires.

This year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada stresses it’s important to avoid all non-essential travel. As a result, Working Holiday permit holders must find an employer before travelling to Canada.

Two Scenarios for Working Holiday Permit Holders

  • You may see applicants who were granted a Working Holiday permit in 2019 or 2020. Their permit was issued, they have their Port of Entry Letter of Introduction. All they need is a job offer to become eligible to travel to Canada.
  • You may also hear from 2021 Working Holiday permit applicants soon as well. With the new requirements, they will only be issued their Working Holiday permit once they secure a valid job offer from a Canadian employer.
Need to hire a talented Working Holiday holder? Post your offer in the “Jobs” section of!

A No-Fee No-Hassle Process for Employers

You may have heard that employers have to pay a fee or complete a number of steps when they hire a foreign national who needs a work permit.

But Working Holiday permits are a much more flexible option:

  • You don’t have to pay any fee.
  • You don’t need a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).
  • You can offer a short-term contract job—Working Holiday permits are typically valid for 12 or 24 months (depending on the applicant’s country of citizenship) but you can start with a two- or three-month contract offer. If you’re happy with your employee, your contract can always be extended.
  • You don’t have to hire an immigration lawyer or consultant—all you have to do is draft a job offer.

What’s a “Valid Job Offer”?

Your job offer must include the following information:

  • Business’s legal name and business’ operating name
  • Job title
  • Physical job location including city and province or territory
  • Main duties of the job
  • Expected start date of employment
  • Expected duration of employment
  • Employer’s primary contact information
  • Wage and hours of work

You will find all the info you need on the International Experience Canada page.

Bottom line is, hiring a Working Holiday permit holder is as easy as hiring a permanent resident or a Canadian citizen.

When Can My New Employee Start Working?

If your new employee already has a Port of Entry Letter of Introduction:

  • Ask when they can travel to Canada (they may have to give their two weeks’ notice to their current employer or landlord),
  • Keep in mind they will have to complete 14 days of mandatory quarantine when they arrive (which shouldn’t be an issue if they can work from home).

If your new employee is a 2021 Working Holiday permit applicant and doesn’t have a Port of Entry Letter of Introduction yet:

  • It may take one to three weeks to receive an Invitation to apply (i.e. to start the Working Holiday permit application process).
  • The Working Holiday permit application takes four to eight weeks to be assessed once it’s returned completed with biometrics submitted. Processing time can be much faster, though.
  • Quarantine requirements apply upon landing in Canada, but again it’s probably not an issue for remote work.

What If My New Employee Arrives in Canada Earlier or Later Than Planned?

  • If the application was processed faster than planned, just change the start date on the job offer.
  • If your new employee needs more time, offer a new start date and amend the job offer.

In both cases, make sure to state that your company is still operating and adapted to COVID-19 measures and restrictions.

If you need more info or if you have any question, use the comment form below!

You can download our article in PDF format: tips-employers-working-holiday-canada-2021


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