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International Experience Canada (IEC) is an initiative of the Canadian government, in association with various participating foreign countries, which allows young people to travel and work whilst abroad.
The initiative is open to adults under the age of 35 (or 30, depending upon the country). There are three programs:
- Working Holiday: this program allows young people to work for a year or two while travelling abroad.
- Young Professionals: this program is for those who already have a job offer.
- International Co-Op Internship: this program is for university students with internships in Canada.
More information can be found at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website for those looking to come to Canada.
No, but many of the participating countries require you to prove that you have sufficient funds to support yourself during your stay. The amount required varies from country to country. You must produce valid bank statements to confirm your financial status.
How much does it cost to get a working holiday visa?
Costs for the visa vary from country to country e.g. the cost for the visa for Latvia is CDN $230, whereas the visa costs in Chile are USD $440. Additionally, travel to the country you choose will affect the price as will accommodation and the cost of living and the rate of exchange you get for your Canadian dollars.
Do I need to arrange work in the country before I apply for my visa?
That depends on the country you intend to visit. Some allow you to look for work when you arrive; others demand that you have work arranged before you leave. You should double check the requirements with the country you intend to visit before making arrangements as each country applies its own visa rules to the program.
Do I have to be a student to get a working holiday visa?
No. You must be a Canadian citizen who meets the age requirements of the country you wish to visit. You do not have to be a student or professional worker to apply.
How long does a working holiday visa allow me to stay?
The length of time you can stay in a country varies between program participants e.g. Australia allows stays of up to 12 months, whilst the UK allows Canadian citizens to stay up to 2 years. Please see the program for the country you wish to visit.
Do I need a passport to get my working holiday visa?
Yes. You must have a Canadian passport with at least 6 months remaining validity and one blank page for your visa stamp.
How do I apply for a working holiday visa?
You must apply to the immigration authority of the country you wish to visit. You can find links to the relevant visa offices on the Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada website.
Which countries participate in the working holiday visa scheme?
The following countries take part in the program: Australia, Belgium, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan and the UK. Austria and Switzerland have working holiday visas for young professionals and students in co-op education programs.
How do I qualify for a Working Holiday Visa?
You must be a Canadian citizen living in Canada aged between 18 and 35. Each country participating in the working holiday visa program also sets its own eligibility criteria; many only extend working holiday visas to those aged 18 to 30.
What is a working holiday visa?
Working holiday visas were designed for Canadian citizens who want to travel abroad and supplement their stay with a temporary job. Such visas attract a lot of students and young professionals who use their time abroad to gain relevant international work experience in fields relating to their area of employment or study.