The Canadian Working Holiday Visa program is now open – only candidates who receive an Invitation to Apply can submit an application for a work permit.

The 2015/16 application cycle for the Canadian Working Holiday Visa has begun, with this season seeing several major changes from recent years.

Through the Canadian Working Holiday Visa program, young citizens from 32 countries that have a reciprocal youth mobility arrangement with Canada have the opportunity to live and work in Canada across three categories: Canadian Working Holiday visa, Young Professionals, and International Co-op. 

What’s new?

Towards the end of November, 2015, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) announced updates to the Canadian Working Holiday Visa program. The main difference, compared with recent years, is that it will no longer operate on a first-come, first-served basis. Rather, eligible candidates will need to first submit an Expression of Interest and enter a pool of candidates. An application for a work permit can only be made if a candidate receives an Invitation to Apply (ITA).

Canadian Working Holiday Visa

The Canadian Working Holiday visa category has traditionally been the most popular of the three visas, as it offers the advantage of an open work permit. An open work permit allows its holder to work anywhere in Canada and for almost any Canadian employer.

To be eligible for a Canadian Working Holiday Visa, candidates must:

  • be a citizen of one of the 32 countries that have a youth mobility agreement with Canada;
  • have a valid passport for the duration of their stay in Canada,
  • be between the ages of 18 and 30 or 35 (inclusive) at the time of application depending on nationality,
  • have the equivalent of C$2,500 on landing to help cover initial expenses;
  • be able to take out health insurance for the duration of their stay,
  • be admissible to Canada;
  • demonstrate intention to leave Canada before the expiry of their Canadian Working Holiday visa, and
  • not be accompanied by dependents.

Citizens of certain countries are also required to be resident in their country of citizenship at the time they apply to the Canadian Working Holiday visa category.

Canadian Working Holiday Visa Important Steps

If you receive an ITA you will have 10 days start your application or to decline the invitation. If you choose to accept the ITA, you have 20 days from that day, regardless of whether you accept on day 1 or 10, to complete, pay and submit the work permit application.

A complete application including supporting documents, police and medical exam certificates must be submitted. If you don’t have a particular document an explanation must be provided together with proof that the document has been requested. You and if applicable your employer need to pay the respective fees prior to application submission.

At this point, CIC begins its temporary work permit application assessment. CIC may ask you to provide additional documents. If the application is successful, a ‘Port of Entry (POE) Introduction Letter’ will be sent to you. This letter is to be presented upon arrival at a Port of Entry (such as an international airport) in Canada, whereupon a work permit may be obtained.

Annual Quota

The annual quota for British citizens is 5,000 Canadian Working Holiday Visas.