🍁 Oh Canada! Home of: Tim Hortons, Maple Syrup & Drake. 🍁
Working abroad is something most of us dream of. It sounds really hard, but it’s pretty easy with a bit of research and planning can be done by anyone. Sure it’s scary, but so is working 5 days a week in a job you hate for the rest of your life, or at least your twenties.
Working Holiday visa’s are pretty much the Willy Wonka Golden Ticket as far as visa’s go. Work and Travel as much or as little as you want over 1-2 years depending on the country, for this blog I’m focusing on Canada.
** This post is written from an Irish/UK perspective and here as a guideline. The information was correct to the best of my ability as of April 2017. Please read through the information on the official site and let this be the highlighter. If there have been changes, we appreciate you letting us know so we can update this post**
International Experience Canada (IEC) is a bit daunting at first. It took us a few weeks to really get our head around the process. There’s rounds, so they release X amount of visa’s for Ireland around twice a year depending on the demand and expectation. I originally got my visa in 2015 in the second release.
*The visa needs to be activated within two years from getting it and you have two years on it when you activate it* So I got mine July 15. Activated in June 16 and it’s valid until June 18. *
There’s a few conditions to getting the full two years:
- The big one is health insurance. You need to have insurance for the entire length of your desired stay before arriving. If you turn up with 6 months insurance, you will only be aloud a visa for 6 months. So having the full insurance ready to be inspected is essential.
Two year travel insurance is actually harder to find than you think, most policies are for a year at a time or insanely expensive ie VHI. I chose USIT’s IEC Insurance, it’s exactly what it says on the tin and more. 2 years WORLDWIDE insurance including Canada, with all the usual’s. including trips home. Some insurance policies won’t allow you to come home if they’re for a specific country. Read the
- Passport: This seems obvious, but if your passport expires 5 months into your stay so does your visa, make sure you have a few years left on it to allow a full 2 year experience.
- Criminal Convictions: If you did time for stealing cars and smoking loads of hash in your teens maybe re-think Canada. Clean records only. Get your Garda(Police) vetting form filled out as soon as you can before applying as it can take a while and slow up your app.
- Age: Midlife Crisis? Sorry 18-35 Only.
- Money: You’ll need CAN$2,500 . You need to be able to prove you can support yourself. A return flight is a bonus but not essential. Again you’re going to find yourself so you won’t be coming home straight away.
- Kids/Dependents: No thanks, you’ll need a different visa.
OK, You’re young, healthy, unlikely to kill anyone and have some cash lets get to the nitty gritty stuff:
Here’s where you register for a CIC account:
Set up an account and follow the steps provided. You’ll have 20 days from registering to complete the application. Hence having documents ready.
- Garda Vet Form (Go to you’re local station, ask for one and fill it in. They’ll call you when its ready or post it out. It’s literally filling in all your past address’ and they check if you’ve been upto any mischief.
- CV: Do a decent one, Put as many jobs as you can and make sure its readable.
- Optional Medical Exam: This is more if you’re going to work in a job that will require it or you’ve been to any countries with outbreaks. (They’ll know) so get one if you need it.
- Passport: Upload a digital copy of your passport
- Digital Photo: This is not a selfie! Attach a passport style one.
Depending on your country of citizenship, you must complete one of the Family Information forms:
Visa Application Form: IMM 1295 (When I filled it out) Available in the application section. This is the basic tick the box fill in and sign form.
So you’ve filled in the forms? Pay your $226 (126 IEC 100 Work Permit) and hit that submit.
This is where the waiting begins, It usually takes a few weeks. They do them in bulk. When we applied I submitted my forms first but we got visa’s the same day. So it’s a little mad.
WOOOOOO! You have the visa!
Book them flights, get the insurance and travel money & lets hit the road.
All going well you get through immigration, they give the all clear and you head for Departures….
Get your SIN number. This is the equivalent of a pps and if you want to work you’ll need it for an employer. This is available in the airport in the same room you show your forms, and it took me around 20 minutes over the hassle of going to a town hall and queuing for hours and waiting on it, they gave me the number on the spot after a short wait and as soon as I left the airport I had everything I needed.
Hopefully some of this helped get you prepared. It seems daunting when you’re on the site but once you take your time and read all the information it’s pretty easy. Best of Luck and say hi if you spot me crawling through Toronto on a school night.