The Working Holiday Visa in Canada – What Citizens of Sweden Need to Know!

September 29, 2020
Posted in Working Holiday

Experience Canada - Working Holiday Guide for Citizens of Sweden

The Canada Working Holiday Visa, or Working Holidayvisum Kanada, is by far the best way for citizens of Sweden to work in Canada. On a working holiday in Canada, you can make money to pay for your living and travel expenses! From Swedish students looking for a summer job abroad to recent graduates and young professionals that want to do a gap year in Canada, if you are from Sweden you will find all the answers here!

We know that coming from Sweden to work in Canada can be a pretty overwhelming process. That’s why we are here to help! Stepwest has been helping Europeans come to Canada on working holidays since 2010. We are a Recognized Organization of the Government of Canada, meaning we are a recommended provider of work and travel services in Canada. We’ve helped many Swedish citizens move to Canada on working holidays. Like Moa, whose pictures we’ve featured throughout this post!

Meet Moa from Sweden! She came to Canada on a Working Holiday with Stepwest in the fall of 2019. 📷: @moacronheden

Working Holiday Visa Age Limit for Swedish Citizens

Sweden has an agreement through the International Experience Canada program that gives Swedish citizens between the ages of 18 and 30 the opportunity to work in Canada. This agreement allows you to stay in Canada for up to 12 months and obtain employment. There are three available categories in the International Experience Canada program to participate in. These are the Working Holiday, Young Professional, and International Co-Op permits. You may participate in the program two times, meaning you can spend up to 24 months total in Canada. However, if you participate twice, it must be through two different categories. You cannot do two working holidays in Canada, for example.

Secure your Canada Working Holiday Visa until your 31st birthday!

Are you almost 30? The Working Holiday visa is available to citizens of Sweden from 18 to 30 years old inclusively. This means you can still apply when you are 30. As long as you apply for your working holiday visa before your 31st birthday, you are still eligible. You may enter Canada with a working holiday visa after you turn 31, but you must apply while you are still 30 years old to be eligible.

NOTE: If you are over 30 years old and have NEVER participated in an International Experience Canada program on a working holiday, Stepwest can assist you through our Recognized Organization programs. This option is available for first participation only. If you have already received a working holiday permit for Canada and you are looking into participating again, you could consider the Young Professional option.

How to get a Working Holiday Visa for Canada as a Swedish Citizen

In order to apply for the Working Holiday Visa for Canada, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Hold a passport from Sweden valid for the whole duration of your stay in Canada.
  • A resident of Sweden at the time application – IMPORTANT Sweden has a residence requirement in order to apply for the Canada Working Holiday.
  • Insurance for your whole stay in Canada.
  • At least 2,500 Canadian dollars (CAD) or about 17.000 kr.
  • Complete biometrics, if you have not done it before. You can complete your biometrics at the Visa Application Centre (VAC) in Stockholm, NOT at the Canadian Embassy. The VAC is located at Drottninggatan 33 Stockholm 111 51. Sweden.

NEW COVID-19 REQUIREMENTS FOR WORKING HOLIDAYS IN CANADA: As of May 8th, 2020, a job offer is required to activate your working holiday visa upon arrival to Canada. Find the full details on the Government of Canada website. As our Working Holiday Resort Job Program offers you a guaranteed job in Canada, we will be happy to help you meet this new requirement for entry into Canada.

Are you looking for “jobba i Kanada?” Call Canada home for up to one year on a working holiday visa! 📷: @moacronheden

What does the Working Holiday Visa for Canada cost?

There are three fees for the Canada Working Holiday visa totaling CAD 335, or about 2.285 kr. There is a fee to apply, one for the actual work permit, and another to have your biometrics collected:

  • International Experience Canada application fee: CAD 150
  • Open Work Permit fee: CAD 100
  • Biometrics collection fee: CAD 85

Your biometrics are valid for 10 years so you do not have to retake them if you apply again for another work or study permit for Canada.

How long is the process for a Swedish citizen to get a working holiday visa approved?

Normally it takes up to eight weeks for International Experience Canada to process your visa application. Keep in mind, this processing time begins after you have completed your biometrics (the final step of the application process).

COVID-19 UPDATE: Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in March 2020, IEC has paused processing all working holiday applications for Canada. Therefore, processing times are not accurate at this time. Once IEC resumes, we will be able to provide you with more accurate updated processing times.

How long can I remain in Canada with a Working Holiday Visa?

With your working holiday work permit, you can stay in Canada for up to 12 months. Remember that this work permit cannot be extended beyond one year. If you want to stay in Canada longer, you can apply for a different work permit. You cannot extend your working holiday permit in Canada, as even though many people say they do this, this is not legally an option.

You can participate in IEC up to two times, each time for 12 months. Normally participants from Sweden start their experience in Canada with the easiest work permit, the Working Holiday Visa, and afterward apply for the Young Professional work permit. The Young Professional permit is for post-secondary graduates who wish to advance their careers by gaining professional work experience in their career field in Canada.

Make the most of your working holiday permit and explore Canada’s many beautiful landscapes like Moa did! 📷: @moacronheden

What’s Included in a Working Holiday Program with Stepwest?

Stepwest’s working holiday programs make it easier to navigate the complex process of moving to Canada and landing a job. We have two working holiday programs to help you secure your job in Canada. The right one for you depends on the type of experience you are looking for:


Secure your job and accommodation before coming to Canada!

This program allows you to experience living and working at a summer or winter resort in Canada. If you love the outdoors and enjoy hiking and skiing, then this program will help you discover your passions while working and earning money!

This program offers benefits such as cheaper accommodation, competitive salaries, staff discounts, free lift passes, and invitations to lots of different mingling events and parties.

Our Working Holiday Resort Job Program guarantees:

  • Pre-arranged jobs in the Canadian Rockies before you land in Canada or your money back!
  • Resume revision and preparation for your interviews with Canadian employers.
  • Assistance with your work permit application: Gathering your documents, getting your biometrics, and each step after you receive your invitation from IEC to apply!
  • We arrange online job interviews for you to have directly from home.
  • Staff housing guaranteed before your departure from Sweden.
  • Pre-departure orientation to be fully prepared for your arrival in Canada.
  • Welcome to Canada orientation: Meet with our team when you arrive to receive your free bank account, SIN Number, mobile phone and much more!
  • Support from our Canada team throughout your entire time here.
  • Many other benefits to help you settle into your Canadian work adventure!


Your instant connection to the local culture of Vancouver!

If you are more of a city person, like our participant Moa from Sweden, you can come to the amazing city of Vancouver to work and play!

With Stepwest’s City Job Program, we provide you with job opportunities on arrival so you can build a network of friends and professional connections faster than if you arrived in Canada on your own. Don’t waste valuable time in Canada searching for a job. Get settled faster and start having fun exploring your new home faster!

  • Pre-arranged interviews in Vancouver to attend in the days after your arrival in Canada or your money back!
  • Resume revision and preparation for your interviews with Canadian employers.
  • Assistance with your work permit application: Gathering your documents, getting your biometrics, and each step after you receive your invitation from IEC to apply!
  • Assistance finding a place to live in Vancouver.
  • Pre-departure orientation to be fully prepared for your arrival in Canada.
  • Your first night’s stay at a top-rated hostel in the heart of downtown.
  • Welcome to Canada orientation: Meet with our team when you arrive to receive your free bank account, SIN Number, mobile phone, and much more!
  • Support from our Canada team throughout your entire time here.
  • Many other benefits to help you settle into your Canadian work adventure!
Moa called Vancouver, one of the world’s most liveable cities, her new home over the last year with Stepwest’s City Job Program. 📷: @moacronheden

How much money do I need for a working holiday in Canada?

To enter Canada, Swedish citizens will need to prove at least $2,500 CAD or approximately 17.000 kr. We highly recommend you have at least $3,500 CAD so you can cover your first month’s expenses (rent and rental deposit, food, transportation, leisure activities, etc.) This is because you will need to wait at least two weeks after you start working to receive your first paycheck.

How much money will I earn in Canada? How will I get paid?

The minimum wage is different in every Canadian province. As of September 2020, the minimum wage in Alberta is $15 CAD/hour and in British Columbia, it is $14.60 CAD/hour.

In Canada, you will get paid bi-weekly (every two weeks). If you are working with our Resort Job Program, the rent for your staff housing will be taken directly from your paycheque.

How much tax do you pay with a working holiday visa in Canada?

Working Holiday visa holders pay the same income tax rates as Canadian citizens. Here is a link to our favourite website that explains taxes in Canada. This tool will help you compare how much tax you pay in Sweden with how much tax you will pay in Canada.

Keep in mind that if you do your taxes properly, working holiday visa holders are eligible for an average refund of $1,000 CAD. Learn more about this in our blog post on how to files taxes as a working holidaymaker.

Will I get vacation from work during my working holiday in Canada?

In Canada, it’s common that during your first year of work, you normally will not earn vacation time from your employer. However, this fully depends on your specific job and employer. Many of our working holiday participants arrive in Canada with a Resort Job set up for the winter or summer season and travel to other areas of Canada before starting work again the following season.

We recommend you get started on your working holiday in Canada by committing with your employer for at least one full season. That way you will have time to work and earn money, and you will get an employer reference. Having a reference in Canada is very important if you want to continue working in the country. Be ready with professional references, as you will be always requested for these during the hiring process.

Moa made the most of her free time in Vancouver exploring beautiful places and making new memories! 📷: @moacronheden

I am from Sweden but currently living outside the country, can I still get a working holiday visa for Canada?

Unlike other European countries, Sweden has a residency requirement to participate. You must pay attention to this as a mistake here will get you a denial from the Immigration Officer:

“It has been determined that you do not currently reside in Sweden.”

If you are temporarily outside of Sweden you may still apply. As long as your permanent address is in Sweden, you can apply for any of the three IEC work permits.

If you have a Swedish passport but you have never lived in Sweden, you will NOT be eligible for any IEC work visa.

Can I do biometrics outside Sweden if I am travelling?

Yes, biometrics can be done anywhere in the world. You do not have to complete them in Sweden if you are currently traveling. Where you complete your biometrics will not impact your residency requirements, as long as your permanent residency is in Sweden. Have more questions about biometrics? Check out our post on Canada’s biometrics requirement for working holiday visa applications.

I am planning to travel to Canada on a Working Holiday Visa in 2021, when should I apply?

Due to COVID-19, IEC is not accepting working holiday visa applications from any country at this time. You will need to wait for an update from IEC on when they will open applications for Swedish citizens for 2021.

Want to get updates on the opening for IEC 2021?

I already have a valid Working Holiday Visa but I need a job offer. Can Stepwest help me?

Yes! Even if you already have your working holiday visa, we can assist you in securing your job and getting settled in Canada. Fill in the form below to get in touch with our team to discuss work opportunities for you here in Canada.

Moa is a very talented artist! Check out her artwork & give her a follow on Instagram: @molou_art
Thank you Moa for sharing your inspiring pictures with us! 📷: @moacronheden

Moa, we hope you’ve enjoyed your working holiday experience in Canada and wish you all the best in your upcoming university studies in the United States! We cannot wait to see more of your beautiful artwork and Mandala designs on Instagram @molou_art. Be sure to check out Moa’s account @moacronheden for more beautiful pictures of Canada and working holiday life!


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Have a question for our team before you apply? Fill in the form below with your details and our team will be happy to get back to you in one business day.

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