Australia and Canada have long been close allies and friends. We have shared values and culture. In fact, our ties go back several hundred years through the Commonwealth. This relationship fosters immigration, study, and work opportunities between our countries. So, can Australians work in Canada? The great news is, yes! In fact, for Australians between 18 and 35, moving to Canada from Australia is very accessible.
For Australians aged 18 to 35, work permits for Canada are distributed through a Canadian Government program called International Experience Canada (IEC). Australians are fortunate to receive an unlimited number of places in IEC’s annual program. Canada limits every other country to a finite number of participants each year. Luckily for our beloved Australians, Canada has the red carpet rolled out!
On top of that, most other countries are limited to staying in Canada for a maximum of one year. But Australians receive IEC work permits that allow them to work in Canada for up to two years!
There are three categories of IEC work permits that Australian citizens between the ages of 18 and 35 can apply for:
Australians can participate in IEC a maximum of two times. One time must be either the Working Holiday or Young Professional category. The other must be the International Co-op category. You cannot, for instance, do a working holiday, then get a young professional permit.
“If you move to Canada from Australia on a working holiday permit, you may work in Canada for any employer for any length of time, up to the maximum 24-month duration of the visa.”
In order for Australians to qualify for the International Experience Canada Program and work in Canada, there are a few criteria to meet. The requirements are slightly different for each category of work permit.
In general, the requirements that Australians must meet to be eligible for a Canada Working Holiday permit are:
If you are applying for the Young Professional permit you must also have a job offer or contract in your field of expertise that contributes to your professional development under NOC 0, A or B.
If you are applying for the International Co-op permit you must also have a signed internship offer or contract for your internship placement that meets your academic institution’s requirements.
In both cases, employers in Canada must submit their offer of employment through the IRCC’s Employer Portal.
The work culture in Australia and Canada is fairly similar, with a few minor differences. Work-life balance plays an important role, especially on the West coast of Canada. However, there are a few aspects where Canada’s work culture is closer to that of our American neighbours.
On average, the working hours are eight hours per day or 40 hours per week. This of course depends on your job. Lunch breaks are typically 30 minutes up to one hour max.
Payday is most commonly bi-monthly. There is a statutory holiday (public holiday) pay increase equal to 1.5 times your standard wage. However, unlike in Australia, weekend pay increases do not exist in Canada.
This is where we are closely tied to the American work culture. In most cases, starting holidays are 10 days or two weeks. This will increase with years of service. To draw top talent, companies will offer three, even four weeks of starting vacation. In some cases, companies will close over the Christmas holidays. Ultimately, starting holidays will depend on your job and industry.
Like Australia’s Medicare, healthcare in Canada is publicly funded. Health care is provided by the provinces and coverage varies slightly between provinces. Some provinces charge a small monthly fee. On top of this, companies will provide additional coverage after the completion of a probationary period. This coverage is typically a percentage of the cost of medical expenses like prescriptions, ambulance, and check-ups.
Canada does not have an equivalent of the Australian ‘Super’. Instead, individuals are required to save for retirement on their own. Some companies will offer retirement savings matching. In this instance, your employer will contribute to your retirement savings fund when you do (up to a certain limit each year).
The process to legally work in Canada starts when you are still in Australia. The simplified version of applying for the Working Holiday Visa is to make an online profile with IEC, then submit your work permit application through your account. Once your work permit application has been approved, you receive a letter to provide to the border officer when you arrive in Canada. In exchange, they will give you a work permit.
We have put together a complete step-by-step guide on how to apply for the Canada Working Holiday Visa. We recommend you carefully read through it before considering starting your application. This will give you a complete understanding of what is required before you get started.
Want to work the 2022/2023 ski season in Canada? We recommend applying now. Check out our blog on How to Work the 2022/2023 Ski Season in Canada for more details.
Remember, you will have 12 months to travel to Canada after your visa is approved; so if you are planning to travel to Canada for the spring/summer season of 2023, you should apply now as well. That way you will have plenty of time to get organized!
All the documents are pretty straightforward and our Working Holiday Guide will help you a lot if you want to understand the process. You will need to provide:
You should apply for this document in advance, as it might take a bit of time for you to receive it. It is very important that you apply for the correct one as Australia has different types of police certificates that can be issued.
Also please note that if you have lived in Queensland or Victoria, Canada will request a complete traffic history report issued by the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads or Vicroads.
If you have lived in any other country for six months or more, you will also need to provide a police certificate from that specific country.
Biometrics in Australia for your working holiday visa can be completed in any of the VAC centers. You can book your appointment in Perth, Sydney or Melbourne. Please note that none of the centers accept walk-ins so you must book your appointment in advance.
After you complete your biometrics, you will have to wait for up to eight weeks to get your POE or approval letter. Check the updated processing times for IEC.
If you join our Working Holiday Programs, we will secure you a job in Canada and staff housing by the time you get your approval letter.
You’re so close you can almost taste the maple syrup! Now all you need to do is:
Know you know Australians can work in Canada, your next question might be: how do you find a job? You will need to plan out your strategy for finding work. We’ve broken down the three most common approaches to finding work in Canada.
This is the most difficult approach. Even if you received your Letter of Introduction, this is not your physical work permit. You don’t receive that until you are in Canada. If you are a skilled worker or have specific expertise this option might work for you if you plan to apply for the Young Professional work permit.
This approach will make it easier to land a job but is more costly. You will need to budget for several weeks of unemployment while you wait for a callback and go through the interview process. During that time, you will need to pay for your accommodation, food, and transportation. Without a job, you may find it more difficult to land a flat as property management companies will give preference to applicants with full-time employment.
This option requires an expense upfront, but it’s an investment that will save you heaps of time and stress. Arriving in Canada with a job secured or interviews already lined up takes a lot of uncertainty out of moving to Canada.
“Stepwest will help you start working faster so that you earn money faster. Securing your job on arrival means you can get set up in a flat or sharehouse faster, reducing your adjustment time.”
You will also be able to meet people faster and plan outings together to explore your new city. 24 months seems like a long time to live in Canada, but trust us, it will fly by. The last thing you want is to spend the first part of your experience looking for work while draining your savings. Not an ideal start to your experience in Canada.
If you have enough funds to cover the return cost of a flight to Australia, you will not need to have a booked return flight to enter Canada. This means you will need to prove you have CAD $2,500, plus the value of a returning flight ticket back to Australia – let’s say an extra CAD $1,500 to be safe.
Now that you know that Australians can work in Canada, it’s time you hopscotched over!
Interested in hearing more about we can help you move to Canada from Australia on our Working Holiday Programs? Fill in the form and one of our team will be in touch to answer all your questions.
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