How to Apply for the Canada Working Holiday Visa: UK Guide

From one Brit to another, moving to Canada from the UK will be the best decision you ever make. The Canada Working Holiday Visa is an open work permit allowing UK citizens to live and work in Canada for up to two years; and with so much to explore, the only risk is that you won’t want to leave. In our latest guide, discover everything you need to know about applying for a Canadian working holiday visa.

Upgrade road trips on the M4 to the spectacular mountains of the Canadian Rockies.

Why Work Abroad in Canada

Before Brexit, it was fairly easy to work abroad in countries across Europe. Now, not so much. There are currently no working holiday agreements between the UK and EU countries, so you will need to meet the specific entry requirements for each country. Read: a massive headache. Luckily for you, British citizens can move to Canada for up to two years on the Canada Working Holiday Visa.

What is the Working Holiday Visa for Canada?

Canada and the UK have an agreement that allows UK citizens the opportunity to live and work in Canada for up to two years. This program is called International Experience Canada (IEC), and, unlike other working holiday visas, there are no work restrictions. For instance, in Australia, you will have to complete six months of gruelling farmwork in order to stay. In Canada, you can work for any employer for any length of time, anywhere in Canada.

We are a Recognized Organization by the Government of Canada through its IEC Program, so we know exactly how the process works.

On a working holiday in Canada, live on the doorstep of the best ski mountains in the world.

Canada Working Holiday Visa Age Limit for the UK

UK citizens between the ages of 18 to 30 years old can apply for the Canada Working Holiday Visa.

If you get an Invitation to Apply (ITA) before your 31st birthday, you can still live and work in Canada. Better yet, once your visa is approved you will have a year to enter Canada, so you can start your working holiday as late as 32. Check out the IEC visa requirements for the UK.

A Note on the RO Working Holiday Visa…

If you are over 30 years old and want to apply for the Canada Working Holiday Visa from the UK, keep an eye on our RO opening for IEC 2023. While we have a limited quota, we might be able to help you during the next IEC season.

How Hard Is It To Get The IEC Working Holiday Visa For UK Citizens?

The Canadian Government issues invitations to apply through IEC ‘pools’, whereby eligible candidates are randomly selected to apply for a work permit during regular draws. These are called rounds of invitations. Once the UK quota is filled for the season, the pool will close and candidates will have to wait to apply the following year. As a general rule of thumb, the sooner you apply, the higher the chances of getting an invitation as more spots will be available.

For the UK, demand tends to outnumber supply, making the selection process extremely competitive… until 2022. As you can see on the IRCC website, there are currently more spots available than UK citizens in the pool.

So, if you are looking to move to Canada from the UK in 2022 or 2023, now is your chance to apply! Find out why you should apply now to work the 2022/23 ski season in Canada…

Want to Learn More?

Want to apply for a working holiday visa for Canada from the UK? Get in touch to learn more about our Canada Working Holiday Programs and how we can help you start the adventure of a lifetime!

Application Windows For Stepwest Resort Working Holiday Programs

When it comes to Canadian resort jobs, getting ahead of the program is definitely beneficial. Popular resorts such as Whistler, Banff, Jasper and Lake Louise have 2 main hiring periods for each season, Summer and Winter 2024. So that means here at Stepwest, the earlier you apply the better chance you have of securing your dream job in your dream resort! The latest we typically accept applications for these programs are as follows:

Summer 2024: Until February 2024.
Winter 2024: Until May 2024.

It pays off to be organized, the sooner you are ready for interviews, the more resort job positions you could be a candidate for. If you are a last-minute planner, then start to consider planning for the next upcoming Season. Too late for Winter? check our Summer Resort Working Holiday program. You could start out with a summer job and opt to stay for the next winter season!

Spend your summer mastering the waves in surfer town Tofino, Vancouver Island.

How Long Can I Stay in Canada With the Working Holiday Visa?

UK citizens can get a two-year work permit for Canada, as long as they have travel insurance to cover their entire stay. Take a look at this blog where we explain why it is so important to bring insurance valid for the maximum duration of your working holiday permit.

Trying to find an insurance that covers you for 24 months? Check our recommended insurance provider for our participants in the UK.

Documents Required To Apply For A Working Holiday Visa In Canada

Check out our working holiday guide for a full breakdown of the documents required. No matter what country you are from, the documents will be the same: a valid UK passport for the whole duration of your working holiday in Canada, an updated resume, a family information document, and so on.

The only document that differs from one country to another is the police certificate requirement. For UK citizens, you must present:

Police Certificate from the UK

Details and instructions on how to apply are available from the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) Criminal Records Office (ACRO) website.

  • Regular process price: GBP £55 – 12 working days to process
  • Express process price: GBP £95 – 4 working days to process

Once you have requested your police certificate from the UK, you will receive a confirmation of your application by email. Your police certificate will be then sent to the postal address provided.

Understanding your ACRO Police Certificate

Make sure you review your police certificate and understand the ACRO step-down model. Where certain offences have been stepped down, this will be identified on the certificate with the publication of ‘No Live Trace’. If this happens, Canada will request further information, so be ready to provide it.

We can think of worse traffic stops.

Medical Exam for UK Citizens

You do not need to present a medical exam unless you are planning to work with minors, the elderly or in the health industry. For example, if you want to be a ski instructor in Canada teaching children, you will need a medical exam. If you do not get a medical exam, your work permit will have a clause that prohibits you from working with children.

Completing Your Biometrics for Canada in the UK

After you submit your visa application, you will get a biometrics request letter. You will need to complete your biometrics at a Visa Application Center within 30 days.

In the UK, there is only one visa application center based in London:

  • Visa Application Center address: 66 Wilson Street, London, EC2A 2BT, UK
  • Schedule: 08:30 – 17:00, Monday to Friday
  • You must book an appointment in order to attend – no walk-ins are allowed.
On a working holiday in Whistler, spend lunch breaks at Blackcomb Glacier. As you do.

You’ve Been Approved! Prepare to travel to Canada

Congratulations! You are now ready to travel to Canada. Remember, you will have up to 12 months to activate your working holiday visa, so there’s no need to leave immediately if you still have things to plan.

Before you leave, make sure you have the following documents prepared:

  • Your Port of Entry (POE) letter or Approval letter, also known as a correspondence letter
  • Travel insurance is valid for the maximum duration of your work permit (up to 24 months)
  • A bank statement proving you have at least GBP £1,700 (or CAD $2,500)

We have prepared a complete guide on how to get ready to activate your working holiday visa here, but when you join our Canada Working Holiday Programs, our travel coordinators will do a one-on-one session with you to explain what to expect. From documents to the immigration process upon arrival to Canada; what to check when you receive your work permit to avoid mistakes and more.

Vancouver is a global hub for numerous industries, with endless opportunities to further your career.

Why Do a Stepwest Working Holiday Program in Canada

  • Cost-effective: We take care of everything so you don’t have to waste your time finding a job, accommodation, visa application and more. Instead, focus on planning your adventures in Canada!
  • Hassle-free: We are a Recognized Organization by the Government of Canada for its International Experience Canada (IEC) Program, so we know exactly what you will need to secure your working holiday visa, with no room for mistakes or missing documents.
  • Job and Staff Housing Guaranteed at Top Resort or Hotel in Canada: Forget dodgy employers with no reviews online, or difficult to find in the middle of nowhere; we only work with the best employers in BC and Alberta and guarantee staff housing for all our participants
  • Leave Sooner, Travel Longer: We will guarantee you a job so that you can work as soon as you land, allowing you to save money for your adventures during your time off. You could join our Ski Working Holiday Program and work the 2022/23 ski season – with unparalleled access to Canada’s top ski resorts – travel during the shoulder season, and then stay for the summer season for a whole new roster of incredible adventures!
  • Open to everyone: We will organize a free consultation together to make sure we can help you achieve your goals. You only pay if we are sure we can secure your job in Canada, so connect with us today!
“Would 100% recommend it. They went above and beyond my expectations and couldn't do enough for me! Making sure I was up to date with everything and explained everything in very simple terms. They made getting over to Canada a breeze, especially with the whole pandemic situation. ”
— Trudy, UK, 2021

​​After your working holiday in Canada, you will bring back a resume with different experiences, new skills that you will have learned overseas, competencies related to problem-solving, personal and professional growth, and, to sound justly cheezy, a head full of amazing memories, experiences and people that you will have met along the way in Canada!