Are you thinking about moving to Canada on a working holiday visa? Canada and Ireland have an agreement in place allowing Irish citizens to stay in Canada for up to two years on a working holiday visa. That’s a nice amount of time to explore our great nation’s three coastlines, and make some money while you’re here!
Canada’s agreement with Ireland is part of a program called International Experience Canada. This program and the department of the Canadian government arrange the working holiday agreements with various countries around the world. They also process the working holiday visa applications.
The Canada Working Holiday Visa gives Irish citizens entry into Canada for up to two years. When entering Canada with a working holiday visa, the immigration officer will take your visa and in exchange, provide you with an open work permit. This open work permit allows you to work in any job in Canada, for up to 24 months.
Have you or one of your mates been to Australia on a working holiday? Then you might be familiar with the concept of working to fund your travels. The working holiday visa for Canada is just like the working holiday visa for Australia, but better! How is that? Well, us friendly Canadians won’t make you do any ‘specified work’ (otherwise known as backbreaking farm work) for several months to stay for a second year. As long as you meet the required criteria for entry into Canada, you’ll be welcomed in for two years right off the cuff! How’s that for warm Canadian hospitality?
In order to apply for the working holiday visa for Canada, you must meet a number of criteria:
Because of the popularity of the Canada working holiday visa, most countries have more applicants than visas available. Therefore, IEC created a system where interested participants submit their profiles to a pool of candidates. Then, candidates are selected at random and invited to apply for the visa. Invitations to apply are sent out in a series of rounds so that IEC officials don’t get overwhelmed with too many applications at once.
Perhaps it’s the luck of the Irish because, to date, Ireland has not maxed out its annual quota of working holiday visas. This means you don’t have to wait on a chance to be invited to apply. However, you still have to go through the process like everyone else, but don’t worry, we’ll be able to support and guide you through the entire process.
The Canada working holiday visa is available to Irish citizens between the ages of 18 and 35. This means you must be within this age range at the time of your application. If you are 35 you can still apply, but take note, you must apply before your 36th birthday in order to be eligible.
Important: If you are 35 when you submit your profile into the pool but turn 36 before you receive your invitation to apply, unfortunately, you are no longer eligible to apply.
After applying and once you have received your visa, you have 12 months to enter Canada. Therefore, if you turned 36 after submitting your application, it is possible to enter Canada when you are 36 and stay until you are 38.
Upon entry into Canada, you are required to show the visa officer proof you have access to the equivalent in Euros of $2,500 CAD or higher. This will help the officer determine if you are able to support yourself while you begin your working holiday and look for a job.
“I love winter sports so spending my working holiday in Whistler has been such a good decision. I am also working for a very good hotel here, so I get to make money to then enjoy my time in Canada. 100% recommend!”— Julius
The minimum wage in Canada is different in each province. As of May 2022, the minimum wage in Alberta is $15 CAD/hour and in British Columbia, it is $15.20 CAD/hour.
In Canada, it’s common to get paid bi-weekly (every two weeks). If you join our Working Holiday Programs, you will get a guaranteed job with accommodation before you arrive, and the rent for your staff housing will be deducted directly from your paycheque.
Irish citizens cannot apply twice for a Canada working holiday visa. With an Irish passport, you may only get one working holiday visa in your lifetime.
If you are a dual citizen you can apply for a working holiday visa with your other passport. Of course, only if Canada has an agreement with the country of your other nationality. You can find the full list of countries here. Take note, some countries have a residency requirement meaning you must be living in the country in order to apply for that citizenship.
If you are a dual citizen of Ireland and the UK, you can apply for a second working holiday visa using your UK passport. You can do so even if you live in Ireland because there are no residency requirements for UK citizens applying for the visa. But remember, the age limit for UK citizens to apply for the Canada Working Holiday Visa is 30, NOT 35 like Ireland. Also, please keep in mind that the UK pool for International Experience Canada is way more competitive than the Irish pool.
Even though Irish citizens can participate in International Experience Canada twice, you cannot use both the Working Holiday and Young Professional visas. One of your two participations in IEC must be with the International Co-op visa, which you can read more about here. Therefore, as an Irish citizen, you must decide between the Working Holiday visa or the Young Professional visa, you cannot do both.
International Experience Canada officials require you to upload supporting documents as part of your application for the working holiday visa. Most nationalities are required to upload a police certificate at this stage. Ireland is one of them. This is to prove you do not have a criminal record.
The police certificate you upload cannot be more than six months old. You should request it from the superintendent who is in charge of your district. Remember each county’s Garda Síochána office issues its own certificates. For more information, visit the Garda Síochána.
Yes, you are required to provide a police certificate for every country that you have lived in for more than six months. For more information, check out our guide to getting police certificates for International Experience Canada.
In order to be allowed into Canada on your working holiday, you are required to prove you have health insurance for the duration of your stay. This means that if you want to stay for two years, you must purchase two years of health insurance before arriving in Canada. You cannot purchase health insurance and extend it once you are in Canada.
It is important here to note that the decision of the length of your work permit is up to the discretion of the immigration officer. Even though Irish citizens are eligible for a two-year open work permit, if arrive in Canada with just 3, 6, or 12 months of medical insurance, you risk receiving a work permit of the same duration. For more information, including our recommended insurance provider, refer to our guide on insurance for International Experience Canada.
The final step of the application process is submitting your biometrics. These are personal identifiers such as your photo and fingerprints which help immigration officers identify you.
No, you can complete your biometrics at any biometrics collection center in the world. As an Irish citizen, you are not required to submit your biometrics from the center in Dublin. Read our complete guide to submitting biometrics for your working holiday visa application.
As of today, all Biometrics Centers have reopened their offices, so make sure you book your appointment to get yours done.
As soon as possible! The sooner you become a candidate, the better. Remember that after you get your working holiday visa approved, Canada gives you 12 months to activate the permit, so you don’t have to travel right away.
Our team of working holiday specialists will:
In addition to getting a working holiday visa, Irish citizens can also get an International Co-op Visa. You can use this work visa for an internship in Canada up to 12 months in length. To be eligible for this visa, you must be registered in a school in Ireland when you apply.
The International Co-op visa is employer-specific. This means that you are applying for a visa so you can work at your internship company – it is not an open work permit like a working holiday. When you apply for this visa you must include your job offer from your internship host company. So in order to apply for this visa, you have to secure your internship before you apply for the visa. Sound like a bit of work? Stepwest can secure your internship in Canada for you and walk you through the visa application.
Have a question about our Working Holiday Programs for Irish citizens?
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