5 Steps For A Safe Working Holiday In Canada (IEC Visa Guide)

20 May 2024

Travel Tips Working Holiday

So, you’re thinking about a working holiday in Canada. Yes, that’s right. You can experience this magnificent country while earning dollars as you go. 

Setting off on a working holiday in Canada is a thrill. This adventure of a lifetime is filled with endless possibilities for exploration and growth. No wonder many Brits choose to move to Canada or at least take a gap year here. 

Through the International Experience Canada (IEC) program, young adults from around the world have the opportunity to live and work in Canada. For up to 12 or 24 months, you can soak in the country’s breathtaking landscapes, diverse culture, and vibrant communities.

However, before diving into the excitement of this experience, it’s essential to understand the steps to ensure a safe and fulfilling journey. From navigating the application process to finding employment and adapting to Canadian culture, this guide will provide you with the essential information and practical tips to embark on your Canadian working holiday with confidence and peace of mind. So, let’s begin our journey towards a safe and memorable working holiday experience in the Great White North.

What Is The Working Holiday In Canada?

Before we go any further, let’s define the working holiday in Canada clearly. The International Experience Canada (IEC) program, a Canadian working holiday, allows young adults from participating countries to live and work in Canada. The visa is for up to 12 or 24 months, depending on the nationality and the specific visa category applied for. 

This program aims to promote cultural exchange and allow participants to gain international work experience while exploring Canada’s landscapes, culture, and way of life. It’s a win-win for everybody!

Categories in the IEC Working Holiday Programme:

  • Working Holiday Visa—an open work permit that doesn’t require a job offer in advance. It allows you to work for almost any employer in Canada and travel.
  • Young Professionals—designed for those with an employment offer from a Canadian employer that counts toward your professional development. An employer-specific permit.
  • International Co-op (Internship)—this category is for anyone wanting to complete a work placement or internship in Canada as part of their academic course requirements. You’ll work for the same employer in the same location while staying in Canada.

Canada Working Holiday IEC Visa Requirements and Eligibility

Applicants must meet certain eligibility criteria to qualify for a Canadian working holiday visa. Requirements include age, citizenship in a participating country, and proof of financial means to support themselves during their stay in Canada. 

Additionally, applicants may need to meet health and character requirements and have valid health insurance coverage for their stay.

Nationality/Citizenship The UK is a participating country in the IEC program. As a British citizen, you may participate in the IEC twice. The first visa is for 24 months, and the second visa is for 12 months.You must have a valid UK passport for the duration of your stay/visa.
Age Requirements This visa is valid for applicants aged 18-35. You must also be in this bracket at the time of application.
Finances You must have a minimum of CAN$ 2,500 to help cover expenses in Canada.
Insurance You must have valid health insurance (the basis of comprehensive travel insurance). 

Get a quote from us today.

Other requirements for a working holiday Canada visa are:

  • Not be inadmissible to Canada – i.e. not on the blacklist!
  • Before departure, have a round-trip ticket or show you’ll have the financial resources to purchase a departure ticket at the end of your authorised stay.
  • Not be accompanied by dependants.
  • Pay all relevant visa fees.

Do you tick the boxes? Are you eligible for a working holiday visa to Canada? If yes, keep on reading!

Maple leaf in Canada outdoors

Application Process Step-By-Step Guide

The application process for a Canadian working holiday visa typically involves several steps. 

You will need to create an online profile through the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website. You submit the required documents here, pay the application fees, and wait for an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for a work permit. When an ITA is received, applicants can submit their work permit application and required supporting documents.

Once you accept your ITA, you’ll receive a message in your account with your deadline. You have exactly 20 days from accepting your ITA to submit your work permit application. So ensure you know the deadline and date and don’t miss it!

Let us outline the application process clearly for you:

  • Step 1: Complete the online form
  • Step 2: Get all the necessary documents (medical certificate, CV, passport, proof of residency, etc.)
  • Step 3: Pay your fees (IEC fee is CAN $172 and an open work permit holder fee of CAN $100)
  • Step 4: Submit your complete application
  • Step 5: Give your biometrics, if you need to (at a designated biometrics collection point)

You can follow the progress of your application with the provided online tracker. The next step is waiting for your application to be approved! 

Working Holiday Travel Insurance

Insurance is essential if you work and travel in Canada under the IEC visa. Health insurance is a requirement for the visa, and you may have to show evidence of this at border control. 

Our Working Holiday Policy is suitable for covering your adventures in Canada. Here are some of the benefits to take advantage of:

  • Emergency medical expenses and repatriation back to the UK up to £10,000,000. Covering work or leisure injuries with the correct Work Pack and Activity Pack. Upgrades available mid-policy.
  • Up to 2 years cover, the same as the IEC Visa.
  • Emergency Assistance 24/7. Contact medical professionals for advice about the best places to receive medical care and, if appropriate, liaise directly with medical facilities to pay your medical costs.
  • Personal belongings cover up to £1,000. Look at the complete list of policy benefits here.
  • Start a claim while you’re still away.
  • Policyholders have unlimited return trips to the UK with no limit on the number of days per visit.

Finding Safe Employment In Canada

One key aspect of a Canadian working holiday is finding employment. While participants are not required to have a job lined up before arriving in Canada, having a job offer or securing employment shortly after arrival can enhance the overall experience. 

Job opportunities vary depending on the participant’s skills and qualifications. The region you live and work in will also play a role. Common industries that hire working holidaymakers include hospitality, tourism, agriculture, and seasonal work, such as ski resorts.

Go Walkabout Working Holiday Insurance covers you for work. Most of our policyholders work within the hospitality industry or as ski lift operators. Your policy with us can also cover winter sports, which are great to enjoy in your free time. Unfortunately, we cannot cover the work of a ski instructor. You will need a specialist insurer. 

Find your safe passage to a working holiday in Canada

5 Tips To Stay Safe In Canada While Working And Traveling

Of course, everyone wants a safe trip when working abroad. It pays off to be familiar with Canadian laws, customs, and safety regulations before you land. Here are a few tips to stay safe while living the dream:

  1. Stay informed with local updates. Familiarise yourself with emergency contacts, healthcare facilities, and transportation options available to you.
  2. Keep your belongings always secure, especially in crowded areas or tourist hotspots. Use lockers or safes provided by accommodations, and be cautious when carrying valuables in public places.
  3. Travel with companions, especially during outdoor activities or exploring unfamiliar areas whenever possible. 
  4. Maintain communication with friends, family, or fellow travellers, especially when embarking on solo excursions. Share your itinerary, check in regularly, and have a reliable means of communication, such as a mobile phone or messaging app.
  5. Canada’s weather can be unpredictable, so stay informed about current weather conditions and prepare accordingly, especially during outdoor activities or excursions. Dress in layers, carry essential gear like sunscreen and water and know how to recognise and respond to weather-related hazards.

What’s Next?

Apply for your IEC, get approved, and then plan the adventure of a lifetime. A working holiday in Canada awaits you, and adventure is calling!

Contact us today to discuss insurance details and quotes.


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