Canada working holiday visa

Canada Working Holiday Visa under IEC Canada Stream

Last Updated on December 30, 2022 by Visa Journal

Do you wish to move to Canada and explore the country while working and travelling. Govt of Canada offers the International Experience Canada program as a global mobility program aimed at attracting young people aged between 18 – 35 from various countries around the world. In this article we will discuss the IEC Canada program in general and Canada Working Holiday Visa in particular.

What is IEC Canada

IEC stands for the international experience Canada. It is a Canadian work visa stream that eligible applicants can obtain for a period of up to two years. During this time, you can work and travel in Canada freely. This program opens every year as a multilateral agreement between Canada and various other countries. Where eligible applicants can submit their profiles, if they are picked, they can apply for a Canadian work visa and spend time in Canada.

Eligible Countries

IEC Canada is open to citizens of 36 countries. You can only apply for the international experience Canada program if you are a citizen of these countries, in case you are a permanent resident of these countries but a citizen of a country other than these you are not eligible under IEC.

The list of eligible countries for IEC Canada 2023 is

  1. Andorra
  2. Australia
  3. Austria
  4. Belgium
  5. Chile
  6. Costa Rica
  7. Croatia
  8. Czech Republic
  9. Denmark
  10. Estonia
  11. France
  12. Germany
  13. Greece
  14. Hong Kong
  15. Ireland
  16. Italy
  17. Japan
  18. Latvia
  19. Lithuania
  20. Luxembourg
  21. Mexico
  22. Netherlands
  23. New Zealand
  24. Norway
  25. Poland
  26. Portugal
  27. Republic of Korea
  28. San Marino
  29. Slovakia
  30. Slovenia
  31. Spain
  32. Sweden
  33. Switzerland
  34. Taiwan
  35. Ukraine
  36. United Kingdom

Each of the country has a specific quota allocated to it and this varies based on the mutual agreement between Canada and that country. Australia last year had an unlimited quota, they had some 9000 invitations issued. Costa Rica had a quota of around 200, UK had 8000 spots, and Ireland had about 10,700 spots.

The good news is that for the 2023 IEC season Govt of Canada intends to accept some 90,000 people from all the above listed countries which means increase of 20% spots compared with last year.

Various IEC Visa Categories

So, under the international experience Canada program there are a total of three different categories that you can apply to. These are

  • Canada working holiday visa
  • IEC Young professionals’ category
  • IEC Internationals Co-op(internship)

We will look at details for each of these now

Canada Working Holiday Visa

First lets discuss the Canadian working holiday visa category . This is the category which is the mot popular as it has least set of requirements attached to it. Also, Working Holiday Visa for Canada is open for all 36 nationalities that are eligible under the IEC Canada program.

Under the Canadian working holiday visa you do not require a job offer for the work permit. Once you obtain the canadian work permit under the working holiday visa, you can work for multiple employers. You can work in multiple locations, and you can work and take breaks in between to travel and explore various parts of Canada. Under this stream you will get open work permit, which means you are open to work in any field, in any location and with any Canadian employer.

IEC Young professionals’ category

Next, we have the young professional’s category. Under this category you must have a job offer from a Canadian employer. This job must help contribute towards your professional and career development. Under this category you are issued an employer specific work permit, so you are required to work at the location that the employer has its business operations in. This category is not open to all the 36 eligible nationalities under IEC.

Just to mention that the number of spots for this category are very small, as most spots are kept for the Working holiday visa Canada.

IEC Internationals Co-op(internship)

Then we have the International Co-Op(internship) category under the IEC Canada. Like the young professional category this category is also not open to all the nationalities that are eligible under IEC. If you are enrolled in a post secondary educational institution and are from one of the eligible nationalities, you can apply under this category for an employer specific work permit. The condition is that you will do a paid internship/work placement in Canada and that this internship is a required part of your degree. The internship in Canada must be paid and must relate to your field of study. This category has the least spots every year as it has the maximum conditions attached to it.

IEC Country Eligibility

CountryWorking HolidayYoung ProfessionalInternational Co-Op
Costa RicaYesYesYes
Czech RepublicYesYesYes
Hong KongYesNoNo
Republic of KoreaYesNoNo
New ZealandYesNoNo
San MarinoYesNoNo
SpainYesYes Yes

Eligibility Checklist

All you need to do is visit the official government of Canada website and use the IEC eligibility check tool to ascertain if you can apply for the IEC Canada program, and under which categories can you apply.

Once you are on this webpage, first you select your citizenship from the drop-down menu. And then you see which categories it is eligible for. As most of you will be looking at applying for the Working Holiday visa of Canada so pick this and you will see all the important details.

This will give you details on the maximum age limit for your country of citizenship which varies as either 30 or 35 for different nationalities.

You will also know the length of work permit that you can be granted. It varies between 12-24 months, and how many times can you participate in IEC. Some nationalities can only participate once and some twice.

The general eligibility requirements for the Canadian working holiday visa category for all nationalities are

  • Have a passport which is valid for the entire duration of your proposed stay in Canada
  • Not less than 18 years of age
  • Must have a minimum of 2500 C$ in your possession to prove that you can cover your expenses in Canada
  • Have health insurance for your entire duration in Canada. This is needed only when you arrive in Canada
  • Are not inadmissible to Canada on the basis of past criminal record or some medical issue
  • Your dependents should not be accompanying you in your Working holiday visa application.

Canada Working Holiday Visa Age Limit

The age limit is set at at least 18 years for all the participating nationalities. The upper age limit for working holiday visa of Canada is set at 30 or 35 years depending on the country. The following table provides details on working holiday canada age limit

CountryAge Limit
Belgium 18-30
Costa Rica18-35
Czech Republic18-35
Hong Kong18-30
New Zealand18-35
South Korea 18-30
San Marino18-35
United Kingdom 18-30

Application Process

The IEC program opens in the start of every year, its usually first or second week of January when the round of invitations start. IEC 2023 will open from 09 January 2023. This is when applicants of IEC 2023 can start submitting their profiles.

Once you have determined your eligibility you can complete the coming to Canada questionnaire, after that you create your profile on the Canadian immigration website, and get your profile entered into the right pool of applicants.

Once you are in the pool of applicants, you start waiting for the IEC round of invitations. Canadian immigration conducts round of invitation for IEC on a regular basis, multiple times a year. As there is a quota for most of the nationalities and for the overall working holiday visa. So, if you enter the pool earlier in the year you will have much better chances of being invited.

Once you are picked in an IEC round of invitation you will get a message in your IRCC online account that you have been invited to apply. You then have ten working days to accept the ITA. Once you accept the ITA you will have another 20 days to submit your complete application. So, it is very important to know which documents you need to submit for your Working Holiday visa application and have them ready so that you can meet the submission deadline.

Some of the common documents that you may need to submit with your working holiday visa application are

  • Proof of financial support (2500 C$)
  • Medical exam
  • Police certificates
  • Resume
  • Passport
  • Digitalt format Passport size Photo
  • Family Information form
  • Proof of residency in your country of citizenship
  • Applicable fees for IEC and WP

You may be asked to provide additional documents after you submit your application, and if you do not have a required document at the time of document submission there are ways to submit the application and provide that later.

It usually takes few weeks for the processing of your application, and once you have an approval letter you can apply for the Work permit. The work permit can be applied online, and you can apply for it at a Canadian port of entry as well.

Post Working Holiday Visa

Let’s now look at what happens after your Working Holiday Visa in Canada.

You can use the Canadian work experience that you have gained in Canada to apply for the various permanent residency streams. As you would have gained between 1-2 years of experience in Canada so this will give you additional points when you are applying for programs like Express entry. Depending on which province you did most of your work in, there can be various provincial nomination programs that you may be eligible for. And if nothing works then the employer that you are working for can always help support your Work permit application through ab LMIA.

We suggest that for now just focus on obtaining the Canadian working Holiday visa, arrive in Canada and gain some work experience. If you like the place and would want to stay back there are numerous immigration pathways that you can find.

Watch the video on IEC Canada by Hassan Shariq, who is Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant bases in Canada and can hep you with your canadian working holiday visa application for 2023.

Frequently Asked Questions

When will Canada working holiday visa 2023 open?

The 2023 session for Canadian working holiday visa will start accepting applications from 09 January 2023.

Is Canada accepting working holiday visa applications?

Yes the program has been open in 2022. The 2023 program session will start accepting applications from 09 January.

Canada working holiday visa age limit?

The age limit for canada’s working holiday visa is 18-30 years for most countries. For some countries it is 18-35 countries.

How much money do i need to enter Canada on a working Holiday Visa?

You need 2,500 C$.