Ciara Kenny

The Irish Times forum by and for Irish citizens living overseas,

Canadian quota for Irish visas filled

Irish people planning to go to Canada on a working holiday visa will have to wait until next year to apply, as the quota for Irish passport holders has been filled for 2012.

Wed, May 30, 2012, 13:13



Irish people planning to go to Canada on a working holiday visa will have to wait until next year to apply, as the quota for Irish passport holders has been filled for 2012.

A total of 5,350 International Experience Canada (IEC) visas were available to Irish people this year, which allow those aged 18 to 35 to work legally in the country for up to one year.

A message was posted on the IEC Ireland website on Monday, informing candidates that applications mailed after 10pm that evening would not be accepted.

“There is no guarantee that applications received before this date will be approved,” the message said. “Applications are processed on a first come first served basis. Once the quota is full with applications that have been approved, we will stop all processing.”

IEC applications from Ireland are processed at the High Commission of Canada to the United Kingdom.

A spokeswoman for the IEC told The Irish Times that applicants will be notified of the status of their visa applications as soon as possible.

“The team currently continues to process the applications that have been submitted and to reconcile payments. We are closely collaborating with the Irish banks to ensure that payments can be reconciled in a timely manner,” she said.

In March, the IEC team said they had reveived an “unprecedented volume of applications” from Irish candidates since the the 2012 round opened, and were experiencing difficulties processing the visas within the standard eight-week timeframe.

“Applicants are strongly advised to wait until they receive their letter of introduction (LOI) before they book or pay for any travel to Canada, buy comprehensive health care insurance for their stay in Canada or make any commitments to employers, landlords, or with roommates,” the IEC spokeswoman said today. “This information is clearly posted on the IEC Ireland website.”

In 2011, the quota of 5,000 IEC visas for Irish people was filled on September 1st. The number of Canadian working holiday visas issued to Irish passport holders has increased dramatically in the last two years, up from 4,229 in 2010 and 2,500 in 2009.

(This article also appears in Breaking News on reported earlier this week that approximately 300,000 unprocessed submissions for Canadian work visas (non-IEC visas) made prior to February 2008 are likely to be returned to the applicants and their cases closed. They claim that this will also affect thousands of Irish workers.

If you have been affected by either of these issues, please share your experiences in the comments section below. We have already heard from some people who have been waiting as long as three months for their IEC applications to be processed, and have had to re-book flights and postpone pre-arranged employment.


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