Ciara Kenny

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

Canadian visa quota for Irish almost full

Eighty per cent of the 6,350 Canadian working holiday visas available for Irish people this year have already been snapped up, just three days after applications opened.

Fri, Feb 1, 2013, 11:57

   

Ciara Kenny

Eighty per cent of the Canadian working holiday visas available for Irish people this year have already been snapped up, just three days after applications opened.

According to the Irish Experience Canada (IEC) website this morning, just 1,226 visas out of the quota of 6,350 for this year are still available.

The visa period under the IEC programme, which allows Irish passport holders aged 18 to 35 to work legally in the country, has been extended from 12 months to 24 this year, and 1,000 more visas are available than in 2012.

The visa allocation for Irish people last year was filled by May.

Policy officer with the Dublin Diocese’s Crosscare Migrant project Joe O’Brien has warned that accommodation costs are high in Canada, and although casual jobs may be easier to find than in Ireland, they are not guaranteed.

The unemployment rate is half what it is in Ireland, but people cannot assume, especially if they have not been on a working holiday visa before, that it will be easy to settle in and find a job. Employment and accommodation remain the two big challenges,” he said.

The Toronto based Irish Canadian Immigration Centre offers support to newly-arrived Irish immigrants including information on work permits, residency, social services, and employment. For more information, see the Generation Emigration articles on living and working in Toronto, Vancouver and the prarie provinces, and an article on buying or renting a home in Canada.

Irish people who have lived in Canada under the IEC for 12 months will be eligible to apply for another 24-month visa, but those who have already had two visas will not.

Applying for the IEC visa involves two stages: IEC registration and assessment to determine if you meet IEC criteria, followed by an assessment of your admissibility to Canada and eligibility for a work permit. The counter on the IEC website reflects the number of people who have registered, but more places may become available as applicants who don’t meet IEC criteria are refused.

The IEC has warned that third party organisations or “visa specialists” cannot guarantee applicants a place on the programme.