Change of scene in 2018? Canada has 10,700 work visas for Irish
International Experience Canada 2018 programme is open for 18-35-year-olds
Ireland is one of 33 countries worldwide that has a reciprocal agreement with Canada to allow young people to live and work there. Photograph: iStock
Thinking of a change of scene in 2018? Canada has 10,700 work permits available for young Irish people next year, and the application system has just opened.
The International Experience Canada programme allows people aged 18 to 35 to work in Canada for up to two years.
A total of 10,700 IEC visas are available for Irish applicants in 2018: 7,700 for working-holiday makers, 2,500 for “young professionals” (who must have a job offer related to their qualification before applying), and 500 in the “international co-op” category for full-time students to take part in internship and work placement programmes.
The working holiday and young professional visas are eligible for two years. The international co-op visa is valid for 12 months, but participants can apply for an additional two years on a second IEC visa, meaning they can stay in Canada for three years in total under the IEC.
Ireland is one of 33 countries worldwide that has a reciprocal agreement with Canada to allow young people to live and work there.
How to apply
The application rules changed in 2016, to prevent the prior annual crush for visas among Irish applicants. Under the old system, a quota of visas for Irish citizens was released in one or two rounds each year, on a first-come, first-served basis. Quotas were filled within minutes for several years in a row, leaving disappointed candidates waiting another year before they could apply again.
On arrival in Canada, you must have health insurance, a return flight and proof of C$2,500 in your bank account
Now, applicants for visas can begin the process now by creating an online profileon the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website (cic.gc.ca/english/work/iec/index.asp), which will then be submitted to a “pool” of candidates if it meets requirements. Applicants are drawn randomly from these pools at “regular intervals”, and sent an Invitation to Apply for a work permit. Draws continue until all places are filled for the year.
You will need a scanned copy of the identification page of your passport and an electronic version of your up-to-date curriculum vitae, which must follow the format provided in a template on the IEC website, along with a fee of C$150 (€103). Participants in the working holiday-makers category must also pay an open work permit holder fee of C$100 when submitting an online work permit application through MyCIC.
International Co-op (Internship) participants, including those applying through an employer-specific recognised organisation, do not have to pay any other fees, but your Canadian employer will need to pay the employer compliance fee of C$230, and complete and submit an offer of employment directly to Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
Visas are processed on a first-come, first-served basis. Successful candidates have a year from the date of issue to enter Canada. On arrival in Canada, you must have health insurance, a return flight or enough money to buy one, and proof of C$2,500 in your bank account.
Ruairi Spillane of Moving2Canada.com says there is a misconception that visa agents can guarantee a work permit, or speed up the process, but the onus is still on the applicant to fill out the paperwork themselves.
“Every year, people think they can pay an agency a few hundred euro, and they’ll get the work permit into their hands. That’s simply not the case,” he says.
“Everyone stands the same chance of getting a work permit, whether you pay an agency, or go the DIY route. Agencies can give advice, but ultimately, the applicant still needs to fill out the forms themselves.”