Welcome to my new “How To… Canada” series! In this series, I’ll try to put my knowledge to good use and shed some light on my new country: Canada. You will learn how some immigration tips and tricks, how to improve your proficiency in both official languages, how to find a job, how to settle in Canada etc. I’ll publish a new “How To… Canada” post every Saturday.
Feel like checking out Canada before immigrating? Or just want to experience working abroad? Let’s have a look at how you can work temporarily in Canada. And luckily, you have a few options. You can either:
- Apply for a work permit
- Apply for a working holiday visa, if your country signed an agreement with Canada
Let’s be honest: obtaining a work permit for Canada can be quite tricky. Indeed, you will most likely (90% of the time) apply from outside Canada. But to be eligible to apply, you must provide a job offer from a Canadian employer… and of course, contacting employers from abroad, without a work permit is tough. Plus, the employer will need to get a labour market opinion from Human Resources and Social Development Canada (HRSDC), to confirm that the employer can fill the job with a foreign worker (i.e to avoid an impact on Canadian job-seekers).
Unless Canada really needs you, the process can be extremely frustrating. Right now, three special categories enjoy an easier process because of the critical shortage: live-in caregivers, business people and information technology workers.
Remember that work permits are not immigration documents. Your work permit will include the type of work you can do, the employer you can work for and for how long. Should your employer let you go, you may have to go home… and it does happen. North American’s job market is extremely flexible and here, no job is forever!
You can download the application for a work permit and all the informations on the CIC website.
Another interesting option, providing you meet the requirements, is the working holiday visa program (WHV). It targets young people who wish to travel and work in Canada. Currently, it is required to:
- Be a citizen of: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Republic of Korea, South Africa, Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden and United Kingdom (more countries are being added, so check your local Canadian embassy!)
- Be between 18 and 30 years old (but depending of your country of citizenship, you may get a WHV up to 35 years old)
- Have minimum funds (you will need proof of funds)
- A medical examination is not normally required unless the employment is in health services, teaching, child care etc.
The maximum validity of an employment authorization issued under this program is usually 12 months. The additional requirements vary from country to country. With a working holiday visa, you may not apply for social benefits and you will have to buy your own health insurance.
Applying for a WHV is usually pretty easy and done with minimum hassle. However, the number of places are limited yearly through a quota system and it comes on a first come, first serve basis. I have personally never heard of a WHV being denied: your biggest issue could be the quota system. These days, a lot of people apply for the WHV (to my knowledge, especially French, British, Australians and Kiwis) and it’s common to apply about a year before you actually go to Canada.
The working holiday visa program is a great way to discover Canada and can be your first step towards immigration, as you may apply for permanent residence once in Canada.
You might also want to check out these links:
- Working holidays visas and temporary work permits chart
- PVTistes: a French website and forum about the Permis Travail Vacances (Working Holiday Visa)
- International Youth Program: a Foreign Affairs Ministry page about international programs options
- The Canadian Visa Bureau: a good page about the working holiday visa
Hope to see you soon in Canada! And as usual, I will try my best to answer any question you may have.