Canadian holiday working visas are going fast

A surge in demand from Irish workers means you'll want to act now if you're planning a trip...

Canadian holiday working visas are going fast

A man in green performs during the 2017 Toronto St. Patrick's Day Parade in Toronto, Canada. Picture by: Xinhua/SIPA USA/PA Images


There has been a surge in demand for Canadian working holiday visas, with applications from Irish workers this year already surpassing the numbers for 2016 in its entirety. has confirmed that there are less than 500 places left for the 2017 programme, so those thinking of taking a temporary job across the Atlantic will have to act fast.

The migration experts are highlighting the growth in popularity of Canada as a go-to destination for Irish workers and calling on those who want to apply for the visa to get the relevant documentation in order.

Edwina Shanahan, managing director of, said:

“This year’s work programme looks likely to fill the quota – perhaps before H1 2017 is out! So anyone who is hoping to be a part of this programme really needs to get organised now."

The Irish quota for this programme is 7700 for working holiday visas issued without job offers. To date, 5418 have been issued to Irish workers, and a further 1,794 applicants have applied and should be issued permits if their applications are eligible. 

"That leaves only 488 places for this year," Shanahan continued. "In 2016, over 1,000 places went unused by the end of the year – given that we are only in April it looks extremely likely that this year’s programme will fill up – and soon."


The International Experience Canada programme allows people up to the age of 35 (30 for some countries) to live and work in Canada for a period of 12 or 24 months. The applicant should hold a passport from an eligible country – of which Ireland is one – and the passport must be valid for the duration of their stay. They must have sufficient funds to support their stay (C$2500), have health insurance and a clean criminal record.

Shanahan explained:

“Before you can apply for the IEC working holiday visa, you need to register your interest under the various IEC streams that you want to be considered for. Invitations are then issued. If accepted for a particular stream, you have only 10 days to accept or reject the offer before it expires.

"Once you accept your invitation from IEC, you must get your work permit documentation submitted and pay the required immigration fees. You have just 20 days for this stage so again you need to be really focused and ensure that you have your documents submitted on time."

Shanahan noted that some documents can take a few weeks to obtain and that, after reviewing your application, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) may request even more supporting documents.

Upon approval, you will be sent a letter of introduction which you must present to immigration when entering Canada in order to be granted the work permit.

"A mistake on any part of your application can cost you a few months of time or can result in the application being rejected.," Shanahan concluded.