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Your Guide to Canada Working Holidays

If you are interested in living and working in Canada, a working holiday option could be the answer. Depending upon your nationality, it’s likely you will need a work permit to be able to stay for a significant length of time and obtain permission to work.

There are a number of possible visa options covered below.  Please note that the following information is most relevant for British and Hong Kong citizens, and other options may be available for other nationalities. If you aren’t sure of your eligibility for any of these programs, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has an online questionnaire you can use to assess what options are available.

Please note that Maxim Recruitment is a construction recruitment agency and does not offer any immigration or work visa advice, and for such advice ICCRC approved immigration consultants in Canada or the CIC should be consulted.

Working Holiday Visa (Temporary)

These types of visas are offered by International Experience Canada (IEC), which is part of the CIC.

This visa is for people who don’t have a job offer yet, may want to work for more than one employer or location, and may want to earn some money to fund their travel in Canada. Hong Kong and British citizens can participate in this program once and can stay for up to 12 months (Hong Kong) and 24 months (UK). Here are some of the other eligibility criteria applicable at the time of writing:

  • To be aged between 18–30
  • Have a valid HKSAR/UK passport for the duration of your stay
  • A minimum of $2500 CAD to help cover your expenses
  • Health insurance for the duration of your stay (and proof of this)
  • Either a round-trip ticket or can demonstrate you’ll have the means to purchase a departure ticket when your stay ends
  • No dependents are permitted to accompany you
  • From July 31, 2018, biometric information such as fingerprints will need to be supplied for UK applicants

To apply, the candidate pool needs to be open for applications (which it currently is at the time of writing). Visit the IEC website to learn more about the application process. They also have a list of Recognised Organisations who can help you complete the application process.

As an engineer, quantity surveyor, planner or other construction professional with a good CV and appropriate qualifications, securing a working holiday visa is an excellent way to become a very attractive candidate to employers in Canada.  Please get in touch with your CV if you are intending or have in progress an application to secure a working holiday visa for Canada.

International Mobility Program / Open Work Permit (Temporary)

If you are not eligible for the Working Holiday Visa, this may be an alternative. If you have a temporary job offer from a Canadian employer, you may be eligible for the International Mobility Program (which will grant an open work permit). This will enable you to work for any employer for a specified period of time.

However, it’s highly likely that your employer will need a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to prove that there is no Canadian worker available to fill the role before they can hire you. You’ll need the LMIA to apply for a work permit.

Employer-Specific Work Permit (Temporary)

Similar to the IMP/open work permit, if you have a temporary job offer from a Canadian employer, you may be able to apply for an employer-specific work permit. Your employer will need to complete a LMIA and get confirmation to proceed before you can progress with your application.

Plan Your Future

If Canada is somewhere you have always wanted to explore, take a look at our Canada jobs section for the latest vacancies across the country or check out our guide to working in Canada.

If you already have the right to live and work in Canada, please make this clear in your job or CV application to Maxim so your application can be fast tracked.


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