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Irish rush for Canadian working holiday visas

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Irish citizens rushed to apply for Canadian working holiday visas after Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) began accepting applications at 8pm on 13th March 2014. 3,850 visas were available. CIC received that number of applications within 11 minutes and stopped accepting further applications leaving many applicants disappointed.

The Canadian working holiday visa is part of the International Experience Canada (IEC) scheme and allows young people from 32 countries to spend up to two years in Canada. For nationals of most countries, the IEC visa is granted for an initial 12 month period and can be renewed once allowing entry for up to two years. Irish citizens can apply for a single two year IEC visa if they wish.

The rules vary from country to country. Young people for many countries must be between 18 and 35. In other countries they can be aged 18 to 30. Applicants must meet certain basic visa requirements. They must;

  • Have a clean criminal record
  • Have a clean bill of health
  • Have sufficient funds to support themselves in Canada

7,700 visas available for Ireland

CIC has started to open for applications a number of times per year in each country and issue some of the visas each time. For example, in Ireland, there are 7,700 Working Holiday visas available in the year to April. 3,850 visas were made available on 13th March. A further 3,850 visas will be available later in the year. The date has yet to be announced.

In the UK, 5,350 visas were available in 2013/14. These were issued in three tranches. 2,000 were issued on 12th December 2013, 1,350 were issued on 17th December 2013 and the remaining 2,000 visas were available on 21st January 2014. All visas have now been issued.

Demand for IEC visas is high at present for various reasons. In Europe, most countries are still experiencing economic difficulties after the banking crisis of 2008. Young Irish people are leaving Ireland to work around the world.

Irish exodus

A great many were expelled from Australia for overstaying their working holiday visas in 2013 and there are reports that many are living and working illegally in the US.

Another reason why the IEC visa is popular is that it allows visa holders to renew their visas and to stay in Canada for two years.

But perhaps the most attractive thing about the IEC visa is that it can lead to a permanent residence visa. Working Holiday Visa Holders who work for twelve months in a skilled or management role while in Canada can apply for a Canadian permanent residence visa under the Canadian Experience Class visa program.

IEC can lead to CEC visa

Canada's previous immigration minister Jason Kenney reduced the amount of work experience required to qualify for the CEC visa from two years to one and allowed people to apply to stay for a second year in Canada on the IEC program, thereby allowing them to gain enough work experience to qualify for CEC permanent residence visas.

Sanwar Ali of said 'Canada's strategy of tempting skilled graduates to work in Canada by making it easier to qualify for permanent residence seems to be paying off. Demand for Working Holiday visas is extremely high'.

If you would like to apply for a visa can help. is a specialist visa consultancy with 25 years of experience dealing with visa applications. We can help with a wide range of visa applications to your country of choice. Please feel free to contact us for further details.