5 Reasons You Should Apply For A Canadian Working Holiday Visa On March 12!

This week is pretty important as far as working holiday internet chatter goes. Tomorrow (or today, if you’re in the UK) the International Experience Canada (IEC) Working Holiday Visa applications for UK citizens open for 2015. The prize up for grabs is a 24 month visa (increased from 12 month in previous years) which will allow you to live and work anywhere in Canada. When I applied for my visa in 2010 they were released in January, ran out around June or July time, and then another bunch were released in September. Last year, there were three rounds of online submissions to make a total of 5,350 visas, and each round sold out within minutes. Literally, minutes. There are many, many reasons why working holidays are becoming more popular, and why more people are choosing to leave to the UK for Canada (and other great destinations) each year. Below are the top 5 things I think you should think about. And think about quickly.

1. You get to try a different lifestyle

There’s going on vacation, and then there’s living and working abroad. Spending two years (or even a few months) in another country is your chance to try something totally different and really immerse yourself in a different culture. You’ll make the ultimate transition from tourist to local and really get to know the city or country that you moved to. Even if you choose a seemingly similar destination without a language barrier, like most of Canada, you’ll be amazed at the cultural differences you experience and learn from. Whoever said that ‘the grass isn’t always greener’ clearly did not make the move from Southampton to Vancouver. How many times have you ever been on vacation and thought ‘I wonder what it would be like to live here?’ Now is your chance to find out.

2. It’s an opportunity to see the other side of the world

The best thing about living in Vancouver is that I have a whole new base on the West Coast. The sheer size of Canada does make me wish I’d made the most of cheap travel in Europe more, but it also means there’s so much more for me to see. Vancouver is the perfect springboard for destinations like the Rocky Mountains, Hawaii, Alaska, California, Mexico and even whittles previously long-haul trips like Australia, New Zealand or Hong Kong down to a single, direct flight. All of a sudden you’re looking further than Bournemouth beach for a weekend away, and when you do head back to good old Blighty you appreciate the best parts (mini cheddars, Ribena, cheese) much much more.

Will you choose sun? (Big Beach, Maui)

Will you choose sun? (Big Beach, Maui, HI)

....or snow? (Vancouver, BC)

….or snow? (Vancouver, BC)

3. You can boost your career (or just life) experience

The IEC working holiday visa is an open work permit which means you can live and work anywhere in Canada and do pretty much anything you like (though you may have to jump through some extra hoops if you want to work in a medical or educational field). This could mean leaving real life behind and working in a beach bar for a year, or it could be the chance you need to get some great international experience on your resume. Some people (like me) move abroad for the chance to grow and develop their career while others are working solely to experience their new and much more interesting lifestyle. Whether you end up working on a ski lift or in a corporate office, just the act of working in a different country is a huge learning experience. Which can never be a bad thing.

4. If you hate it, you can always come home (or not)

A working holiday can be just that; a holiday. If you arrive in Canada and realize after 6 days, 6 weeks or 6 months that you’re not having the best time, you can just get on a plane and come home. The worst case scenario is you spend a bunch of money on an amazing vacation in a new place, and make some new friends along the way. On the flip side, if you’re already dreaming about your second passport a working holiday can be a great way to get a foot in the door and find a job so you can apply for permanent residence and stay forever. Sounds like a win-win to me.

5. It’s not hard to apply

Have I convinced you yet? Good news, if you’re a British citizen aged 18-30 and have no criminal record then you’re eligible to apply. The application process is very competitive but isn’t rocket science. The online system could definitely be considered confusing, especially with so much pressure for you to get organized before the deadline, but it’s designed to be accessible by regular people, not lawyers or immigration consultants. You’ll need to fill in a lot of forms and pull together your passport, resume and a police certificate at various points in the process. If you miss the first round (which you probably will, as it opens in 8 hours), there will be two more rounds over the next few weeks.

What now?

So, what do you think? If you’re at all swayed by the idea of sunnier (or snowier) climes, take a look at the following useful resources to help you with next steps:

  1. The official International Experience Canada website for UK citizens (including application process and forms)
  2. This great IEC FAQ page put together by the helpful people at Moving 2 Canada (also check out the rest of their site)
  3. The Ultimate Guide to a Working Holiday (IEC) in Canada e-book produced by Gemma at Off Track Travel (featuring a profile on yours truly – thanks Gemma!) available for just £2.99.

And like I said, do it quickly. The CIC doesn’t give much notice on these things, so head to the website now and prepare yourself for an internet refresh battle that will put Coachella ticket sales to shame. Go forth and move abroad!

Me at the airport checking in for my flight to Canada in January 2011

Me at the airport checking in for my flight to Canada in January 2011

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About MarmitetoMaple

I'm originally from the UK and have been working and living the dream in Vancouver, BC, since January 2011. I am a firm believer in travel, good cheese, volunteering and community engagement.

2 responses to “5 Reasons You Should Apply For A Canadian Working Holiday Visa On March 12!”

  1. Gemma says :

    Thanks for the mention Liz! Love that photo of you in the airport!!

    • MarmitetoMaple says :

      You’re welcome, and oh my goodness it seems like a lifetime ago! I actually had the worst cold (from stress!) and hadn’t slept and was trying not to cry…but I look happy! 😀

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