This is the most time consuming part of the process but really is quite simple. All the following information can also be found at http://www.cic.gc.ca
1. You need to go to http://www.cic.gc.ca and see if you are eligible for a visa. Once you’re eligible, you can then make a free online IEC profile.
2. Now you need to become a candidate in your selected pool (working holiday). To do this, finish off your profile with the following details: identity, citizenship, permanent residence, contact info, student status, job offer, and passport and submit.
4. Once you get an invitation to apply, you have 20 days to complete the online form. Make sure you have all the relevant documents ready for this part prior to getting the invitation as some of these things may take time to get to you. Relevant documents: resume, passport, digital photo, medical exams (may not apply to you) and police check.
5. You then need to pay your fees (mine came to $250 CAD for the working visa).
6. Once you have completed the online form, it can take up to 6 weeks to hear back if you were successful or not. If you were successful, you will receive a Letter of Introduction. This letter needs to be taken to immigration in Canada so don’t lose it or pack it in your checked baggage.
So now you have your letter, you need to get ready and plan your trip!
Organise travel insurance
Most travel insurance companies will only insure you for duration of one year at a time so make sure you renew this if you plan to stay any longer. I went with 1Cover and am currently trying to lodge a claim so hopefully all goes well. Also if you’re planning on doing a snow season (which if you’re Australian like myself I’m sure you are) then you really should get snowboard/ski cover. It’s a lot more to add on but it’s definitely worth it if you have any injuries!
Book your flight
The most common places to fly into are Vancouver or Calgary depending on what you have planned. As you are coming over on a working holiday visa, you don’t need to have proof of a return flight home. We nearly got caught out on our flight to Hawaii because we didn’t have a flight leaving the States, but as soon as we showed them our Letter of Introduction we were all good.
It would be a smart idea to book a couple of days at a hostel in the city just so you can set yourself up. If you are tight on money or wanting more of a local experience try http://www.couchsurfing.com
Tip: make sure you have the following information ready for immigration: Passport, proof of funds, Letter of Introduction, resume or letter of job offer.
Once you arrive at the airport in Canada, you will need to line up for declaration before collecting your baggage. After you have your baggage, make you way immigration. In Vancouver, it was in the baggage collection area so it was very easy to find. We then had to leave our bags and enter a room full of other people who were also applying for visas. We waited in this line for almost an hour and a half before it was our turn. We showed our documents and within 5 minutes, we had our visas!
ARRIVING IN CANADA
Leave yourself 2 days to get yourself properly sorted when you arrive in Canada.
SIN number (social insurance number)
To work in Canada, you will need to apply for a SIN number at a Service Centre. In Vancouver, you can go here:
Office 125 757 Hastings Street West
Vancouver, British Columbia
To apply, you will need to show your visa and your passport.
To set up a bank account in Canada, you will need to make an appointment. We chose to go with Scotiabank that was recommended by a Canadian friend but you can go with whomever. Scotia seemed great for us as you don’t get charged for your monthly fee if you can keep at least $3500 in your bank account. Make sure you have the following details ready for your appointment: passport, sin number, visa, current address (can be a hostel), phone number and email address.
Phone and sim card
There are many phone providers to choose from in Canada, we just wanted the cheapest option. As we both had unlocked phones, we were able to go on a $50 monthly plan with Virgin Mobile. This was pretty expensive for us, considering you can go on plans for $20-$30 at home. You will also need your SIN number to set up a sim card.
You are now already to work in Canada! Happy job hunting!