The WHV in Canada, everything you need to know

Article Update Date: December 12, 2022

Do you want to travel to Canada but are not aware of the work permits available? Do you know that there are international agreements that allow you to travel and/or work in a foreign country for a certain period of time?

In this article, we will introduce you to the WHV in Canada and everything you need to know about this famous work permit.

What is the WHV in Canada (Working Holiday Permit)?

The Working Holiday Permit (WH P) is a work permit accessible through the EIC programme (International Experience Canada). This program aims to offer young people (18-35 years) the opportunity to travel and/or work in Canada. The PVT is for a period of 2 years for the French and 1 year for Belgians.

This isan "open"work permit: it allows you to work and travel throughout Canada and is not tied to an employer .It is therefore very flexible and you can work in almost any field of activity. Note that in some sectors, such as education and health, you need to pass a medical examination.

One of the advantages of a WHV is that there is no obligation to work for a certain amount of time, it is up to you how you want to use it. As long as you stay within the period of time stated on your work permit, you can work for as long as you want. For example: you can work for 12 months and travel for 12 months, only travel or only work for the whole duration of your WHV.

The WHP seems like the ideal work permit, but there are a few important things you should know before embarking on the Canada WHP adventure :

  • The WHV is not renewable*.The only exception for France concerns people who obtained a WHV before 2015 and who have only benefited once from the EIC programme.
  • It is obtained by drawing lots, to avoid discrimination against participants. You get your chance almost every week when the random invitation rounds are scheduled.
  • It is difficult to access! Indeed, there are more and more applications and the quotas per year do not necessarily correspond to the number of applicants.
  • You cannot combine a WHV with a Young Professionals (YP) permit*. Although they are part of the same programme, it is not possible to combine these two work permits.
  • You will not have access to the health insurance plan of the province in which you are located. The WHV is the only work permit in the IEC program that does not allow you to be attached to the local health insurance plan (in Quebec this is the RAMQ).

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*There are exceptions depending on the agreements with the countries. It is possible to renew your WHV or to combine the WHV and the JP for the following countries: Spain, Greece, Estonia, Costa Rica, Germany, Chile, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico (agreements suspended), Norway, Netherlands, Poland, Czech Republic, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine (agreements suspended).


Who can apply for a WHP for Canada in 2023?

All people who are part of the 33 countries that have an agreement with Canada's IEC programme are eligible for a WHP. You can check here if your country has an agreement with the IEC programme.

For example, France and Belgium are among the partner countries of the EIC programme and each has an agreement with well-defined admission criteria.

Here are the selection criteria for the French?

In order to register in the WHV pool, and have the chance to be drawn, you must :

  • Being a French citizen. If you live in France, but are not a French citizen, you are not eligible for a WHP under the France-Canada agreement. If your country of nationality has an agreement with the EIC Canada programme you may be eligible through your country's agreement.
  • Have a French passport that is valid for the duration of your stay in Canada (at least 2 years). If your passport expires before the two years, remember to renew it before starting the WHV application procedure. Otherwise, the work permit you will be provided with will be for the duration of your passport. If you apply for a passport renewal during your WHP application, remember to notify immigration of this change via your IRCC account.
  • Be between 18 and 35 years old (inclusive). You have until the day before your 36th birthday to be eligible for the draw.
  • Have at least $2,500 CDN to cover your expenses in Canada. This is a proof of funds that will be requested when you arrive in Canada. This can be an official letter from your bank or a bank statement dated within 3 days of your departure.
  • Take out health insurance for the duration of your stay. You will be asked for proof of insurance when you arrive in Canada. If your insurance is less than 2 years old, then the duration of your WHV may be equivalent to the duration of your insurance.
  • Not being inadmissible to Canada.
  • Have a return ticket before you leave OR show that you will have enough money to buy a return ticket at the end of your stay in Canada. If you do not have a return ticket, include an additional sum of money on your proof of funds to prove that you are able to pay for a return ticket.
  • Not be accompanied by dependants. It is still possible to bring your de facto spouse under certain conditions (see below).
  • Pay the applicable feeswhich is $346 (in total). This fee is due only after the draw and if you wish to submit your application. If your application is rejected, you will be eligible for a refund.

In addition, the EIC agreement with France also includes the YoungProfessionals(JP) work permit. This has different eligibility criteria to the WHV.


WHP Canada: conditions for Belgians?

  • Be a Belgian citizen. If you live in Belgium, but are not a Belgian citizen, you are not eligible for a WHV under the Belgium-Canada agreement.
  • The age age limit is 30 years (inclusive).
  • Since the Belgian PVT is for one year, thehe duration of your passport must be at least 1 year.

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Do I have any chance of being selected for the WHV Canada?

Each year, Canada's immigration authorities announce quotas for the coming year's draws. These quotas are subject to change in the course of the year according to the needs recommended by immigration.

Usually, the WHV registration pools open between late October and early December and close at the same time the following year.

➡️ For the 2023 season, the session began on January 9, 2023.

Please note: it is important to find out the opening and closing dates of the sessions!Indeed, it is possible that atthe end of the session, the registration pools are empty. In this case, your application will be automatically withdrawn. You will then have to re-register for the next session if you wish to be drawn.

The draws are random and usually weekly.

I am selected for the WHV and my partner is not, what can I do?

You were lucky enough to be drawn, but your other half wasn't so lucky?

Firstly, it is important to understand that the WHV is for one person only.The Young Professional Permit (YPP) is more suited to people who want to go abroad as a couple or as a family . If your choice is exclusively for WHP, there are several options available to you.

The first is towait for your partner to be drawn in turn. You have up to 12 months to validate your WHP and arrive in Canada, your spouse may have a chance to be drawn during this period. This decision is possible, but risky, because as you know, draws are very risky.

The second solution is reserved for for people who do not intend to work in Canada. Your spouse may consider accompanying you on a tourist visa to Canada (note that this is not currently possible during the pandemic). In this case, he/she will have to justify that he/she has the financial means to stay in Canada for the duration of his/her visa without employment. The tourist visa can be issued for a period of 6 months maximum.

If your partner does not need to work, she may also consider doing a study permit for the duration of your WHV.

The third option, certainly the one that will suit many of you, your spouse has the possibility to obtain an open work permit, under certain conditions.

When you cross the border, the government has no guarantee that you will work or that your job will be skilled. If you manage to find a job quickly and you meet the following conditions, your partner can apply for an open permit:

  • The job you have in Canada is a skilled jobthat is, a job in category 0, 1, 2 or 3 according to the Canadian National Occupational Classification.
  • NOC FEER 4 employment may be accepted if the individual can submit a post-secondary certificate, degree or diploma with their work permit application.
  • You are married or in a common-law relationship and you can prove this status (marriage certificate, invoices, certificates...).
  • You have proof of this employment (employment contract, letter of employment).
  • Your job has already started and you can proveat least 3 payslips.

If you meet these conditions, your spouse can quickly apply for an open work permit. In Canada, pay is generally paid every two weeks, so a month and a half after your WHP begins, his or her application can be launched.

If you are convinced by the PVT and you want to register in the pool, here is the procedure to follow.

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