Working Holiday Program as a tool for attracting new workers

A working holiday visa is a travel permit which allows travellers to undertake employment in the country issuing the visa for the purpose of supplementing their travel funds.

For example, Canadian Working Holiday Program is designed for young people, who want to travel in Canada and need temporary paid employment to help pay for their stay.

Specific conditions apply to different countries, but work permits for one year or more are available for young people, who are defined as applicants between the age of 18-30 or 18-35 in some cases.

There are often several restrictions on this type of visa:

  • many are intended for young travellers, and as such have an age restriction (usually 18-30 or 35)
  • there are usually limits on the type of employment taken, or the length of time the traveller can be employed.
  • the visa holder is expected to have sufficient funds to live on while they seek employment

Participants in the visa program are issued an open or employer specific work permit, without the need to obtain a Labour Market Opinion.

Those interested can find out about the Working Holiday Program online and submit their application at a Canadian embassy or high commission.

Successful applicants are issued a work permit at the port of entry on the date of arrival into Canada.

The federal government’s official quota for the Working Holiday Program in 2011 is 59,470 people.

The allocation of the quota to specific countries varies widely, with the largest number being given to France (14,000), Australia (10,500), Japan (6,500), Germany (5,000) the United Kingdom (5,000) and Korea (4,000).

One of the best examples of the impact the Working Holiday Program is having on the local economy is the hospitality and tourism industry in Whistler, B.C. It has a workforce composed of foreign workers from Australia, the United Kingdom and New Zealand.

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