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Working Holiday Visa ~ Work while travelling or, travel while working?

One of my friends told me last week, she is going to Australia for a year. I’m excited for her and by instinct as an immigration legal professional; I asked “you’re turning 30, right?”

Yes, I was right. She applied for the Working Holiday Visa.

Working Holiday Visa, in some countries called youth mobility program, is a program designed for young students to travel and work for gap year. Most western high school graduates choose a gap year before attending universities, during which period they could build up resume, make social network and perhaps raise some funding for their college expense. Working Holiday Visa is the perfect opportunities to learn a foreign language, and see the other part of world. To sum up, working holiday visas are specially designed to allow young adults the opportunity to live and work as expats in a foreign country, usually for 1 or 2 years.

Requirement and Pros:

  1. Passport of Canada for applying a host country and vice versa. It’s a bilateral agreement between two countries. For example, Canadians can apply Australia WHV then Australians can apply Canada WHV. Canada has such agreement with almost all the Western European countries (France, Spain, Ireland, England and so on), Australia, New Zealand, Japan, etc.

P.R. China also has agreement with New Zealand, unfortunately, it’s way too competitive to get a quota based on Chinese size of population.

For applying to (not from) Canada, check the country list and yearly quota here:

2. Between 18-35 (some countries require 18-30) years old.

3. Funding of 2000-4000 Euros

4. Medical Insurance purchased

5. With working holiday visa, you may work, study, travel as you wish for 12-24 months without sponsorship.

Strings Attached and Cons:

  1. You may only participate one certain country for working holiday visa once in a life time. Of course you can apply another country next time. Hypothetically you could live in 17 countries if you started when you were 18 and stayed a year in each.

  2. You can’t take your family with you. Each family member has to meet requirement and submit on its own.

  3. Must be able to pass criminal check.

  4. Not open year round. But at least once or twice per year and enough quotas for Canadian passport holders right now.

For most Canadian PR applicants, should they apply PR before 29 years old, they still have the chance to participate in working holiday international experience program for 1-2 years. The only essential limiting factor is age; therefore apply as early as you can!

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