As a world class destination, British Columbia attracts not just tourists, but also many overseas youth and students looking for a working holiday. These international, mobile young people are eager to explore and work in various regions of BC, and are a great fit for tourism and hospitality employers who may be situated in more rural or remote areas, or are looking to fill temporary positions for busy seasons.
Canada has bilateral reciprocal agreements with 32 countries allowing foreign youth aged 18 to 30 (35 for some countries) to travel and work in Canada. The International Experience Canada (IEC) program provides these youth with a work permit (typically valid for 12 to 24 months, some renewable) to work for any employer in Canada. These work permits do not require a Labour Market Impact Assessment. Many tourism employers have recruited staff, especially for seasonal positions, using one of the youth mobility programs and have enjoyed the benefits and convenience of these programs.
The IEC program has three streams: Working Holiday Program (WHP), Young Professional (YP) and International Co-op. Terms and conditions vary depending on the country of origin. For a description of the visa types, click here.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) uses a pool approach to invite candidates into the IEC: Candidates must create an online IEC profile and be found eligible in order to enter the pool. Those applying for the Working Holiday program are selected randomly in draws for each source country until the annual quota is reached; Young Professionals and International Co-op registrants will be invited to apply on a first-come, first-served basis, as long as spots remain in the annual bilateral quota.
Each country has a specific quota for how many work permits their youth are issued in a given year. The pool typically opens in the fall prior to the year an applicant would apply for. For example, the 2018 pool opened on November 3, 2017. Youth interested in this program can check the pool opening dates, draws and quota numbers on IRCC’s website. Rules and requirements by country can be found here.
So how do you connect with these great candidates? That’s where we can help. In September 2017, go2HR participated as an exhibitor at the World Youth and Student Travel Conference (WYSTC), the leading trade event for the global youth, student and educational travel industry. There we met with and shortlisted agencies from several countries that facilitate youth travel to Canada. If you are interested in a list of these agencies and their contact information to employ youth with working holiday visas, please contact:
Industry HR Coordinator, go2HR
604-633-9787 ext. 234