Immigration Canada to Double Working Holiday Visa Quota for Ireland

Canadian Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney and Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore announcing the expansion of the Canada-Ireland International Experience Canada (IEC) program (Citizenship and Immigration Canada)

Citizenship and Immigration Canada announced yesterday that the working holiday visa quota for Irish youth will be nearly doubled, to 10,000 spaces by the beginning of 2014.

Yesterday’s announcement, made during Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney’s visit to Dublin, Ireland, comes just two days after news emerged that the length of working holiday visas for British citizens would be extended to two years from the current one.

Mr. Kenney is in Ireland to promote Canada as a destination for Irish talent, many of whom are seeking foreign employment opportunities in the midst of their country’s economic problems.

He is scheduled to visit Dublin’s Working Abroad Expo recruitment fair this weekend, where over 70 delegations from Australia, New Zealand Canada, and the Middle East are holding exhibitions to promote job opportunities for Irish people in their respective companies and countries.

Canada has a reciprocal working holiday agreement with Ireland which allows Canadian and Irish citizens to temporarily live in each other’s countries for a ‘working holiday’, during which they are permitted to work to fund their stay.

The Canadian working holiday visa is referred to as an International Experience Canada (IEC) work permit, and is available to Irish passport holders aged 18-35.

Currently, Irish youth can apply twice for the IEC work permit for 12 months each time. Kenney announced yesterday that at the beginning of 2013, Irish youth will be eligible to apply just once, but will be able to stay two years.

The change is intended to eliminate the inconvenience of Irish citizens who are working in Canada under the IEC program, being required to return to Ireland before the expiration of their first IEC work permit in order to apply for a second one.

Canadian Immigration Minister Suggests Popular ‘Working Holiday Visa’ to be Extended to Two Years, to Visit London Next Week

Graduates of British post-secondary institutions like University College London are struggling to find jobs in the UK's stagnant economy, and the Canadian immigration ministry wants them to consider immigrating to Canada to fill the country's labour shortages.

Canadian Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney will visit London next week in order to promote Canada as a destination for educated young Britons struggling in the UK’s job market.

In an interview with the British newspaper, the Telegraph, Kenney said that Canada wants to compete with Australia for young skilled British expats. He is scheduled to meet UK Immigration Minister Mark Harper during his London visit to market the economic opportunities that exist for young Britons in Canada.

In the interview, he said that to attract young expats, the length of time foreign workers need to work in Canada to qualify for permanent residence is being reduced from 24 months to one year, a reference to coming changes to the Canadian Experience Class immigration program.

Kenney also said that the length of time young foreign workers, aged 18-35, can stay in Canada on temporary work permits will be doubled to two years from the current one.

The International Experience Canada (IEC) program, under which 18-35 year non-Canadians from qualifying countries can receive one year Canadian work permits, or ‘working holiday visas’, is the only Canadian immigration program targeting the 18-35 demographic, so Kenney was apparently referring to the work permits issued under this program being extended to two years.

The purpose of the IEC program is to allow young visitors to Canada to work during their extended holiday, for the purpose of funding their stay in Canada. Canada has reciprocal working holiday agreements with most developed countries, including Australia, the UK, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland and Japan.