What are my options after the Working Holiday?

While the Working Holiday work permit is intended to give young applicants the opportunity to temporary work and travel in Canada for up to 2 years, many other applicants will use it as a stepping stone to permanent residency. 

First and foremost, the Working Holiday work permit cannot be extended beyond the max. allowed time under the agreement with your country. Neither are the other two IEC categories, Young Professional and International Co-Op.

Option 1: Stay longer as a visitor

If you only want to stay a few more weeks or months to explore Canada, you need to apply for a visitor record to stay as a visitor before your work permit expires.  More information on the visitor record > here <
Once you apply to change your status to “visitor”, and your work permit expires, you’ll have what is called maintained visitor status. It will let you stay in Canada until you get a decision on your visitor record application. Once your current work permit expires, you must stop working.

Option 2: A second participation with the same citizenship

Very few of the IEC countries allow a second Working Holiday for Canada. Enter your country >> here << to read the requirements. Croatia, Chile, Italy and **NEW** the UK, are among those countries who can have a second participation in the regular process. If your country offers the Young Professional category, you can apply for that. Certain rules apply. >> More info here… <<

Be aware that some countries have a  discontinuance requirement, which means there must be a break between the expiry date of the first IEC work permit and the submission date of the second IEC work permit application. You can only apply for a second participation after the old work permit has expired. Here are the breaks: 

  • Croatia: 3 months  
  • Latvia: 1 year 
  • Lithuania: 3 months  
  • Poland: 6 months 
  • Slovakia: 3 months 
  • Spain: 3 months 
The break starts after your first IEC work permit expires. If you apply earlier than that, the application will be refused. You can find the requirements of your country > here <.

Option 3: A second citizenship

If you have a valid passport from another citizenship, you can apply for the Working Holiday again with the other passport. The requirement is that the other country participates in the IEC program. The requirements of the second country apply. Please enter the country >>here<< to find out the requirements of the country you have the second citizenship for.

What is the process for the application with another citizenship?

  • Apply to the pool of the second citizenship as usual. For example, if you used the first participation under the UK passport and now would like to use a French passport, you will need to apply into the French pool. This happens automatically when you enter the passport data in the profile.
  • Once you have received an invitation, you have to upload the documents as usual, but you have to keep two important points in mind:

Answer the question of whether you have ever participated in the IEC with “No“. Because with this passport you apply for the first time.

iec repeat participation 2

Answer the question of whether you have ever applied for a visa/work permit with “Yes“. A field opens where you can enter additional information. Mention here,

  • that you are a dual citizen (name both countries)
  • that you have already participated once under the xxxx citizenship and now want to participate with xxxx citizenship.
iec second participation 2

Option 4: Participation through a Recognized Organization (RO)

A Recognized Organization (RO) offers the opportunity to participate in the Working Holiday Program two more times. And this is in addition to the normal process. The RO are very expensive and the places are very limited, so they are taken within days (some within minutes). Prices on the RO vary between $3000-$5000.

There are only 7 approved RO that offer this possibility. More information >> here <<

Option 5: Spousal Open Work Permit

  • Are you married? Perfect!
  • Or have you lived together as a common law couple for at least 12 months and can prove it? For example common address on rental agreements, utility bills, bank accounts, etc… Also great!
  • Does your partner have a job in skilled category 0, A or B?
  • Is your partner in Canada with a temporary work permit or study permit? (not a Canadian permanent resident or Canadian citizen)
  • Is your partner’s work permit valid for at least 6 months?

Then you are eligible to apply for the spousal open work permit. The Spousal Open Work Permit (SOWP) is a work permit that allows the spouse to work in Canada at any job with any employer. 

A lot more information on the spousal open work permit > here < in another info post. 

Option 6: Mobilité Francophone

  • The Mobilité Francophone is an LMIA exempt work permit for French speaking skilled workers outside of Quebec.
  • The Mobilité Francophone is an employer specific work permit comparable to the Young professional work permit.
  • It has the LMIA exemption code C16.

Mor information on the Mobilité Francophone > here <. 

Option 7: Study Permit

If you would like to stay in Canada longer, you can apply for a student permit on which you can work off campus up to 20 hours per week or full time during scheduled breaks. 

Heads UP! Studying as a foreigner will be very expensive compared to Canadian residents and can cost well up and more than $20,000 per year depending on the selected study program.

Option 8: LMIA - employer sponsoring

The LMIA process for the employer specific work permit is very strict and costs a lot of paperwork and nerves. That’s why many employers or applicants get the help of an immigration consultant or lawyer. Expect the cost to be around $5000-$7000. 
As part of the process, the employer has to apply for an LMIA. They first have to advertise the job position for at least 4 weeks and prove that they cannot find another Canadian for the job. There are strict ad requirements. Then they have to apply for the LMIA which will cost them $1000.
Then with the LMIA approval letter and LMIA number you can apply for an employer specific work permit. Not before. 

Option 9: Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)

Each province and territory has its own “streams” and you must follow the instructions on their website. More info > here 
A nomination from a province can help boost the needed points for Express Entry. A province nomination can get you 600 extra points, that basically guarantees you an invitation for the Express Entry program. 

Option 11: Bridging open work permit for Express Entry applicants

You need to put your profile into the Express Entry pool and you need a certain score in the ranking system to receive an invitation to apply. After the invitation you have 60 days to upload all documents and pay the fees.

Then you receive an Acknowledgment of Receipt letter. After you get the Acknowledgment of Receipt letter you can apply for a bridging open work permit.

You can apply for a BOWP only if you meet all of those requirements:
  • you applied for permanent residence under Federal Skilled Worker Program, Canadian Experience Class, Federal Skilled Trades Program
  • you uploaded all documents and paid the fee
  • you received the Acknowledgment of Receipt letter
  • you have valid status on your work permit
  • you are currently in Canada

!! Only submitting a profile to the Express Entry pool is not the same as applying for permanent residence !!

After you sent off the application with all required documents for the bridging open work permit, you are in maintained status after the current work permit expires. You can keep working under the same conditions of the expired work permit until a decision is made on the open work permit application. More info > here <

Not an option!

  • An “open work permit” application based solely on a job offer from an employer is not an option. There is no such open work permit. 
  • A work permit application must always be based on a main application. If it isn’t, then the work permit will be refused and sent back as “incomplete” which will put you out of status retroactively from the date your previous work permit expired.
  • This “out of status” time can jeopardize future immigration endeavours.
  • If your Working Holiday work permit has already expired, your only option is to leave Canada asap or restore the status to visitor to re-gain the legal status in Canada. Cost: $200 (More info > here <) 

Heads UP! A restoration as “worker” under an IEC work permit is not possible because an IEC work permit cannot be extended beyond the max. allowed time under the agreement with your country. You can only restore as a visitor.