Are you a resident of Hong Kong (HKSAR)? Do you wish to travel to Canada and work while in Canada in order to help pay for your stay in Canada? Then IEC’s Working Holiday program may be just the ticket you need. Here’s how.
International Experience Canada – or IEC – is a series of reciprocal agreements that Canada has with various countries and/or territories around the world that allows young adults from these countries to travel and work in Canada. And the HKSAR – or Hong Kong Special Administrative Region – is one of those territories.
Who is eligible for the HKSAR IEC program?
In the case of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region the following eligibility requirements apply:
- You must be a resident of the HKSAR.
- You must have a valid HKSAR passport or a valid British Overseas National passport.
- You must be from 18 years old up to and including 30 years old.
- You must provide a permanent residence in the HKSAR in your work permit application.
- You must have a minimum of CAD$2,500 to help cover expenses during your stay in Canada.
- You have to have health insurance that covers the entire period of your stay in Canada. You may have to present evidence of your health insurance when you arrive in Canada.
- You must be legally admissible to Canada.
- You must have purchased a round-trip ticket before departing for Canada or have proof of sufficient funds to purchase your return ticket for your trip back home.
- You must pay the fees associated with the IEC program.
How do I Create a Profile for IEC?
Your first step is to go here to this IRCC webpage and answer a few questions to see if you are eligible for a working holiday. The questions will ask you about:
- Your nationality
- Your age
- Your ability to speak English and/or French
- Your family members
- Your education
- Your work experience
- What income you earn or what your net worth is
- Any details you may have on a job offer in Canada.
If, based on the answers to these questions, you are deemed eligible, you will receive an answer giving you detailed information about what to do next. This will usually include the following:
- Copy/write down the personal reference code you receive at the end of the questionnaire (assuming the response is positive and you are eligible). It will be an alphanumeric something like JIM1234567890.
- Create an account at IRCC. Go here to do that.
- Enter your personal reference code when asked while opening your account for IEC.
- Please note that if you already have an account with IRCC, then you can log in to your account and check your eligibility by answering the same set of questions. In this case, you will not receive a personal reference code. You just to need to click on the button that says “Continue”.
Complete your online profile for IEC. This is in order to place you in a pool of candidates similar to what is done at Express Entry. To complete your profile for IEC you will need:
- Your passport
- Details about your personal identity: date and place of birth, full name, etc.
- Contact information
- Please use the standard English or French alphabet when writing your name and other contact information. Do not put in Cyrillic or other letters that will not be able to be processed by the system. Use the nearest standard equivalent letter.
- You should complete your online profile as soon as possible in order to be placed in a pool of candidates and, if chosen, be able to work and travel within the next year. But if you have to, you have up to 60 days to complete your profile.
Submit your profile once it is completed. You will be given a choice of which pool to submit your profile to. Remember, in this case we are featuring HKSAR’s Working Holiday program. IEC also includes:
- Young Professionals: for working professionals in NOC O, A, or B jobs in order to gain experience with a Canadian or multinational company in Canada.
- International Co-op: for post-secondary students to gain work experience related to their field of study.
Do not apply in these pools as you will be applying for a Working Holiday visa as a HKSAR resident.
What Happens Next?
You will have now been placed in a pool of Working Holiday candidates and you must now receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for a work permit, before you can actually go ahead and apply for one. Once you receive an ITA you must then:
- Use your account with IRCC to submit your work permit application:
- You must apply for a work permit through your online account. It is the only way you can obtain a work permit under IEC’s Working Holiday program (or under any of the other two IEC programs listed above).
- You will receive a message in your account indicating you have received an ITA. You then have 10 days to accept the ITA, and then a further 20 days to apply for a work permit using your online account.
- To accept the ITA, go to Continue my profile/application, not yet submitted and then find Work Permit and then go to Start my Application.
- If you wish to decline the ITA follow the same steps and then click on Decline application. If you decline an ITA it will NOT affect your possibilities to apply at some future date. You may apply again (but starting from the beginning of the process) if you later wish to.
- However as a HKSAR applicant you may find the pool has filled up quickly and no spots are left, so the best bet is always to accept the ITA and apply for a work permit.
- Pay your fees (CAD$250).
- Check the status of your application.
How to fill out the online form
- In the first place, you will need to give biometrics (digital photograph and fingerprints) as a Chinese – HKSAR passport holder. You will receive an instruction letter giving you details on how to provide biometrics at a biometrics collection point. You will then have 30 days to provide biometrics. Please remember to bring your instruction letter to the biometrics collection point.
- When filling out the online application form:
- Always click the Validate button when you finish a form.
- Because you will be applying for a Working Holiday permit, you should enter: A9999999 in the field (box) that says employment number.
- You should also answer No to the question: Has your employer paid the Employer Compliance fee?
- In the Employer Address field (box) enter: Non-applicable – Working Holiday.
- Make sure you have gathered all your supporting documents. Upload them by scanning them with a scanner or camera. The documents will include the following:
- Proof of funds (bank statements etc.)
- Results of Medical Exam taken with a panel physician
- Health insurance that covers your entire stay in Canada (and any family member accompanying you)
- Police certificate
- Digital photograph 35mm x 45mm with the head 31mm to 36mm long and showing the face clearly with a frontal view showing the tops of your shoulders. The format should be JPEG or JPEG2000
- Family information (IMM5707)
- eTA or visitor Visa: you do not have to apply for these. If you need an eTA one will be sent with your work permit. If you happen to need a Visitor Visa you will be asked to send your passport to Canadian immigration authorities so the visa can be placed in it.
- The Biometrics fee will have to paid before you apply. After you pay your biometrics fee and apply, you will receive a biometrics instruction letter telling where and how to apply. You will have 30 days to do so.
What happens if I’m approved?
You will receive a Port of Entry (POE) letter in your online account. When you arrive in Canada at the airport where you land (this is your Port of Entry) show the POE letter to a Border Services officer who will then give you your work permit.
While it should give you entry to Canada (and your work permit) a POE letter does not guarantee you entry to Canada. A Border Services officer always makes the final determination when you arrive at your POE in Canada.
What Happens if I’m Not Approved?
You will receive a letter of explanation in your online account.