How to get a Canadian Work Visa

Easy steps

Incredibly light, dust like champagne powder, white mountain peaks which travel as far as your eyes can see, those renown white capped pine trees and 8+ meters of annual snowfall.. Chilled out, care free living, endless parties and don’t forget those incredibly nice Canadians!  These are the normal when you imagine a snow season in Canada and let us tell you, it is exactly what you will get! Working whilst living on a mountain is only another aspect to the experience so we wrote this page on how to get a Canadian Work Visa to bypass any of the confusion and lay it out in simple steps. It really isn’t that complicated but we wished we had an overview at the beginning instead of reading through countless pages of those jargon twisted government websites!

** Please note! We did not go through a third party organisation which you pay to do all of this work for you (example: working holiday club). Whilst they are a good way to meet a lot of people, you can quarter the amount of money you pay by doing it yourself! Plus you will meet everyone anyway once your season begins!
Also these steps were how we, as Australian passport holders, acquired a Canadian work visa. We believe it would be very similar for other nationalities though 🙂

Step 1

Go to the website www.cic.gc.ca

Step 2

Determine if you are eligible. If you are Australian and are not convicted of any crimes, you most likely are, but it is good to know for sure! Under the immigration tab, click on “work”. There are a number of tabs which will through you around their website in pointless ways so simply click on “get a work permit” and from there the information on a working permit is under the tab “International Experience Canada”. The first tab is to find out if you are eligible and every other one has useful information too!

Step 3

If you are eligible, awesome! You will need to create an account. To do this, follow the immigration tab and under My Application, it will give you the option to continue to GCKey. This is where you create your account for the government of Canada services.

Step 4

Once your signed in and have an account, you can apply for you Canadian work visa. You will have to fill out a number of personal questions but nothing you should have to go out and seek for just yet. This application will put your name into a invitation pool where it can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months to be accepted. We STRONGLY recommended you check your email everyday so that what happened to one of us doesn’t to you!

Step 5

When you have been invited, though email, you have 10 days to accept the invitation. We’re guessing you can imagine what happened to one of us now :P. This is where things get only a little more complicated and we hope if you have read this before applying, it will make the following steps a breeze! Of course you could just find all the information on the government website but those things are crazy boring!

Step 6

Congratulations you have accepted your invitation! Now you have 28days to submit your application with all correct information and attached documents. We will list all of the documents you need so that you can have them ready before you even get to accepting your invitation and these 28days aren’t a panic of running around acquiring them all. Believe us, it is worth it because some of the documents can take up to 21 days to acquire. What you will need is:

  • a single passport style photo (to specific dimensions). Our postoffice taken photos were slightly larger than specified but we used photoshop to change that..
  • A full license history check. We found the best way to get these were to just walk into your local road and traffic authority and ask for it. In Victoria it cost us $15 but other states can vary. There is also the option to get it mailed.
  • A Federal full police check. Do no be conned! Make sure it is a national wide check and do not use any third party organisations to get this for you! Use the government website www.afp.gov.au and it should not cost you anything but $42.
  • Completed family form (you download this from being accepted and logged into your cic account)
  • A Resume

Step 7

Once all the documents are submitted and you have filled out all the criteria information the only step left is to pay. At this stage, if you had a positive result from step 2 and your documents align with the answers (ie: your license and police checks do not have criminal records) then you are going to get a Canadian work visa! The final costs are an $100 application fee and $150 work permit fee. Once paid it took us 2 weeks to be finally accepted and approved.
Ba-da-bing Ba-da-bong! Those are the simple 7 steps involved in getting a Canadian work visa. It really isn’t that complicated but we would have loved to have found an easy step by step guide when we had applied for ours instead of sifting through boring and confusing governments sites.

Just to sum up:
The total cost of a Canadian work visa for us (can vary from state/country and what documents you need) was $310 AUD. To compare, a third party organisation will charge you over $1000 for this and while they will guarantee you a job, we felt the $700 was not worth the less effort of going onto a website, finding the correct contact information and emailing a resume to apply for a job. If you get in at the right time (generally hiring period for Canadian snow season jobs is September onwards) and have a resume that suits, the boss of your new job will love the initiative of somebody who has gone to the efforts themselves! This is what we have found anyway!

We hope this is of help and gets you much closer to that Canadian snow season experience!

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