I've been in Canada for almost a year on a working holiday visa and I love it here - how can I stay longer?
The IEC Working Holiday Visa in Canada program provides temporary open work permits to young people from over 30 countries, so they can legally live and get a job in Canada. The work permits allow you to work for almost any employer in Canada and are valid for either 12 or 24 months, depending on your country of citizenship.
There are several options to stay in Canada after your working holiday visa expires.
1. Stay In Canada As a Visitor
Most visitors can stay in Canada for up to 6 months. You can apply for a visitor visa 30 days before your Working Holiday work permit expires. If you stay in Canada as a visitor, it means you won't be able to work in Canada, but you can enjoy your time in Canada and travel or visit friends. Your passport must be valid past the date of your visitor's visa.
2. LMIA Employer-Specific Work Permit
An employer-specific work permit lets you work in Canada as a temporary foreign worker under specific work conditions: such as:
• the name of the specific employer you can work for
• how long you can work
• the location where you can work (if applicable)
Your potential employer must complete steps required by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and may require Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to demonstrate that there is a need for a foreign worker to fill the job and that there is no Canadian worker available to do the job, and an offer of employment number to include in your application.
3. Apply for ICE Young Professionals Visa
Educated foreign young adults can get Canadian work experience through IEC Young Professionals, an employer-specific work permit program for young adults with a post-secondary degree.
Each IEC participating country's reciprocal agreement has different requirements, and some countries mandate a wait-time between your first and second IEC work permit.
4. CETA Consultant
The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union (EU) provides for LMIA exemption codes that apply to Business Visitors from EU member states. These exemptions will be granted under the International Mobility Program (IMP), an Open Work Permit to work for any employer for a specified period of time.
A CETA consultant or independent professional may qualify to stay in Canada for a cumulative period of not more than 12 months in any 24-month period, and have
• A university degree or a qualification demonstrating knowledge of an equivalent level; and
• Professional qualifications if required to practice an activity pursuant to the laws or requirements in the province or territory where the service is supplied.
5. Become a Permanent Resident
If you arrived in Canada as a foreign worker, you may be able to apply for Permanent Residence under the Express Entry Canadian Experience Class after working in a skilled position for 12 months or more. Applicants are eligible to apply whether they are in Canada as temporary foreign workers or outside of Canada, so long as they meet the criteria.
It is possible to change your visa status while you are in Canada, but there is no guarantee of success. There are opportunities to stay in Canada in Canada after your Working Holiday visa expires, but you must apply for a new visa or work permit at minimum 30 days before your current visa's expiration date. The options vary depending on your qualifications and country of origin. An immigration professional can asses your eligibility and the different immigration programs available to you, and guide you in your journey to stay in Canada longer.
Learn More: How to Apply for a Canada Working Holiday Visa