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Tánaiste announces improvements to Ireland-Canada working holiday visa programme


The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore, T.D., today welcomed the signing of a new visa arrangement which will allow more young Irish professionals and students to gain valuable work experience in Canada.

Improvements to the Ireland Canada Working Holiday Programme will result in 3,000 additional work visas in new categories geared towards young Irish professionals and students. This will bring the total number of visas to 10,700, the largest ever quota of visas for Irish applicants. The same scheme applies to Canadian young people coming to live, work and travel in Ireland.

Welcoming the new agreement, the Tánaiste said,

“When I was in Toronto in 2012 I witnessed the beneficial nature of this programme and agreed with the Canadian authorities to expand the scope and numbers involved.  I am delighted today to see that commitment fulfilled.

This programme offers Irish and Canadian young people the valuable opportunity to experience living and working abroad and today’s changes mean that the programme is more focused on the needs of participants and prospective employers.

The decision to work overseas should always be a matter of choice and the Government is striving to create an economic climate which allows young people to put the skills and experience gained abroad to use in quality jobs in Ireland”.

The improvements to the visa scheme come amid continued strengthening of Ireland-Canada relations. 14% of Canadians claim Irish descent, Canada is one of the biggest investors in Ireland and Irish companies now employ 7,000 people in Canada. 

Today’s agreement on the Ireland Canada Working Holiday Programme was signed in Ottawa by Irish Ambassador, Dr. Ray Bassett, and Mr. David Manicom, Director General at Citizenship and Immigration Canada.


Press Office

6 March 2014


Note to Editors

The current International Experience Canada programme is in place since 2003, when it commenced with an initial allocation of 100 places per year in each direction. Since then, the number of places on the scheme has increased rapidly, with 6,500 visas available each way in 2013. Of the 10,700 visa allocation for 2014, 7,700 are in the working holiday category which will continue to be for two years duration.  The remaining 3,000 visas are devoted to two new categories, young professionals with a pre-agreed work contract (two year) and international students with a pre-agreed internship, paid or unpaid (one year). The student visa can also be held before or after either a working holiday or young professional visa, so applicants can now apply for visas for up to 36 months in total.  Young Irish people wishing to apply can do so online through the International Experience Canada website, which will also give full details of the launch dates: