The WHP : A door-opener for young foreigners

Visiting Canada, discovering new cultures, meeting people while working for one or more employers during their stay…  yes, it’s possible, thanks to the Working Holiday Program (WHP). But be careful, this program is very coveted and subject to quotas, spots are expensive… 

The WHP in a few words 

WHV Canada, Working Holiday Visa Canada, Visa Working Vacations Canada, VVT Canada, PVT Canada, Programme Vacances Travail Canada, Permis Vacances Travail Canada, there are many names that refer to this magic word that opens the doors to Canada. There are many applications, so it is recommended that the process is initiated in fall for French nationals. Since March 14, 2013, the WHP Canada validity period for French citizens has gone up from 12 months to 24 months. At the end of this time, a young person can apply in any of three categories of the International Experience Canada initiative: internships, young professionals, student summer jobs.

Criteria to be complied with and documents to be provided 

Despite being excited to book a plane ticket, it’s important not to cut corners. First, the young person concerned must check the different conditions required such as age (18 to 35 for French citizens, 18 to 30 for Belgians); a passport that is valid for at least one day longer than the stay in Canada; at least $3,000 in financial resources to cover the first three months after arrival. Then, the various documents must be completed and submitted ( including a cover letter, medical declaration, the IEC form…   Once the file has been reviewed (averages about 6 weeks) by the Mobile Youth Unit and by the Visas and Immigration Service, the WHP is granted to the young person at the airport when passing through customs. There are some more conditions: the new immigrant must provide proof of purchasing mandatory illness-hospitalization-repatriation insurance (costs vary but are affordable and present his passport, letter of introduction and a proof of funds or bank statement.

On track for a job 

Before taking any steps to find a job, a Social Insurance Number (SIN) must be obtained which the future employer will require in relation to deductions and taxes. This number can be obtained from a Canada Service Centre which will issue the number on the spot and a card within ten days. Once the number is in hand – which will begin with the digit 9 as for all temporary contracts – the youth can work. The WHP allows for any type of work, regardless of the size of company or its field of activity…   When looking for a job, a young person can approach many French companies that have subsidiaries in Canada to reach the American market in the future. In particular are companies in the fields of information technologies, aeronautics, health and pharmaceutical. In addition, many sites are available to help with the search for a job, such as the International Employment Centre (, Canada Jobs (, Jobsearch (, etc. Finally, the avenue of volunteering should not be forgotten, since not only will the volunteer be greatly appreciated by Canadian employers, but it will also let a young person gain initial experience that he can then use to get a paid job. The following sites can also be good resources: and network