Immigration News and Updates by Edwina Shanahan, Manager, www.visafirst.com
In 2012 almost 6,700 Irish workers entered Canada on temporary work visas alone and it is estimated that this figure has at least doubled in 2013. Also in 2012 there were almost 900 Permanent Residency (PR) visas granted to Irish - double the amount of 5 years previously. The figures don’t lie – Canada is proving more & more alluring to our skilled Irish workforce.
One of the key reasons why Canada continues to be a powerful draw for the Irish is the fact that many know people that are already out there. The language and culture is the same/similar to Ireland. It is also nearer home for those that want to commute every few months and for some whose spouse and children remain in Ireland or for those that have elderly parents who do not want to be over a day’s flight away.
But most importantly - Canada has jobs.
There are two primary visas on which Irish workers can travel to Canada
1. Working Holiday Visa
In January of this year 6530 working holiday visas were made available to Irish workers – these were snapped up in 2 days! This was an unprecedented rapid response which left those who did not have their applications ready very disappointed. Since then more and more people come to us after becoming aware of the large demand for this visa, in order to prepare all necessary documentation so that they are ready to lodge their application as soon as the new quota opens.
When compared with Australia or New Zealand, where an Irish passport holder can apply for a working holiday at any time during the year and be confident of getting a visa grant, this Canadian quota restriction puts an added pressure on Irish passport holders to apply while they can and creates a demand as people do not want to miss out. Ultimately, it’s a more relaxed and less immediate decision when applying to Australia or New Zealand.
One of the primary pros of the Canadian working holiday visa (WHV) is that it can be granted for up to 2 years and you can apply up to the age of 36 years!
In addition, the Canadian WHV has the advantage that you can apply if you have spouse and dependants and that they can travel into Canada with you. However, if your children want to attend schools they will need student visas, similarly, if your spouse wants to work (s)he will need their own permit to work. Over the course of this year alone we have organised several of these dependant visas both onshore in Canada and offshore while applicants are still in Ireland.
The Working Holiday Visa gives people the chance to dip their toe in the water and if they like it look at the permanent option.
2. Work Permits
If you are over 36 or you have used the working holiday already or you simply want the security of a job offer before you go, the work permit is the best option open to you. The primary requirement for this is that an applicant has secured a job offer prior to travel. We are in contact with Canadian employers on a daily basis and we are consistently organising successful Skype interviews so there is no cost to the jobseeker. To date we have had great success but a rule of thumb has evolved in that the employer prefers if the main applicant travels ahead of dependents for 6 months or so and if the job and all goes well dependants follow on - this formula has worked really well for many who need assurance that the move is the right one for them.
Long Term Options
When working in Canada, whether you are on a WHV or a work permit, there are routes to apply for permanent residency through the Canada Experience Programme. Initially an applicant will be required to show evidence of one year’s local work experience in their skilled. This is a route which more and more of our working holiday clients are taking to attain permanent residency. A consideration I would advise people to note is that permanent applications can take some time from process to application stage – there can be wait times of 12 months and more.
Only a limited number of occupations can apply for a permanent resident visa without a job offer and they include engineers, financial investment managers occupational therapists, and computer programmers.
Out on your own
Finally there are options for people looking to set up a business abroad, requirements vary from provinces in Canada but overall investors are welcomed. There are a variety of steps you need to take before applying for the visa – such as location & competitor research, registration or licensing requirements and cashflow analysis. The ability of a newly established business to hire local people is viewed favourably in the process of determining whether to grant a business visa. Entrepreneurs who are of benefit to the Australian economy are equally as desirable as job-seekers.
Although applications for the 2014 programme cannot be lodged until January we have already been contacted by employers to offer successful 2014 visa grants work for next year.