What does COVID-19 mean for travelling to Canada on a working holiday in 2021

Over the last few weeks and months, BUNAC have received hundreds of calls from people regarding the IEC visa process, and what COVID-19 means for travelling to Canada this year. This blog sets out to answer the most commonly asked questions.

Over the last few weeks and months, BUNAC have received hundreds of calls from people regarding the IEC visa process, and what COVID-19 means for travelling to Canada this year. We understand this is a stressful time for anyone planning that once in a lifetime trip. Below we have set out to answer the most commonly asked questions.

When can I get over to Canada?

This all depends on your current situation. Here are the 2 options;

You have a POE letter

If you managed to secure a POE in the 2019 rounds of invitations, you can enter Canada and activate your visa. You will need to quarantine for 14 days on arrival in private accommodation and you’ll also need to have a job offer form before you arrive. We understand that the jobs market globally is in a very difficult place, however we are happy to say that we still have a small number of winter positions on our Ultimate program available. We understand this might not have been you first choice for employment in Canada – but these opportunities are A) a great way to secure your first 6 months of employment ( don’t forgot you have 2 years to live and work in Canada B) They are a great experience. You’ll have fun, learn to ski and make new friends from the get-go. Maybe after the year we are having – a bit of stress-free fun is exactly what is needed.

You don’t have a POE letter

This is the hard one and the answer isn’t as straight forward as we would like. At present the IEC visa pools are closed. BUNAC is optimistic that visas will be issued this year, but one thing that is clear is the lack of certainty this pandemic has caused. So our simple answer is we don’t know for sure. We can however be certain that we will guide and support you through this whole process, including the visa application and navigating COVID -19 if you start your Canadian working holiday with us. You can also view more information about visa applications & COVID-19 restrictions on our Canada Travel Advice page.

What is the 2021 IEC process looking like? Can I get my name into the pool right now? Can I get an invitation to apply?

At the moment the visa pools are not open. If you are on the programme we will let you know as soon as this process opens, giving you the best possible chance of getting a visa.

Do you have knowledge on Canadian immigration and when they are opening borders?

The borders are open providing you meet entry conditions. If you already have your POE, you can travel to Canada, permitting you follow the quarantine rules and pre-arranged job offer rules before entering. Our partners in Canada do have a relationship with the IEC. That does mean we may gain some knowledge beforehand from Canadian immigration on when visa processing might resume, however this is not guaranteed.

Do I have a better chance coming through BUNAC for the IEC visa?

BUNAC can support and guide you through the visa application to give you the best chance of getting your application approved. If there are questions you can’t find answers to online, our expert team will be able to help (we have seen an increase in questions since COVID-19 around the whole process and people wanting more assurances before starting their booking). That said, your chances of getting an IEC visas are the same as if you apply online directly yourself.

Do you have exclusive routes to get into Canada not just the IEC working holiday visa?

BUNAC have an allocated number of Recognised Organisation letters. These visas allow you to work in Canada for 24 months just like the regular working holiday visa, but you don’t have to sit and wait for your name to be picked out of the pools. As soon as the IEC start issuing Invitations to Apply, we will open this program. Please keep an eye out on our social media for opening dates.

Do I need a job to get into Canada right now?

As mentioned above, yes you do. If you are heading into Canada you will need a job offer to show you have employment lined up for your stay in Canada.

What if I don’t get a visa in 2021? What can I do, will you have options for me?

If you don’t get a visa in 2021 you can apply for the 2022 visa or transfer your BUNAC deposit to another program. You may also be covered under our COVID-19 Booking Promise -100% money back if you can’t travel due to COVID–19 restrictions. Full T&Cs can be found here - which highlight what is / what is not covered. If you have any other questions not covered in this Q&A please feel free to contact the BUNAC office. If we have covered off all your questions and you are ready to start the process – you can start your booking here.

This content information is correct as of the 09/02/2021.

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