Aussies and Canucks have a lot in common: we hail from enormous English-speaking landmasses, we celebrate the Queen’s birthday, we are passionate about sports most people in the world don’t care about, and we like to travel. Both Canadians and Australians also made it on CNN Travel’s list of best travellers.
The simple point I am trying to make is that Canadians and Australians tend to like each other, and we like travelling to each other’s countries. We have all joked about how the only people that live and work in Whistler and Banff are Aussies. They love our slopes, and we can get used to their beaches. But, being fairly patriotic, both Canadians and Aussies eventually want to move back to their own healthcare havens.
Thank god for the Working Holiday Visa program, young Canadians and Australians can live, travel and work in the other country for 12 months.
If you are a Canadian considering the Working Holiday Program, here is what you need to know:
• The program is only open to applicants aged 18-30.
• You get a visa to live and work in Australia for 12 months, however you can’t work at the same place for more than six months.
• It’s a once-in-a-lifetime kind of a visa: so, consider when is the best time to apply for it. But, if you really fall in love with Australia and want to apply for a second visa of a 12-month duration, first you have to spend three months working in regional Australia to be eligible.
• Yes, you can also study on a working holiday visa. (I am on one!) The scheme allows you to study for up to four months, which is exactly the duration of my semester in Sydney. The working holiday visa is cheaper than a student visa, so if your course is less than four months, and you are considering staying in Australia after that, go for this option.
• You can leave and re-enter as many times as you want within those 12 months. Usually, you have to be outside of Australia to apply for your visa, but if you are applying for the second year, you can stay in the country.
The application process is quite simple and straightforward and it’s all online. You can launch your application on this website. Most likely within a couple of days, your visa will be issued to you. Nothing gets stamped in your passport, but your passport number becomes a reference number for your visa.
There are a number of other countries that Canadians can also go to on the working holiday program if they wish. However, some of the applications requirements may be slightly different than applying to Australia.
I have only been in Australia for three months and I already love it! If you have considered the Working Holiday Visa scheme, I would recommend it. Aussies are friendly, they welcome foreigners, their dollar is doing really well and their minimum wage is almost twice as much as Canada’s (but there are no tips in serving jobs). So, pack your sunscreen, learn some Aussie lingo and head Down Under.