Our mandate is to facilitate worry-free international travel and work experiences for young Canadians and foreign nationals. We want to make sure that you have the best time of your life abroad with high quality support and services.
Therefore, we only work with renowned partner organizations that have years of experience supporting young travelers. We listen to the feedback from our participants and try to improve our programs wherever we can. If a program does not meet our high-quality standards, we will either search for an alternative or remove the program from our portfolio altogether. This way, you can be sure that we only offer programs that are truly tried and tested.
GO International was founded in 1994 and is a division of Tamwood International College Ltd.
GO International is a Canadian company that operates its own working holiday and volunteer programs in Canada and works with partner organizations around the world to deliver highly recognized work and travel, internship and au pair programs.
As a Recognized Organization (RO) of IEC, GO International has been designated a partner in raising awareness and providing support services to foreign national and Canadian youth.
All GO International staff have international travel and work experience. They know firsthand how exciting and nerve-racking it is at the same time to live abroad for a longer time. GO International wants to make sure that you have a worry-free and fun experience!
International Experience Canada (IEC) is the Government of Canada’s flagship youth mobility program, facilitating work and travel opportunities for thousands of Canadian and foreign youth each year. Although Canadian citizens enjoy passports that provide visa-free access to many countries around the world, most do not allow easy access to labour markets, making it difficult to obtain international work experience without specialized, in-demand skills. Through the negotiation of youth mobility arrangements, IEC facilitates international work experience opportunities for youth aged 18-35 in partner countries and territories around the world.
Originating in 1951 as a cultural youth exchange initiative following World War II, the program now has more than 30 active youth mobility arrangements with country and territory partners across Europe, East Asia, Oceania, and the Americas. Its primary objectives include building the global competencies of Canadian and foreign national youth, and leveraging youth mobility arrangements as a strategic tool in diplomatic relations to strengthen global relationships.
For more information, have a look at our webpage about International Experience Canada.
There are many terms associated this initiative, but they are based on Youth Mobility agreements between two countries. You could also stumble on names such as Work and Travel and Work Abroad.
Working Holidays allow eligible youth to live in a foreign country for longer than the average tourist. Usually, Working Holiday visas are open work permits, which allow you to take up any temporary job for the duration of your visa. This provides you with the great opportunity to earn your travel and living costs while gaining international work experience and exploring another country and culture.
International Experience Canada (IEC) has three program streams through which foreign youth may work and travel in Canada:
- The working holiday stream facilitates work and travel through an open work permit that allows foreign youth to work for virtually any employer in any location in Canada;
- The international co-op and young professionals’ streams facilitate internships and professional work experience through employer-specific work permits.
Similarly, Canadian youth can access a variety of work-travel program streams in partner countries and territories. Access to specific work permit streams depends on the negotiated arrangement between Canada and each of its partners.
Canada Working Holiday Program
- Repeat Participation:
As a RO, GO International is able to offer two more nominations to participants from YMA countries and US citizens, who have already held a Working Holiday visa and exhausted their other options.
- Secure your Invitation to apply:
GO International is able to put forward your name with the Canadian Government for a direct nomination. You will be able to skip the line and the wait time until you receive an invitation. This is especially of interest to citizens from countries, for which the demand exceeds the number of visas offered.
- Age limit requirement:
For inbound youth participation facilitated through a RO like GO International, the age of participation range is set at 18-35 (inclusive), unless otherwise specified in the MOU between IEC and the RO. This means that you will be able to receive your invitation to apply until the day before your 36th birthday!
- Avoid discontinuance:
For some countries there is a discontinuance requirement (e.g. a specific length of discontinuous stay as specified in the agreement). The discontinuous stay will be calculated from the expiry of the first work permit and requires the participant to wait until the first visa has expired before being able to apply for a second work permit. When applying through a RO the discontinuance requirement is waved.
- Working Holiday visa for non YMA countries:
As part of special agreements with the Canadian Government, GO International is able to offer nominations for Working Holiday visas to US citizens. US citizens, who are currently residing in Canada, are also eligible to apply through GO International for a second participation.
Please note that we won’t receive anymore spots for Brazil and Ecuador in the future since the pilot project has ended.
- GO International is a designated Recognized Organization of the Government of Canada’s International Experience Canada program. As a RO, GO International is able to offer guaranteed and immediate nominations for YMA citizens to apply for first and repeat Working Holiday visas. Participants from YMA countries are able to receive two more nominations through GO International, according to the conditions of the YMA limits.
- Make use of GO International’s helpful services included in the Working Holiday package, such as access to GO International’s Hot Jobs List, free resume writing, job hunt and interview practice workshops and access to the Canada Working Holiday Guide. See the full list here.
- As part of the GO International Working Holiday program, all participants are encouraged to take part in the monthly activities offered by Tamwood International College at their campuses in Vancouver, Toronto and Whistler. This means fun trips such as snowboarding in Whistler or a pub crawl in downtown Toronto. This is a quick and easy way to meet other international people and develop your Canadian tribe!
- GO International in partnership with Tamwood International College is offering a unique community for all travelers. When participating in the virtual orientation and the walking tour in Vancouver, you will instantly meet other work and travelers, who are in the same boat as you are. You will also get to know language and career students and make friends from around the world. Use these connections as a support system and for a running start to your working holiday adventure in Canada!
- Is the program open at the moment?
The 2023 IEC season is now open. We will send out an update through the newsletter on how to secure a spot. You can sign up for our newsletter here.
- I am already over 30 years old. Am I still eligible to receive a Working Holiday visa?
For inbound youth participation facilitated through an RO like GO International, the age of participation range is set at 18-35 (inclusive), unless otherwise specified in the MOU between IEC and the RO.
- What is the maximum time I will be granted?
For RO participations from YMA countries and territories, the work permit validity period for ROs is the same as the negotiated YMA limits. Check to see how much time is granted to citizens from your country. It does not matter if this is your first or repeat working holiday visa.
- My country is not listed as an YMA country. Am I still eligible to receive a Working Holiday visa?
Unfortunately, no. The only exception for GO International are citizens from the United States, which we have a special agreement for. Have a look at the website of IEC for information about other ROs.
- I’m from the United States. Will I be able to receive a nomination through GO International?
We have a very limited number of spots allocated to the United States every year. Each season, these pilot projects will be evaluated again and it will be decided which RO receives an additional quota.
- I’m from Brazil/Ecuador. Will I be able to receive a nomination through GO International?
Unfortunately, IRCC decided to end the pilot with GO International and therefore, we won’t be receiving any spots for Brazilian/Ecuadorian citizens in the future.
- I have used all my IEC participations available to my country. Am I still able to receive another Working Holiday visa?
Yes, as a citizen from an YMA country, you are able to receive two more nominations through a Recognized Organization like GO International. US citizens can be nominated twice, as long as they are still eligible.
- I’m currently on a Working Holiday visa in Canada. My employer has offered me a job in the NOC category A, B or 0. Will GO International be able to sponsor me for a Young Professional visa?
Go International has decided not to offer any Young Professional visas going forward. However, you are welcome to apply in the Working Holiday (open work permit) category a second time. This means, you will not need a job offer from your employer and you are free to change your job on the Working Holiday visa.
- I’m already in Canada and I don’t need the orientation and the extra services. Do I have to pay for these?
GO International is a Canadian company that operates its own working holiday and volunteer programs in Canada and works with partner organizations around the world to deliver highly recognized work and travel, teach abroad and volunteer abroad programs. We are a travel service organization and as such, do not offer visa only packages. However, we offer a Launch Pad package with less services.
- I’m already in Canada. Do I have to participate in the orientation?
No, the orientation is not mandatory. However highly recommended to newcomers to Canada.
- Can I apply to the program right now?
The 2023 IEC season is now open. We will send out an update through the newsletter on how to secure a spot. You can sign up for our newsletter here. Please understand, each season we only receive a very limited number of spots for all YMA-countries plus the USA, and we won’t be able to offer a spot to everyone.
- When will the next pool draw take place?
The rounds of invitation usually take place every week. Have a look at the IRCC website for more information.
- What is the normal application process?
1. Please fill out our application form and return it including a copy of your passport.
2. We will then issue your invoice.
4. Please create a profile with the IRCC and send us your Welcome to the Pool Letter.
5. As soon as we have received your payment in full and Pool Letter, we will put forward your name during the next round of nominations.
6. After your nomination, you will receive your RO Support Letter. You will need our RO Support Letter to complete your visa application.
7. When your application has been processed and approved, you will receive your POE Letter (application approval). From the date of your POE Letter, you will have one year to activate your work permit.
8. You will have to travel to a Port of Entry (e.g. land border or arrival at airport) to activate your visa. Your work permit will be issued as a separate document.
- How much time do I have to submit my visa online application?
You will have 10 days to accept your invitation to apply (ITA) and 20 days to submit your application.
- I’m still missing documents to submit my application, but my application deadline is very soon. What should I do?
The most common issue is that you have not received your police certificate yet. Instead, you can upload a confirmation that you have applied for your police certificate. IRCC should then grant you a deadline extension.
- How long does it take until my application has been approved?
This depends on how long you take to submit your visa application and the visa processing time (check online) by the IRCC. The standard processing time is 54 days. We cannot guarantee a certain start date since processing times are impacted by factors we cannot influence.
- How much time do I have to activate my work permit?
You will have one year from the date of your POE Letter to activate your work permit – the exact expiry date is written on your POE.
- When is the best time to apply for the program?
The IEC Program is offered each year over a specific period (season). During normal times, the season starts between November and January and ends around October. However, IRCC decides about the exact time frame every season. Our program is usually sold out very quickly since we only receive a very limited amount of spots. Therefore, we recommend to apply in the beginning of each season.
- What happens if my visa application will be rejected?
Please make sure that you submit a complete and correct application before the deadline mentioned in your profile. We won’t be refunding your program fees if your work permit application is rejected due to your own negligence or due to fraudulent reasons.
- I’m having difficulties logging into my GCKey profile. What should I do?
Unfortunately, there are some common errors and issues that IEC participants are experiencing when trying to log into their profile to complete their application (e.g., looping you back to the login page). IRCC frequently updates their system and therefore, recommends to clear your browser cache if an error occurs. Other tips include using the private or incognito mode of your browser or trying another browser or device altogether. If you consistently experience issues and complete your application, please send a message to IRCC through the web form.
- Biometrics: When applying for a temporary visa, you will have to give biometrics (picture and fingerprints). These will be valid for 10 years, though not transferable if you apply for Permanent Residence. You will have to travel to a Visa Application Centre (outside Canada) or Service Canada Centre (inside Canada) to give your biometrics. You will receive a Biometrics Letter after you have submitted your online application and be prompted to give your biometrics. US citizens are exempt from giving biometrics.
- Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC): IRCC used to be known as Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). However, the name CIC may continue to be used for some time by some stakeholders, such as Canadian provincial and territorial governments and refers to the same department.
- Discontinuance Requirement: Where there is a discontinuance requirement (i.e., a specific length of discontinuous stay as specified in the agreement), the discontinuous stay will be calculated from the expiry of the first work permit.
- GCKey: This is your secure IRCC online account, where you can create a profile, work on your application and submit it to the IRCC to process.
- GO International (GI/GO): GO International is a designated Recognized Organization of the Government of Canada’s International Experience Canada program. However, it is not part of the Canadian government.
- IEC Pools: The IEC Program is a lottery that randomly draws profiles from the pools to receive an invitation to apply. You will have to submit your profile to the pools in order to be invited for the program.
- International Experience Canada (IEC): IEC is a Government of Canada program. Through IEC, Canada has formal Youth Mobility Arrangements with more than 30 countries and territories that allow Canadian youth, between ages 18-35, to work while they travel in partner countries. As a reciprocal program, young citizens from these countries and territories (and sometimes other countries) are also able to come to Canada.
- Invitation to Apply (ITA): If you’re invited to apply, you’ll get a message in your account. The message will list your category and your next steps. You’ll have 10 days to decide if you’ll accept the invitation to apply.
- Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC): Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada is the department of the Government of Canada with responsibility for matters dealing with immigration to Canada, refugees, and Canadian citizenship.
- Implied Status: Now known as maintained status (see below).
- Maintained Status: If a visitor, student or foreign worker applies to extend their status, before that status expires, they can legally remain in Canada until a decision is made on the application. In this situation, the person has implied status. Please note, there is no implied/maintained status when applying for a new IEC work permit, only if you are extending your current IEC work permit (which is only possible in very rare cases).
- Open Work Permit: An open work permit is a type of work permit that allows you to work for any employer in Canada. Check your work permit for exceptions.
- POE Letter: A POE Letter is the confirmation you will receive in your profile when your visa application has been approved. You will have to print your POE Letter and bring it with you when you want to activate your work permit. This could also be called a Letter of Introduction. The POE Letter is not your work permit! This will be a separate document.
- Port of Entry (POE): In general, a port of entry (POE) is a place where one may lawfully enter a country. You will have to travel to a POE to activate your work permit – either at your arrival airport (or layover airport if it’s in Canada) or a land border.
- Recognized Organization (RO): (IEC) designates a number of organizations that provide support and facilitate travel and work-abroad services between Canada and other countries. The organizations may provide these services, for a fee, to both Canadians going abroad and foreign nationals coming to Canada. When applying through a RO, you have certain benefits (see “Advantages of a Recognized Organization”).
- Rounds of Invitations: During each season, IEC will do regular rounds of invitations (usually weekly) to invite eligible candidates from the IEC Pools to apply for their work permit.
- RO Support Letter: When you apply through a Recognized Organization like GO International, you will receive a RO Support Letter, which confirms your participation in a RO program. You will not need a RO Support Letter if you are applying directly with the IEC.
- Service Canada: Service Canada provides Canadians with a single point of access to a wide range of government services and benefits. You will have to visit a Service Canada Centre to give your biometrics when applying from within Canada and you can apply for your Social Insurance Number (SIN) there as well.
- Social Insurance Number (SIN): The SIN is a 9 digit number that you need to work in Canada or to have access to government programs and benefits. You can apply for your SIN online, by mail and at a Service Canada Centre. When you have received a second Working Holiday, you will have to request an extension of your SIN deadline by submitting your new work permit to Service Canada.
- Unique Client Identifier Number (UCI): A Unique Client Identifier Number (UCI) can be found on any official document issued by an Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada office, Case Processing Centre or a Canadian visa office outside Canada. A Client ID consists of four numbers, a hyphen (-) and four (4) more numbers (example: 0000-0000).
- Visa Application Centre (VAC): Visa application centres (VACs) are private companies that have formal contracts with the Government of Canada. Depending on your country of citizenship, they might accept your visa application and passport. You will also have to travel to a VAC to give your biometrics if you are applying from outside Canada.
- Work Application Number (W Number): Upon creation of your profile, you are given a ‘W’ number which once you are invited to apply to a work permit, becomes your work permit application number.
- Working Holiday (WH): The Working Holiday is a category of the IEC Program, which enables Canadian and foreign youth to travel to another country and to work there legally for a certain amount of time. The Working Holiday visa is an open work permit and allows you to work for any employer. Each country must have an IEC agreement with Canada in order to facilitate work permits.
- YMA countries: These are the countries that have Youth Mobility arrangements with Canada and are therefore eligible to participate in the IEC Program.
- Young Professional Visa (YP): The Young Professional is a category of the IEC Program, which enables Canadian and foreign youth to travel to another country and to work there legally for a certain amount of time. The Young Professional category requires you to have a valid full-time job offer for a skilled position. It is an employer-specific work permit and therefore, you are only allowed to work for the same employer.
- Youth Mobility Arrangement (YMA): This is the reciprocal agreement between two countries to facilitate an exchange program, such as the IEC.
- What is the best month to arrive?
Participants can arrive at any time of the year. Newcomers to Canada are recommended to arrive on the suggested start dates to join the virtual GO International orientation date, which is offered monthly. Work is available in any of the bigger cities like Toronto and Vancouver any time of the year. Jobs in the resort areas are usually available for summer and winter seasons only. During normal seasons and non-COVID times, it might be better to arrive early if you are looking for a seasonal job in a resort.
- Where can I work?
Job opportunities depend on a number of factors including your education, work experience, English level, attitude, motivation, and interview skills as well as your program start and end dates. Seasonal placements are oftentimes found in vacation destinations, such as Whistler, BC and Banff, AB. Bigger cities like Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary and Ottawa offer lots of different job fields and positions. Most job offers on our Hot Jobs List are based in Vancouver, Whistler and Toronto. However, you are free to live and work in any location throughout Canada.
- What is the average salary for a Working Holiday participant?
Most jobs pay around CAD $15.55 to CAD $19 per hour, and many service jobs include tips/gratuity on top of your salary. This obviously depends on your work experience, education and job field.
- What are typical jobs available to Working Holiday participants?
- Hospitality (Restaurants, bars, cafes, hotels, hostels)
- Retail (Retail clerk, cashier, inventory & stock)
- General Labour (Farm work, construction, landscaping)
- Tourism (Hotel, hostel, ski resorts, tourist attractions, tour guide, guest services)
- Seasonal Jobs (Ski resorts, farm work, summer camps)
- Childcare (Au Pair, Nanny, tutoring, teaching)
- Office Administration (Admin assistant, officer manager, front desk, marketing)
- Which jobs can I do?
The Working Holiday visa is an open work permit and therefore, you are able to apply for any jobs you are interested in and qualified for. However, you will have to get a medical exam if you plan on applying for a job in:
- the health field
- primary or secondary education,
- child care or
- elderly care
Some employers might be reluctant to hire Working Holiday participants since you only have a limited amount of time on your work permit. But you can tell your potential employer that there are no obligations for them. The IEC Program is LMIA exempt.
The Working Holiday visa is an open work permit, which means that you can take up any job you are interested in and qualified for (with some exceptions, such as health care). Though, the program has been designed to offer a cultural exchange experience to young travelers and is not supposed to replace a normal work permit. Employers might also be reluctant to hire Working Holiday participants in skilled positions since they are only able to work for a limited amount of time. Therefore, most of our work placements are in temporary or seasonal jobs, for example in hospitality, tourism, childcare or farm work.
Some of our programs have pre-arranged jobs or accommodation included in the program fees. If you prefer the security of a job already lined up before you arrive at your Working Holiday destination, make sure to look out for those options or contact us for more information.
Employers will usually want to meet you first and prefer that you are available to start right away instead of waiting for you to travel to the country. Therefore, it is not impossible to find a job before you arrive, but it’s definitely more difficult.
It is essential to start your Working Holiday program with the right expectations, and to be open and flexible when it comes to your job search abroad. You might have to compromise by accepting an entry-level position, a different industry or location if you can’t find a job.
Our partners abroad will provide you with tips, tricks and all the support you need to find a job that covers your expenses and offers a great work abroad experience. In some countries we offer job placements, which you can book even if you are already at your destination.
As with every job search, keep in mind that finding the right work might take some time and depends on your preparation and attitude.
We are required to charge 5% Goods and Services Tax (GST) to every booking.
Have a look at the section about what’s included in your program fees. Depending on the program you choose, you might be able to book add-ons.
Generally, visa costs, personal expenses and the travel arrangement to your destination are not included in your program fees. We will inform you at the time of your application about the additional costs that have to paid.
This depends on the program you booked and at what point in the booking/application process you want to cancel. Have a look at our Terms & Conditions for more information.
This depends on your timeline and the program you are booking:
- We need your payment in full to secure a spot in our Canada Working Holiday Program. Since there is a high demand for RO-Sponsored spots, we are not able to reserve a spot for you (unless otherwise discussed with our team).
- For Outbound Working Holiday programs for Canadians and our Canada Volunteer program, we can usually discuss payment options by paying the $200 registration fee first. But this depends on the time when you are applying.
It is not a requirement to speak the native language to take part in any of our Working Holiday programs. However, we do recommend that you know the language of your destination at least on a conversational level or book a language course on arrival. Be aware that some job placements (especially for an internship) have language requirements and that it depends on the country how well you will get by on a daily basis with English/French language skills only.
This very much depends on your destination and the program type you are interested in. We have programs which we can organize within a month (e.g., Work and Travel in New Zealand), but most the time it will take some time to go through the application process and receive your visa.
We usually recommend applying at least 2-3 months before your preferred start date to be on the safe side and to avoid stress and delays.
The Working Holiday Program is based on so-called Youth Mobility Agreements between Canada and 30+ countries. The program is designed for young, international travelers and therefore has a strict age range from 18 – 30 or 35 (depending on the country).
You will be able to apply for the visa starting on your 18th birthday and until the last day before your 31st or 36th birthday. Unfortunately, we can’t make any exceptions when it comes to these requirements.
If you are Canadian citizen over 35, have a look at our Farm Work Program in Germany.
If you are a foreigner, interested in coming to Canada, check out our Volunteer programs in Banff or Lake Louise or have a look at our parent company Tamwood, which offers Language and Career Courses for all ages (16+).