Deciding to pack up your bat and ball and move to Canada (and work there) is by no means a simple task. In fact, had someone actually made me aware of the seemingly never-ending list of tasks that I’ve been required to perform in order to get me over to Canada I think my lazy arse would’ve just stayed in bed and watched Weeds DVD’s for the next six months instead! Now, now, that’s a little exaggerated, it’s actually not that bad, but as I’ve gotten closer and closer to my departure date (now two days away) I’ve ridden a steepening learning curve and had there been a blog post such as this one it may have made the journey a tad more easy.
Things you’ll need…
- A current passport (which expires at least 6 months after you plan on returning)
- To be under 30, or turning 30 in your year of departure
- Money. At a minimum you’ll need $165 straight up to apply for the Visa, but on top of that you’ll need $4000 to prove you’re not a hindrance on the Canadian economy when you arrive in their fair land.
Step 1 – Apply for your “Working Holiday Program” Visa
This is actually probably the easiest thing you’ll have to do. You see there’s a wonderful little agreement between the Australian and Canadian governments, not that much unlike that with the British, that allows and Australian citizen (under 30) apply for a working visa. To apply all you need to do is log on to the Working Holiday Program website (http://whpcanada.org.au), fill out the necessary form and they’ll be in touch with you shortly to snaffle your $165 application fee.
A few things to know about this particular Working Holiday Program visa…
Step 2 – Sell everything you own
You might not want to sell absolutely everything, it all depends on exactly how long you want to stay away, or if you even plan on coming back at all! That said, there’s plenty of ways to sell all your stuff. For me I created “The Great Ga-RAJ Sale“, a website that listed everything I wanted to get rid of and let people (friends & family that I spammed constantly until they bought something) place their names against items they wanted. Alternatively, if you’re not quite a big a geek as me, you have plenty of other options such as eBay, The Trading Post, and other boring ways… go on, make a website; you know you want to!
Step 3 – Book your tickets
Booking your airfares to another country again, isn’t a hard task, the trick is getting a good price! We all know airfare prices go up and down according to seasons and holidays so your best bet is to try and head over during the off season and avoid major holidays like Christmas for example. The other thing to keep in mind is that if you’re unsure exactly how long you plan on staying you’ll need to book a ticket that has an adjustable return date. Most airlines offer these types of tickets but quite often they’re limited to only a matter of weeks or not at all if you’ve bought a ticket on sale. I chose to go with a ticket that was valid for change anywhere up to a year from my departure date for a nominal fee. Be sure you get yourself a good travel agent, it can save you hundreds, if not thousands!
Step 4 – Find a job & somewhere to live
There’s this wonderful thing called the “Internet” in the world today, just in case you haven’t heard of it, it allows you to do things like look at job and housing listings in another country entirely! Cool hey!? Well, before you actually head over I suggest you jump on the computer and check out a few websites that well get your Canadian life on track.
Craigslist http://craigslist.ca/ (accommodation, jobs & more)
Workopolis http://workopolis.com/ (jobs)
Kijiji http://www.kijiji.ca/ (accommodation, jobs & more)
Step 5 – Get over there, get sorted
Whilst I may not actually be there yet there are a couple of things that are on my list of things to do that need doing once I arrive. For example, you’ll need to apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN), Canada’s equivalent to Australia’s Tax File Number, more or less. Then there’s setting up a bank account, getting a mobile number, adding the word “ay” on to the end of every sentence and building up an intimate knowledge of every Canadian hockey player and team since the second world war. You’ll be a local in no time!
It’s all pretty easy really. There’s some minor bits and pieces that may add to the complexity of your journey but nothing that’s really going to spring out and surprise you, well that is unless you’re Diabetic like me and you need to go through the three ringed circus that is caring syringes on a plane! So not fun!