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How Much Money Do You Need to Go on an IEC Working Holiday Visa?

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Curious about the financial side of embarking on a Working Holiday Visa (WHV)? Look no further! We’ll unravel the essential money-related questions you might have before diving into your Working Holiday Visa journey.

From understanding the cost of living to crafting a budget for your WHV and determining the right amount to save before your adventure begins—consider this your comprehensive resource.

Drew, a digital nomad from Toronto, who caught the travel bug after working, living, and exploring Taiwan for an entire year with a Working Holiday Visa, and another Drew from Bristol, UK, currently immersing himself in the Working Holiday Visa experience in Whistler, Canada, through the International Experience Canada (IEC) program, are graciously sharing their experiences.

Let’s delve into the financial aspect of Working Holiday Visas.

© Drew Joseph Sisera / Nomad Junkies

IEC Working Holiday Visas Overview

For Canadians going abroad

If you’re unfamiliar with the Working Holiday Visa, here is a quick rundown. It allows Canadians between 18 and 35 to travel, live, and work in up to 30 destinations for up to one or two years.

Check the International Experience Canada website for details, including the visa fees for each country.

Canadian? Get your Working Holiday Visa now!

For foreigners coming to Canada

Whether you’re from the UK, Australia, New Zealand, France, South Korea, or any of the 30+ eligible countries, head over to the International Experience Canada website for detailed information, including visa fees for each country.

It’s your go-to resource to kickstart your Working Holiday Visa adventure!

Work and travel in Canada with IEC here!

© Drew Watts / Nomad Junkies

What is the cost of your IEC visa for the Working Holiday?

For Canadians going abroad

When it comes to Working Holiday Visas, the fees are not one-size-fits-all; they vary significantly from country to country.

For instance, if your destination is Australia, you can anticipate a fee of approximately $464, whereas in Germany, the cost is more budget-friendly at about $115.

If Hong Kong is part of your travel plan, the visa fee is relatively economical, hovering around $39.

This diversity in fees emphasizes the importance of researching and understanding the financial implications associated with your specific destination.

For a real-life example, consider Drew’s  Working Holiday Visa experience in Taiwan, where the approximate cost is $150 CAD. This estimate doesn’t account for travel and paperwork expenses, so you must factor that in.

Overall, it still offers valuable insights into the potential financial commitments associated with a Working Holiday Visa journey.

Canadian? Get your Working Holiday Visa now!

For foreigners coming to Canada

The cost of the IEC visa for foreigners participating in the Working Holiday program in Canada includes a mandatory IEC fee of $161 CAD for the 2023 season.

Additionally, if biometrics are required, participants must pay the associated biometric fee in conjunction with the IEC fee. Specifically for Working Holiday participants, there is an extra fee—an open work permit holder fee of $100 CAD. 

For those applying for the Working Holiday program, the total cost comprises the IEC fee ($161 CAD) and the supplementary open work permit holder fee ($100 CAD), resulting in a combined amount of $261 CAD for the Working Holiday visa in Canada.

Work and travel in Canada with IEC here!

© Drew Watts / Nomad Junkies

What is the required amount in your bank account for obtaining the Working Holiday Visa?

The required proof of financial support varies depending on the country. For foreigners seeking a Working Holiday Visa to Canada, it is essential to present evidence of financial support, typically in the form of a bank account statement.

Border services officers may request this documentation upon your arrival in Canada.

The bank statement must be issued no more than one week before your departure for Canada. It should unequivocally demonstrate that you possess sufficient funds—equivalent to $2,500 CAD—to sustain yourself for the initial three months of your stay in the country.

This financial requirement ensures that participants have the means to support themselves during the initial period of their Working Holiday in Canada. 

For Canadians going abroad, specific financial requirements may vary depending on the countries they are planning to visit.

Do you need more savings than the required amount for the Working Holiday Visa?

Even though you’re required to showcase a specific amount in your bank account, varying based on your chosen International Experience Canada (IEC) destination, the choice to plan for more is entirely yours.

You have the flexibility to plan more than the minimum or not. If you choose not to, it means gearing up to work as soon as you land.

Take Drew from Toronto as an illustration. Before applying for the Working Holiday Visa for Taiwan, he proactively ensured he had more than the required budget saved, offering him financial flexibility for his adventure.

On the flip side, consider Drew from Bristol. With only the minimum required amount before starting his Working Holiday Visa in Canada, he opted for a different approach. Despite having a limited budget, he confidently embarked on his journey, knowing he was set to begin work right away, immediately addressing potential financial concerns upon arrival.

Whether you choose to exceed the minimum financial requirement or opt to start work immediately upon arrival, the decision is yours, tailored to your unique circumstances and preferences.

© Drew Watts / Nomad Junkies

Will the money earned during your WHV be enough to cover your cost of living there?

It depends on your destination and how much you are willing to work and chase job opportunities.

For example, Drew from Toronto, who spent a year in Taiwan, was not only able to cover his cost of living but also save money. 

The average income for foreigners or anyone looking to work in Taiwan is significantly higher than the average local income, enabling a comfortable living standard with the monthly income. Most jobs in Taiwan pay out monthly, allowing for financial stability while saving, having fun, and fully experiencing the culture.

On the flip side, Drew from Bristol, UK, who is participating in the International Experience  Canada (IEC) program in Whistler, acknowledges that it comes with its challenges. Whistler is renowned for being an expensive destination. 

While working in hospitality helps, with tips contributing to earnings, Drew embraces the experience as an opportunity for personal and professional growth.

Living and working in Whistler may have its financial hurdles, but the enriching travel experience in the stunning mountain environment outweighs the financial considerations for Drew and many others in a similar situation.

© Drew Watts / Nomad Junkies

What are the most significant expenses during a Working Holiday Visa?

As you gear up for your Working Holiday Visa, you need to weigh key expense categories like rent, activities, groceries, and transportation.

To assist you with your financial planning, look into resources like Numbeo. This user-friendly website provides valuable insights into average prices, empowering you to tailor your budget effectively.

With Numbeo, you can precisely determine the average cost of each category per city and even compare costs between two cities.

Here is some information to give you a better idea of the most significant expenses:

Rent:

  • Working Holiday Visa in Canada: Rent can constitute up to half of the monthly paycheck and varies based on location. In places like Whistler, known for its picturesque landscapes, rent tends to be on the higher end. You can expect to pay $1,200 CAD a month for a room in a shared house with five other people.
  • Working Holiday Visa in Taiwan: Rent is relatively affordable, especially outside of Taipei, the capital. At approximately 10,000 Taiwan dollars (around $420 CAD), living costs are more budget-friendly in areas outside the bustling capital.

Activities and leisure:

  • Working Holiday Visa in Canada: Activities and leisure in mountainous regions like Whistler can include expenses for ski passes, mountain bikes, and other outdoor pursuits, adding to the overall cost.
  • Working Holiday Visa in Taiwan: Prioritizing travel and experiences, spending on bus tickets, flights to smaller islands, accommodations, and exploring various cities becomes the primary expense.

Groceries and food:

  • Working Holiday Visa in Canada: Grocery expenses can be relatively high in places like Whistler, with pricey groceries. According to recent Numbeo data, the average cost of groceries in Canada is $260 CAD per month.
  • Working Holiday Visa in Taiwan: Grocery costs in Taiwan vary but are generally more affordable, especially outside Taipei. Based on Numbeo, the average cost of groceries in Taiwan is 1,500 Taiwan dollars (approximately $63 CAD) per month. This includes essential items like fruits, vegetables, dairy, and other household necessities.

Transportation:

  • Working Holiday Visa in Canada: Transportation costs, such as bus fares in Whistler, are relatively affordable, $50 per month.
  • Working Holiday Visa in Taiwan: Transportation costs were a significant part of the budget, with expenses for bus tickets and flights adding up, especially when exploring different cities regularly.
© Drew Watts / Nomad Junkies

Is it feasible to save money during a Working Holiday Visa to continue travelling?

Absolutely! It’s not just feasible; it can be a rewarding strategy. For instance, Drew from Toronto, who did a Working Holiday Visa in Taiwan, had been on a financial learning curve, shaping a sustainable lifestyle of continuous travel for the past year and a half. 

The key lies in the income you receive, which often surpasses the local cost of living, especially depending on your employer and location in Taiwan. 

It all circles back to your values and how you want to live during that one year. You can choose to indulge in incredible adventures, spending freely, but it may mean starting fresh afterward.

It’s up to you, depending on your goal. Maybe you just want to break even and extend your travels; that’s okay too! You can focus on the work part, the holiday part, or both.

© Drew Watts / Nomad Junkies

Are you ready to embark on your Working Holiday Visa? 

Remember, the financial journey is as crucial as the adventure itself. Plan wisely, consider your goals, and make the most of this unique experience.

Promo Codes

  • HOSTELS: If you’re backpacking in Canada (in Ontario or Quebec), don’t forget to use the promo code “NOMADJUNKIES” when booking a stay at Saintlo Hostels. You’ll receive a 10% discount on your reservation, allowing you to save money for extending your trip!
  • TRAVEL INSURANCE: If you’re looking for the best travel insurance for your Working Holiday Visa program, take a look at soNomad, the most affordable travel insurance in Canada. 
Emilie Robichaud
Emilie Robichaud
Je suis accro au mode de vie nomade! J’ai quitté ma zone de confort pour voyager à temps plein. Mon tour du monde sans fin compte plus de 71 pays et ça continue! Le voyage, c'est un style de vie et un état d'esprit!
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