If you love travelling, getting a Working Holiday Visa (WHV) will allow you to immerse yourself in a new culture while replenishing your bank account to extend your journey. Discover the WHV destinations available to Canadians through International Experience Canada. With a WHV, you won’t have to return to Canada as soon as you run out of money. Although work shouldn’t be your main reason for obtaining this type of visa, you can still uncover some exciting professional experiences.
How Long Can I Work with a WHV?
Each country has its own regulations. For example, in New Zealand, Chile and South Korea, there’s no limit. You can work with the same employer for a year, that is, the total duration of your WHV. In Hong Kong, the maximum is just three months with the same employer. Be sure to check this information on the International Experience Canada website!
What Types of Jobs can I get with a WHV?
Most countries don’t have restrictions on types of employment. There are some exceptions, like in South Korea, where you can’t teach English with your WHV: you’ll need a different type of visa for that. Otherwise, in most cases, the jobs requiring the least qualifications are the most accessible. Here are some ideas:
Many WHV holders have jobs in agriculture on farms or vineyards. Picking fruits and vegetables is one of the most common types of jobs among travellers. For gathering and packing, you won’t need experience, but the work can be strenuous.
There are many jobs in the hotel industry, whether they’re five-star hotels or youth hostels. If you master the language of your host country and have previous work experience, you can apply for administrative jobs—at the front desk, for instance. If you wish to stay on the move, check offers for housekeeping jobs; this type of position doesn’t require any specific qualification, which explains why it’s so popular among globetrotters.
One industry for WHV holders to consider is hospitality. These jobs vary enormously, from barista to waiter to dishwasher, in a wide variety of settings. You could find yourself mixing cocktails on a rooftop in South Korea, serving champagne in front of the Sydney Opera House in Australia, or helping run a bed & breakfast in Hobbiton, New Zealand. Ask about the formalities for serving alcohol in your host country. For example, in Australia, you’ll need a “Responsible Service of Alcohol” (RSA) licence to serve alcohol.
Tourist destinations mean employment! Identify tourist attractions in the areas you want to visit and see if they have any openings. Seasonal jobs are perfect for WHV holders because of their temporary duration. For example, in a ski resort, you can work blowing snow and maintaining slopes as much as on greeting skiers. The variety of jobs may surprise you: you can apply as a ski instructor, ski photographer, concierge or other position for which you may qualify.
Typically, call centres are always looking for employees. You’ll need to be fluent in the host country’s language but also have courtesy and patience. The work environment can be noisy at times, given the large number of employees in front of their computers talking to customers. Some employers even offer performance-based rewards.
Several organizations, including Greenpeace, mainly recruit WHV holders for fundraising campaigns. Whether you’re a fervent activist or merely concerned about the environment, you can apply for this type of job if you speak the language of the country you’re visiting and have excellent interpersonal and communication skills. Don’t be afraid to be told “no”, because most campaigns involve intercepting passers-by to fill them in on a program and encourage them to donate.
If you have sales skills, stores of all types frequently look for employees. Jobs are more numerous in the peak season, so find out about the tourist periods in the areas you plan to visit.
Though often physically demanding, construction jobs can pay very well. While some jobs have prerequisites, others may require certification or an equivalent with your country of origin. Ask future employers about which qualifications are required.
If you want to take care of children and you’re between 18 and 35 years of age, you can learn about an au pair job. Most of the time, you’ll reside with your host family, thus saving on expenses. Your schedule depends on that of your host family; in fact, it may even be possible for them to bring you on vacation with them. You may find your private living space and independence lacking at times, but this immersion is an excellent way to gradually learn a new language.
If you have experience and specific qualifications, you can apply for jobs related to your specialization such as a chef, web project manager or musician. The specialized workforce is in high demand in several countries. You can search for companies specialized in your field and send them your resume directly by email.
Where Can I Find Job Offers?
Just as you would when looking for a job at home in Canada, you’ll need to find job offers before you can apply. Start by creating a profile on the main job websites such as Indeed, Seek and Monster. You can also browse local classified ads websites like Gumtree.com and TradeMe.co.nz in their “employment” sections.
Also, consider job websites for backpackers like the Backpacker Job Board or equivalents.
Once there, you can check out regional newspapers, hostel bulletin boards and supermarket billboards.
You can even visit placement agencies that can offer you a pre-interview and contact you when there are offers that match your profile.
Of course, social networks can also help you in your job search. Master LinkedIn and search Facebook groups for “jobs [name of the city/region/country].”
Can I Land Several Jobs?
Many WHV travellers land two or three part-time jobs, saving as much as possible to prolong their journey. Even if there’s no limit, the goal is to avoid getting burned out.
Beware of scams
Beware of pyramid schemes, “mystery shoppers” and any offer that asks you to transfer money into your bank account. In any case, never pay to obtain a job or access employer lists.
Happy job hunting!
Even if the job search process can seem daunting, bring a good attitude and be ready to relocate (even to remote areas) to find that job! In any case, you’ll have a great job search experience abroad and learn from it!