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Canada to Allow Working Holidays for Portuguese Citizens

Starting in 2019, Portuguese Citizens between the ages of 18 and 35 will be eligible for a two year working holiday in Canada.

A working holiday is a two year open work permit that allows the applicant to work in any part of Canada, for any employer, for up to two years without a job offer. This is allows the applicant to work “to subsidize their stay as they travel and discover the country.”

All applicants would needs to undergo a medical check and criminal background check as part of the working holiday application process. Applicants cannot include dependents (spouses and children) on their working holiday application. Applicants do not need to be residing in Portugal in order to apply, but they will be required to provide a permanent mailing address in Portugal as part of the application process.

To be eligible for the Working Holiday category, you must:

  • be a Portuguese citizen,
  • have a valid Portuguese passport for the duration of your stay in Canada—your work permit in Canada will not be longer than the validity of your passport,
  • be between the ages of 18 and 35 (inclusive),
  • have a minimum of CAN$2,500 to help cover your expenses in Canada,
  • have health insurance for the duration of your stay—you may have to present evidence of this insurance when you enter Canada,
  • be admissible to Canada,
  • have, before departure, a round-trip ticket or demonstrate that you will have the financial resources to purchase a departure ticket at the end of your authorized stay in Canada,
  • not be accompanied by dependents, and
  • pay the required application fees.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has also announced that Portuguese Citizens between the age of 18 and 35 will also now be eligible for the following two programs:

  • Young Professionals (career development): Participants are eligible to apply for an employer-specific work permit to help them gain professional work experience in Canada. The Young Professionals category is designed for Portuguese citizens, particularly post-secondary graduates, who wish to further their careers by gaining professional work experience in Canada. Participants must have a signed letter of offer or a signed contract of employment (up to 24 months) before submitting a profile to the pool. The employment offer must be in your field of expertise (through schooling or work experience) and contribute to your professional development,


  • International Co-op (internships for students only): Participants are eligible to apply for an employer-specific work permit to help them gain experience in their field of study. The International Co-op (Internship) category is designed for Portuguese citizens who are enrolled at a post-secondary institution. Participants must be registered students for the duration of the internship. Participants must want to complete a work placement or internship in Canada to fulfil part of their academic curriculum (up to 24 months). You must also have a signed letter of offer or a signed contract for a work placement, or an internship in Canada that meets the requirements of your academic curriculum in Portugal.