Moving To Canada For Kiwi’s (IEC)

Want to move to Canada on a Working Holiday but you’re not sure how?
Keep reading!
I moved to Canada in January 2018 and as difficult as moving abroad sounds, it’s actually relatively easy. Just have some patience and save some money!

Step One
Find out if you’re eligible to apply.
To participate for a Working Holiday Visa, your country must have an agreement with Canada that allows you to apply for an IEC work permit. Thankfully, New Zealand does. As long as you’re between the ages of 18 – 35 you can head to Canada on a Working Holiday and work on the Ski Fields as much as you like!! (Or another job of your choosing)


The Working Holiday Visa is designed for New Zealand citizens who want to come to Canada to travel, but also want to work at the same time. This could be anything from working on the Ski Fields to working as a Receptionist, Travel agent (such as myself) or doing Waitressing work.
You have to remember however that you only get your Visa for 23 months. Many other countries (Australia, UK etc….) get a Visa for 24 Months – so make sure not to commit to anything for the full two years work wise as you can’t legally be there unless you apply for Permanent Residency. 

Also note that if you are wanting to apply, you must

  • be a citizen of New Zealand,
  • have a valid New Zealand passport for the duration of your stay in Canada—your work permit in Canada will not be longer than the validity of your passport,
  • 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 fees.

Step Two
Start a profile!

Head to the website I just posted above and get started with making yourself a profile. If you want to travel and work temporarily in Canada as part of International Experience Canada (IEC), your first step is to become a candidate in one or more IEC pools.

If you think you want to head to Canada in the next 12 months, do this as soon as possible. The whole process can take up to 3-4 months in some cases so you really want to start getting everything organised ASAP.
If you think you’re wanting to leave in 2-3 years time – just wait. As soon as you get your acceptance letter, you have 1 year to enter the country. If you don’t enter the country, you’ve basically missed your chance to experience a Working Holiday Visa.

Once you’ve submitted an IEC Profile, you need to wait for an invitation to apply for a Work Permit Application.
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 have 10 days to decide if you’ll accept the invitation. The deadline will be in your invitation. From the day you accept the invitation, you’ll have 20 days to apply online for a work permit.

If you do not respond by the deadline shown in the invitation, the invitation will expire. If it expires, you’ll have to submit a new IEC profile and be accepted to the pool again before you can be considered for future invitations.

Step Three
Once you’ve been accepted into an IEC pool, start getting your documents together. These are things like Police Certificates, proof of funds from your bank, a medical exam (ONLY if you’re planning to work with Children do you need this), your passport and your CV.


Once Canada choses your name out of the pool of people to apply, they only give you 20 days to complete and submit your application for a work permit and submit all supporting documents. If these documents are ready in advance, it will be easier to apply within the 20 days.

Remember, at this stage if you decided that Canada isn’t right for you, you can always decline the invitation and do it again before you’re 35. 

Step Four
Fill out all the fun paperwork!
As mentioned above, you’ll have to upload a criminal record from the Ministry of Justice  to your account. (What Canada calls your ‘Police Certificate’) To get this, go here 

You will also need to make sure you have a passport that is valid for your duration of stay in Canada, along with a copy of your CV that has a description of your education, qualifications, work experience etc…
If you are planning to work with Children, in the Health Field or in Elderly Care, you also need to complete a Medical Exam. I had always planned to work as a Travel Agent when I came to Canada, however there was a fear that it could not work out and Nannying would have to be my back up. I decided to get a Medical Exam while I was in New Zealand so I could legally work with kids and WOW DID IT COST A LOT. Approx $600 to be exact.giphy-2
The thing is, you can’t just go to your usual doctor and get one. There are only SPECIFIC Doctors in New Zealand that can do it for you. These doctors have to have been approved by the IRCC and you have to get an information printout sheet or an IMM 1017B Upfront Medical Report form for them to complete.

Once you’ve done all this, you then must pay the IEC participation fee of CAD$150 and the open work permit holder fee of CAD$100.

Please note the open work permit holder fee is refundable only if you withdraw your work permit application before they issue your letter of introduction OR your work permit application is refused.

When you’ve finished filling out the paper work and uploading documents – send it all off!

Step Five
It can take up to 8 weeks for your work permit application to be reviewed. So don’t go buying any plane tickets or accepting any job offers until you have your application approved.

If your application is approved, you’ll receive the magical port of entry (POE) letter in your account!! This is what you need to enter Canada.

Once you have this, you can buy a plane ticket, organise a Bon Voyage Party and sell your car – woohoo! You’re off to Canada!

giphy-3When you do eventually arrive into Canada, make sure to bring your POE letter with you and get your Visa issued before the expiry date of the letter. 
I know that some people come here and want to do a little holiday before they actually get a job and start working. You can totally do this. If you don’t want your Visa to start on the day you actually get here, you just need to exit Canada (by crossing the boarder or flying out) and come back in to get your Visa issued. 

Questions I always see people ask online:

Q: I need Travel Insurance that will last me the whole 23 months I’m in Canada, however I can only find Insurance Companies that sell 1 year policies?

A: This seems to be the biggest issue people have. And I’m going to tell you a trick that some people will either like or not like.
I purchased a year policy through World Nomads Insurance. It cost me NZD$1,173.92 for one of their ‘explorer’ plans. I then purchased a second year of Insurance through another company the day before I flew to Canada (Cost me around NZD$1,800) and then as soon as I arrived into Canada and got my work Visa issued I cancelled my second year of insurance and got my money back. 
Read the policy wording but I can assure you that nearly every Insurance in NZ will have some kind of ‘cool down’ period where you can cancel your insurance within 48 hours and get a full refund.

I in no way was planning to live in Canada and have absolutely no insurance. I had my first year covered and as soon as I was here 3 months I applied for the Government Health Plan called MSP (Medical Service Plan) PLEASE NOTE THIS IS ONLY FOR PEOPLE WHO WILL BE LIVING IN VANCOUVER
As long as you are working full-time here, they will cover you for many (but not all) things medical related. (Eg, Doctors visit, medically required eye examinations, x-rays, dental and oral surgery, when medically required and other things like surgery, hospital care etc)
I have Psorasis, (a skin condition) and I attend Light Therapy Treatments at the Skin Clinic 2x a week. This is all covered under MSP. I had to get surgery on my wrist for Ganglion Cysts and all my surgery and specialist visits would have been covered (I ended up not getting it because they disappeared for a bit).
My partner broke his finger playing Rugby and his surgery, hospital visits, after-care etc were all covered by the MSP.
The medical care here is amazing. It does cost you approx $37 a month but it’s totally worth it.

Do note however that if you decide to travel outside of Canada, you will need some other type of insurance. ESPECIALLY if you go to the USA. You don’t want to be traveling there with no health insurance as medical bills are thousands of dollars. You don’t want to be caught out. The MSP will also not cover things like baggage loss, flight delay etc… they’re not a Travel Insurance.

Q: Do I have to let New Zealand customs know I’m leaving when I fly out?

A: No. They don’t really care. Just let your bank know so they don’t block your cards when they see transactions over-seas (They may think you’re getting scammed)

Q: Will my phone work in Canada?

A: On roaming it will but it will cost a lot. Use the Airport Wi-Fi when you arrive and sort out a SIM card later.

Q: What if I don’t have the CAD$2,500 needed to show for a visa?

A: Then you can’t afford to live here. Hopefully you have a plane ticket booked home.

Q: How long does it take for my Visa to get issued when I arrive?

A: Hours. I waited at YVR Airport for so long. But of course it all depends on how busy it is that day. 

Q: Who flies to Canada from NZ?

A: Air New Zealand. I couldn’t recommend them highly enough. They do a direct flight from AKL – YVR. Also, Air Canada is going to be starting a non-stop service in December 2019 AKL – YVR. However, I’ll always prefer Air NZ over them haha.

Q: What happens to my Student Loan?

It collects interest when you’ve been gone for more than 6 Months. See below on how much you need to pay to keep on top of things.

Hopefully this information helped!

If you have any questions, comment below 🙂 Coming to Canada has been one of the best things I’ve done. To live in a new country is the coolest experience – I highly urge you to do it if you’re considering it. 

Should out to for heaps of this info.

Vancouver Update!

You can tell I’ve been busy as I haven’t uploaded a post in quite a while!
This whole ‘settling into a new country’ thing actually takes up quite a bit of time.
When I first got here and was staying at the hostel, I was doing so many activities or meeting new people that I found it really hard to sit down and write about my experiences!

Streets of the city Downtown

However you can now officially call me a Vancouveriette, or maybe one in training!
I’m still getting to know the area but I don’t need to use Google Maps for a lot of things. I know the three SkyTrain routes and where they go, I can even drive to some places without any help – yay! 🙂

I also now have a place to call home.
When I first got here, I pre-arranged a place to live for 2 months from the Facebook Page ‘Kia Ora Vancouver‘ (Check it out if you’re a New Zealander wanting to come live in Vancouver)
I sub-leased a room from a Kiwi guy who was going away for work at the end of January. As I arrived in Jan, I spent the first couple of weeks at the Samesun Hostel and then moved into my new place later on that month. (living with two Irish guys).

My first home in Vancouver!

The houses here are so big.
The room I first moved into was quite small (paying around CAD$750 a month) but one of the Irish guys ended up moving out so I moved into his room which was a bit bigger which was nice.
As Vancouver has such a housing problem, most houses actually have more than one family living in them. In the house I moved into, we occupied all of the upstairs however there was one guy living downstairs on the left hand side and what I assume was a lady on the right hand side. (I never ever saw her but they had cat curtains so I assumed it was a lady)
Funnily enough, you never run into each other because each renter has their own separate entrance. There’s doors that connect to the inside of the house but they’re completely blocked off so you wouldn’t be able to just walk into someone’s living room. Crazy to think one house has like three separate kitchens!

Area around where I work

I was pretty organised and got myself a job before I arrived here.
Once I’d explored Vancouver for a few weeks and moved into my new place, I begun working for the same Travel Agency I used to work for back home.
Luckily I got a week of training beforehand because even though we use the same flight booking system as back home, the quoting system and a few other things were completely different! I honestly felt like it was my first day all over again.
Even now, I’ve been there for about 2 months and I still don’t know so many things. The travel market is so different here too. Most people wait till the last minute to book things and so many people go to Mexico for ‘All Inclusive’ packages!
Back home, Fiji, Rarotonga and Australia were the top destinations I always sold, I’d never even sent someone to Cancun or Puerto Vallarta until recently.

Vancouver is such an awesome experience – but how do people ever go away on holiday here??
From what I understand, Canadians only get 2 weeks annual leave a year. (Back home it’s 4 weeks) however I was lucky enough that my company ‘transferred’ my employment over from NZ so I end up getting 3 weeks leave as I’ve ‘been’ with the company for over a year which makes me entitled to more.

20180329_161153-1.jpgIf you follow me on Instagram or read any of my Facebook/IG stories, you probably have noticed that my boyfriend moved over to be with me in Canada!!

I did feel bad for leaving him – as in cried my eyes out and didn’t want to leave on my final day in New Zealand. However, I knew that if I didn’t do this I’d always regret it. I’ve always wanted to live overseas at some stage in my life and I didn’t want to look back and wish I took the chance while I still could.
I’m glad he ended up coming. To be honest, if I didn’t make the move first, we’d still be sitting at home saying “one day we’ll go here or there….” so it was up to one of us to make the first move 🙂

When he first arrived, we lived at the flat for about a month until we could find our own place.
It wasn’t the warmest for our first few weeks in Canada. It even started snowing but it left as quickly as it came.


About to catch the bus to work when it first started Snowing

As I had to be out of the flat I was in by April the 1st, we started looking for somewhere to live in March. Finding somewhere to live is actually really hard, luckily for us we got the first place we applied for!
It was a bit out of our budget but I’m so glad we chose it.
We live in this beautiful house in a really nice area. We’re literally just down the road from the mall and only a 8 minute walk to the Skytrain. Instead of me taking a bus and a train to work like I used to, I just take the train and it takes me about 15 minutes on a good morning.20180420_154551.jpg
The house is a bit deceitful in that picture haha! We actually don’t occupy the whole thing, We live downstairs in what they call a ‘basement apartment’
Our landlords live in the main house with their 2 teenage children and me and Nathan live downstairs. We have our own entrance, 2 bedrooms, kitchen & lounge area and our own bathroom 🙂
Even though it’s a basement, we have natural light coming through and both the bedroom’s and living area have windows. We even have our own mailbox and recycling schedule so we’re pretty separate from the people upstairs!
We’ve lived here for about a month and I’ve only seen the owners like twice! They’re either really really quiet or I just come home from work too late haha.

Before we found a place, we also bought a car.
Our first big purchase together!
Don’t even get me started on how much it costs to own a car here….let’s just say we pay what the car is worth in Insurance per year. If Nathan ever runs into someone I will strangle him myself.

First Car, just a cheeky little Ford Escape to get us from A – B

When we moved into our place, we literally had nothing but a few suitcases full of our clothes and personal items. The good thing about rentals here is if you get a good one, they’ll already come with the oven, fridge, (sometimes microwave) and washer/dryer.
As our place is relatively new, all the appliances are nice and in great working order, we just had to buy our own bedroom and lounge furniture which has definitely been the most expensive purchases so far.
Screenshot_20180401-145158.jpgWe splashed out and spent nearly $2,000 on a mattress, bed frame and bed-side tables but we got our couch second-hand from a girl in Vancouver for like $400.

When we moved in we didn’t actually have a bed as it was going to be delivered to us 3 days after our move-in date. (We were planning to just sleep on the couch) however when we went to pick up the couch, the girl was moving out and had a spare bed that she ended up giving to us for like $50. Thank god she did because our bed ended up taking 2 weeks to arrive!!

When the bed eventually arrived and we got it all set up we realized we ordered a bed that was far too big. As in it’s incredibly high!!!
It literally comes up to my hips and I have to do a little jump to get into bed every night.
Nathan and I thought it was funny until the first night when we couldn’t sleep because it honestly felt like we were sleeping in the sky or something haha. I don’t know how to describe it but it was such an un-settling feeling.
When the people from the furniture store called me about delivering the second bed-side table (which we hadn’t received yet) I asked if we could swap the box base of the mattress because that’s what was making it so high and they said yes but they were going to charge us!
I ended up pretty much yelling at the girl saying that the bed was stupidly high and they shouldn’t be charging us a delivery fee of $100 as the bed took bloody 2 weeks to arrive in the first place. For all they knew we were sleeping on the floor!
In the end, they just agreed to deliver it free along with the second bed-side table but now it’s been a week and…..I kind of like the high bed.
I’m so ashamed now. I think i’ve gotten used to it and it’s so much easier to make the bed in the morning without having to bend down. PLUS, it’s the best height to fold clothes at because it’s literally at arm level. Not to mention I talked to one of the girls at work and she said it’s  completely normal for beds to be that high here! Woops…

Anyways, apart from that we’ve got pretty much everything sorted for our place.
The only thing we desperately need are drawers! We had originally purchased them with our bedroom set but they didn’t fit in the bedroom.
(The bedrooms can only really fit a bed and bed-side tables)
The closet’s are good sizes but we really really need some drawers that can go inside them so we can put away our underwear and workout pants etc – pretty much everything you can’t hang up, It’s really frustrating still having suitcases with clothes in them and trying desperately to find socks in the morning.
Oh well….I’m sure a perfect set of drawers are just waiting to be bought at Walmart haha!

In some more interesting news, Nathan and I went to Seattle last weekend.
Nathan plays for a rugby team here in Vancouver and they were versing a Seattle team so we took the drive down on Saturday and stayed the night at a hotel in the city.
Even though it was only for the weekend, it was really good to get away and have a weekend where we could hang out and see a new place together that we’d never been to. I won’t say too much about what we did (because I want to write a separate blog post about our Seattle adventure) but we had fun!
Not to mention the shopping was great. And here I was thinking Vancouver had a good Walmart…


I’m really loving it here in Vancouver. There’s still so much else of Canada that we need to explore, it’s just finding the time to do it all!
When I started late one morning I decided to explore the area of where we lived. We’re super close to the Queen Elizabeth park which is a great place for morning walks or a visit to the observatory. As it’s Spring, all the Daffodils are in full bloom and the cherry blossoms are thriving! It’s a really pretty city at the moment.

Not to mention it’s not as cold in the mornings anymore.
I think people have this idea of Canada being absolutely freezing. I’m sure in some parts it is but you really don’t notice it unless you work outside like my poor boyfriend does!


The thing I love about Vancouver is everywhere is heated!
When you walk into your house it’s so warm because pretty much everyone has central heating or pipes underneath the floor. Even in Winter if you can’t afford your hydro bill they won’t cut off your heating until it gets warmer so you won’t freeze from the cold.
I hear Summer here is pretty great so I’m looking forward to that.
I would absolutely love to stay longer than 2 years (as that’s all my Visa allows) however the type of job I have doesn’t allow me to apply for permanent residency. (It’s quite a complicated process but you need to be a ‘skilled worker’ to apply for PR). Funnily enough my boyfriend is considered a skilled worker as a builder so he can apply and sponsor me as his spouse! I think I’d have to do a lot of greasing up for him to do that for me…


I will leave you all with some pictures of my time here so far!
If anyone has any questions about moving to Canada just let me know 🙂



Winter in Whistler

Monday 15th January

It was a much earlier start than I was used to on Monday morning!
I joined another one of the hostel’s Day Tours where they take you to Whistler for the day (a town North of Vancouver)
It started at 8am so I rolled out of bed around 6:45am. Just enough time to have a shower, wash my hair, do my make-up and have something to eat from the breakfast downstairs.
The tour was organised by a tour group called ‘Moose’ who do adventure travel in Canada for students and backpackers, I think it cost about $50 which was pretty good as we had a few stops along the way and it was nice having someone tell us a little about the areas we were driving through.

It takes approximately an hour and a half to get to Whistler from Downtown Vancouver so definitely bring something to read or listen to on the way up if you’re planning to take a bus or a shuttle. 20180115_090211.jpg
Our first stop on the drive up was to Porteau Cove Provincial Park to have a look at the view over Howe Sound and to the Mountains in the distance.
Interesting fact: Our tour guide told us that an old ship had been sunk in the water to attract marine life and for diver’s to practice their diving. Especially for Police Divers that have to search for bodies in the water as their training.
20180115_090614.jpg20180115_090247.jpgIt doesn’t really snow in Vancouver so I had yet to feel the extreme cold while I’m here, however at this National Park I definitely felt a chill!
I didn’t see anyone camping at the park while I was there, but there are 16 walk-in campsites available about 5 minutes from the parking lot. From what I know, most of the campsites are small, ocean front sites with no picnic tables or anything and only pit toilets. Definitely not my type of camping experience haha.

We then got to stop at Shannon Falls Provincial Park which is adjacent to Highway 99. The falls are composed of lots of cliffs rising 335 metres above the Highway, making it the third highest falls in the province.
When we walked to the falls, there was a scattering of snow everywhere which was pretty 🙂

The next stop was to a little look-out spot to take some pictures of the mountain’s.
To be honest, I’m not even sure where we where but it might have been about half way up to Whistler by this stage.

My fluffy wee hat I bought the other day!

They saved the best park for last – Brandywine Falls!
About 20 minutes away from Whistler, we saw the most amazing waterfall and winter wonderland.
As soon as we hopped out of the shuttle, I walked into knee deep snow and across icy paths to get to this waterfall. Unfortunately it was a little too icy for me and I slipped 😦
20180115_104045.jpg20180115_093533.jpg20180115_104651.jpgTo get the best views of the waterfall, you have to walk to the viewpoint which also gives you really nice views of Daisy Lake and the surrounding mountains.
As there was snow everywhere, it all looked really pretty, nethertheless – very cold!


70 Metre Waterfall!


By the time we got to Whistler, it was about 11:30am.
The ski-fields were busy, there were people at the restaurants having lunch and it was of course – cold!
Our group kind of split up and went our separate ways so I walked around Whistler Village for about an hour looking at the shops and taking pictures of the pretty hotels.
This is going to sound super geeky, but as I don’t really ski or snowboard (and from what I understand it’s super expensive to learn at Whistler) I ended up walking past a library so warmed up in there for about an hour. I had brought my Kindle with me and as I was already in the middle of a book I found a chair to read. There were quite a few people sitting around reading so it was nice to sit inside and keep warm while looking at all the snow outside.
As we had all afternoon in Whistler (probably a little too long to be honest if you’re not skiing on the fields) I did a lot of walking around. By the afternoon I had found this really cute Candy Apple store that just had sooo many candy apples and chocolates.
I don’t think I’ve ever had a proper Candy Apple in my life so after much consideration, I decided on a N.Y Cheesecake Caramel apple which I ate while watching the skiiers come off the mountain at the end of the day.

As I’d been sitting down for awhile, I was shivering!
Thankfully it was time to go back to the bus and head back to the hostel.
The drive home was a bit long, it probably doesn’t help that the days here are so short as it gets dark around 4:30pm so it felt like 9pm by the time we got back.20180115_160400.jpg

The girls who I’d been hanging out with all week were at the Hostel Bar so I quickly ordered a drink and sat with them.
Beer Pong was the activity of the night so we all signed up in good spirits to win, unfortunately Aussie and I lost the first round so we were eliminated at the very beginning 😦
That didn’t stop us from drinking though. We had about a pitcher of alcohol between us and then shared another one when we played Beer Pong. All the mixing on the drinks made Sarah a bit hungover the next day!

Till next time!