One of the ripple effects from the Great Resignation in the early days of COVID-19 is the emerging trend of working holiday visas worldwide.

The "working holiday visa" is a visa targeted toward young travellers, often between the ages of 18-30 years old and offered by more than 50 countries worldwide with the purpose of incentivizing youth mobility. Usually valid for 1 year, the working holiday visa allows individuals who wish to travel, experience different cultures, and work to help fund their "gap-year" abroad.

Most working holiday visa treaties between nations were established in the past decade, with Canada and New Zealand leading the way with over 30 agreements already signed. While requirements vary depending on the country and the specific working holiday visa, many working holiday visa programs require applicants to be between the ages of 18 and 30, have no dependents, demonstrate a sufficient amount of funds, have a roundtrip plane ticket, and adequate medical insurance. In general, upon submission of the appropriate documents and application form at the country's consular office or online portal, working holiday visas allow for applicants to receive a swift processing within a few months.

Holders of working holiday visas are also typically permitted to hold seasonal, or part-time positions to work temporarily in the country while they explore and travel. Should they wish to remain in the country after their working holiday visa expires, they would require a full work visa or, at times, a renewal of their working holiday visa.

While the working holiday visa may have traditionally had 'gap-year' pre-university studies individuals in mind as the target applicant, a growing number of Generation-Z and millennials in the workforce have been exploring the career options via this visa option. Since many traditional office positions have now been adapted to more flexible remote work options and job seekers are placing a higher emphasis on mental health and work-life balance, this option of a working holiday visa allows young people greater freedom and flexibility in a new post-COVID-19 workforce.

Current Developments

Currently, there are roughly 53 countries worldwide that offer a form of the working holiday visa. Most of these programs are offered in Europe, Asia, the Americas, and Oceania. Below are the top 4 most sought working holiday visas destinations:


Canada is one of the most popular places for young professionals seeking to explore or begin a career overseas. It is undoubtedly known for its high-quality education, beautiful scenery, and quality healthcare. Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver are just a few of the many cities that many travellers visit in Canada.

Requirements of the International Experience Canada visa program -

Be aged between 18 & 30 (29 or 35 for select countries) and a citizen/permanent resident of the select countries
Acquire working holiday visa insurance once approved
Demonstrate sufficient funds of the equivalent of CAD 2,500


Australia's working holiday visa is one of the many few that offers pathway to citizenship to Australia. The Program is also one of the few worldwide that allow applicants to reapply for this visa a total of three times with each time up to 12 months of stay.

Requirements of the First Working Holiday visa program

Each holiday visa has different requirements from the first to the third

(Please see the link in the table below for more information)

New Zealand

Maori culture, Lord of the Rings, Hobbiton, hot pools, nature & wildlife and beautiful scenery are just a few reasons why New Zealand is a holiday destination. One can argue a small holiday isn't enough therefore New Zealand has offered the working holiday visa to allow visitors to work and travel for up to 23 months.

Requirements -

Be aged between 18 & 30 (18 & 35 for select countries) and a citizen/permanent resident of the select countries
Study & training courses for up to 6 months are optional
Be coming mainly to holiday, with both work or a short amount of study your secondary intentions
Each working holiday visa scheme varies depending on country of origin


Climbing Mount Fuji, learning Japanese and discovering Tokyo can now be achievable with a working holiday visa. Engross yourself in Japanese work culture for a couple months then explore Japan, Japan has numerous bilateral do working holiday visas to ensure young people can work during their extended stay in Japan.

Requirements -

Be aged between 18 & 30 and a citizen/permanent resident of the select countries
Be not accompanied by dependents or children
Intention to spend a specific length of time in Japan
Have never acquired a work holiday visa for Japan prior

Harvey Law Group has provided an easy reference table with hyperlinks to the relevant official sources below:

# Name of Country Offering Visa Eligible countries
1 Andorra Australia, Canada
2 Argentina Australia, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Sweden.
3 Australia Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong SAR, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Taiwan, United Kingdom
4 Austria Argentina, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong SAR SAR, Israel, Chile, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan
5 Belgium Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan
6 Brazil France, Germany, New Zealand
7 Canada Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong SAR SAR, Ireland, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Latvia Republic, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Ukraine, United Kingdom
8 Chile Australia, Austria, Canada, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Japan Luxembourg, Mexico, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland
9 Colombia Chile, France, Mexico, Peru
10 Costa Rica Canada
11 Croatia Canada, New Zealand
12 Cyprus Australia
13 Czech Republic Australia, Chile, Israel, Japan, Canada, South Korea, New Zealand, Taiwan
14 Denmark Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea
15 Ecuador Australia, France
16 Estonia Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand
17 Finland Australia and New Zealand.
18 France Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, South Korea, Japan, New Zealand, Hong Kong SAR, Mexico, Peru, Russia, Taiwan, Uruguay
19 Germany Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand
20 Greece Australia and Canada
21 Hong Kong Austria, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, the Republic of Kiorea, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
22 Ireland Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Hong Kong SAR, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan, United States of America
23 Israel Australia, Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, New Zealand, South Korea.
24 Italy Australia, Canada, New Zealand South Korea
25 Japan Argentina, Australia, Austria, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Hong Kong SAR, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Lithuania, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, United Kingdom
26 Latvia Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Korea.
27 Lithuania Canada, Japan, New Zealand
28 Luxembourg Australia, Canada, Chile, New Zealand, Taiwan
29 Malaysia Australia, New Zealand
30 Mexico Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, New Zealand, Peru, South Korea
31 Netherlands Argentina, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong SAR, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan, Uruguay
32 New Zealand Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Croatia, Czech, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Hong Kong SAR, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom, USA, Uruguay, Vietnam.
33 Norway Argentina, Australia, Japan, New Zealand
34 Peru Australia, Canada,Chile, Colombia, France, Mexico, Peru, Portugal
35 Philippines New Zealand
36 Poland Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan
37 Portugal Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Japan, New Zealand, Peru, Republic of Korea and the United States of America.
38 Romania South Korea
39 San Marino Australia, Canada, New Zealand
40 Singapore Australia, France, Germany, Hong Kong SAR, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States of America
41 Slovakia Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Taiwan
42 Slovenia Australia, Canada, and New Zealand
43 South Africa Those who wish to participate in cultural, economic or social exchange programmes administered must be registered by an organ of the State or a higher educational institution in conjunction with an organ of a foreign state.
44 South Korea Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong SAR, Hungary, Ireland.
45 Spain Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Canada, South Korea.
46 Sweden Australia, Hong Kong SAR, Canada, Japan, New Zealand or South Korea
47 Switzerland Canada and Chile
48 Taiwan Australia, Austria, Canada, Canada, Belgium, Korea, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, the United Kingdom
49 Turkey Australia and New Zealand
50 United Kingdom Ausstralia, Canada, Monaco, New Zealand, San Marino, Iceland, Hong Kong SAR, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, British overseas citizen, British overseas territories citizen.
51 United States Not specified
52 Uruguay Australia, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Sweden.
53 Vietnam Australia, New Zealand

Since the purpose of the visa is to have an extended working holiday, this visa option is not typically a viable means to apply for permanent residency in the chosen country of destination. Nevertheless, applicants may be eligible for additional work visas that allow a pathway to permanent residency after the expiry of their working holiday visa.


The working holiday visa presents itself as a unique opportunity for young people to break boundaries, explore new realities, and expand their horizons. With a newer generation prioritizing work flexibility and work-life balance, these "working holiday visas" will likely grow in popularity. As such, Harvey Law Group foresees these working holiday visas as an alternative avenue to explore for individuals seeking immigration, travel or work abroad.

The present article only touches upon some of the options available, but there are plenty more. Trusted lawyers will be able to advise the options most suitable to your circumstances and goals.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.