Have you thought about making a trip to Australia? You may have heard about other Canadians backpacking around Australia and experiencing the amazing sights and sounds of this unique nation. Thousands of people travel to Australia from across the globe each year, to see for themselves what this exciting place has to offer. And some like it so much that they choose to stay on, and eventually become permanent residents!

And did you know that Canada was one of the first nations to be eligible under the Working Holiday Maker visa programme in Australia? Along with the United Kingdom and Ireland, Canada was one of only three countries to be included as part of the Subclass 417 Working Holiday Visa program in 1975. As you can see, it has a long history!

Why not consider this for yourself? A new opportunity – you never know where it could lead.

Where Do You Start?

First, you need to decide why you are seeking to travel to Australia. What is your purpose, and what would you like to do?

There are many visa options on offer which are available to Canadian citizens, you just need to determine which is the right fit for you. Whether you would like to travel for tourism, work, to visit family or friends, conduct business, marry your Australian partner, or to settle in Australia with your child, there is a visa for these, and for many other reasons, which will allow you to come to Australia.

Some visas permit a short-term visit, others offer a longer-term stay, and a permanent visa enables you to settle in Australia indefinitely. Some visas are provisional, which is a temporary visa that may lead to the grant of a permanent visa if you meet certain conditions.

And another factor to be aware of is that for certain types of visas, you may be able to include eligible family members as dependent visa applicants so that they can accompany you to Australia.

Visa Options For Canadian Citizens

So, let’s start off by exploring some of the main visa options for immigration Australia from Canada.

Working Holiday Visa – In Australia From Canada

We began this article with the working holiday visa Australia from Canada. This can be a great option if you are looking to combine your holiday in Australia with work to help fund your trip. It lets you spend 12 months in Australia from the date of your first entry You can travel to any state or territory, exploring the unique characteristics that each has to offer, and perform work along the way. And not only can you truly feel like a local, but you can meet many others who have travelled from all over the world, make lifelong friends and special memories along the way. And if you feel like adding some learning to your experience, you can even study or complete short-term training for up to 4 months. Grow and develop your mind as you travel, which can make your trip to Australia an even more rich experience!

Age Limit To Apply For A Working Holiday Visa

An important point to be aware of if you are thinking about applying for a working holiday visa Australia from Canada is that there is a limited age bracket within which you can apply. Canadian passport holders have an advantage here in that they are eligible to apply for a subclass 417 visa between the ages of 18 and 35 (whereas applicants from most of the other countries that are eligible can only apply up to the age of 30).

How Do You Qualify?

Apart from the age requirement, to qualify you need to:

  • Intend to temporarily stay in Australia as a genuine visitor, with your primary purpose being to have a holiday;
  • Demonstrate that you have sufficient funds to cover your personal expenses for the first 3 months of your stay in Australia (minimum of $5,000) and for your departure fare;
  • Have a reasonable prospect of securing employment in Australia;
  • Have a good immigration record; and
  • Meet health and character requirements.

Extend Your Working Holiday Visa

And another great feature? If you meet certain conditions, you can extend your working holiday visa Australia from Canada and stay in Australia for an additional 12-24 months if you later qualify for a second and third working holiday visa. This means a potential overall stay period in Australia of up to 3 years if you meet the prescribed requirements.

Among the requirements to qualify for a second working holiday visa, you must complete a minimum 3 months (88 calendar days) of ‘specified subclass 417 work’ whilst you held your first working holiday visa.

To be eligible for a third year working holiday visa, you must complete a minimum of 6 months (179 calendar days) of specified work whilst you held your second subclass 417 visa (or a Bridging Visa which is in effect and which was granted when you applied for your second year working holiday visa), on or after 1 July 2019.

To qualify for a second- or third-year working holiday visa, other requirements include continuing to hold an eligible passport, satisfying the age-based limit at time of application (the same as for the first year Working Holiday visa) and having complied with the conditions on your previous Working Holiday visa.

What Is Specified Subclass 417 Work?

This is work that you undertake in a ‘specified’ industry and area of Australia.  It must be remunerated according to the relevant Australian legislation and awards.

Voluntary work that relates to bushfire recovery work completed in declared bushfire-affected areas can be included as specified work to apply for a second or third Working Holiday visa.

Specified work means:

  • plant and animal cultivation in regional Australia;
  • fishing and pearling in regional Australia;
  • tree farming and felling in regional Australia;
  • mining in regional Australia;
  • construction in regional Australia;
  • bushfire recovery work in declared bushfire affected areas only, after 31 July 2019; and
  • critical COVID-19 work in the healthcare and medical sectors anywhere in Australia, after 31 January 2020.

Get more information about how you can extend your working holiday visa term in our Major Working Holiday Visa Changes and Changes to the Working Holiday Maker Visa 2019 articles.

Working Holiday Visa Work Limitation

Be mindful that although you can work in any location, occupation or industry while in Australia as a working holiday visa holder, you will be subject to a work limitation under visa condition 8547.

Under this condition, you can work for any one employer generally for a maximum period of 6 months. ​

However, you are permitted to work for the same employer for longer than 6 months without requesting permission from the Department of Home Affairs (the Department) provided the work is:

  • in different locations and work in any one location does not exceed 6 months;
  • in plant and animal cultivation anywhere in Australia;
  • in certain industries in northern Australia only;
  • from 17 February 2020, assisting bushfire recovery efforts;
  • from 4 April 2020, ​in critical sectors during the COVID-19 pandem​ic​ including agriculture, food processing, health, aged and disability care and childcare.

To work longer than six months with one employer in any other circumstance, you need to request permission from the Department.

Final Thoughts About The Working Holiday Visa (To Australia From Canada)

The subclass 417 visa is generally considered a good option for people who are not only looking to travel to Australia for a longer term period, but as a forward thinking opportunity, it can form part of a longer-term visa pathway to Australia. That is, it gives the visa holder a good opportunity to spend their time in Australia preparing the necessary requirements to later qualify for a further visa to Australia, either to add more time in the country, or to eventually settle in Australia as a permanent resident.

For example, you can use the time you have in Australia as a subclass 417 visa holder to gain skilled work experience so that you can later qualify for a Skilled Visa in your nominated skilled occupation.

You can also use the time to live and work in a certain state or territory of Australia to meet prescribed pre-requisites to later qualify for a state sponsored skilled visa.

Maybe you would like to live permanently in Australia with your Australian spouse or de facto partner. To qualify for a Partner Visa, there are certain relationship criteria you must meet, one of which may require you to demonstrate that you have lived with your Australian spouse or de facto partner for a prescribed minimum period to be eligible to apply. You can use the time you have in Australia as a Working Holiday visa holder to build up the time you need to later apply for a partner visa.

What Other Visas Allow You to Work In Australia?

Skilled Visa

If you are seeking to live and work in Australia, a Skilled Visa could be the right option for you. There are a range of different types available, but all have one factor in common, and that is that you need to meet prescribed requirements that relate specifically to your skills, experience and/or qualifications in a skilled occupation, which may be nominated for either a temporary, provisional or permanent skilled visa. The occupation must be on a Skilled Occupation List (SOL) for the relevant visa subclass which you intend to apply for in order to be eligible for an Australian working visa Canada.

Another important aspect to be aware of with a skilled visa is that most skilled visa subclasses have their own specific visa conditions and/or obligations which you must abide by as the visa holder. In some cases, you can only work for a specified employer and/or work only in a specified location. You may also be bound to abide by additional obligations if you are sponsored for a skilled visa by a state or territory government. The important point is that each type is different because they have each been designed for a specific purpose, and you need to make sure you have a good understanding of each one so that you can make the right Australian working visa Canada choice for you.

You need to be aware of the visa conditions to which you would be subject if the visa is granted to ensure that you comply with your obligations. Failing to do so can have serious consequences, which may include the cancellation of your visa.

Not only are you at risk of visa cancellation in certain cases, but if you think practically, the last thing you would want is to have a visa in Australia that does not allow you to do what you came here for! That’s why its so important to understand, and to get it right (a migration professional can help you with this; we provide further information about this later in this article).

In terms of options, you can select from a range of different types, the main ones being independent, state sponsored, family sponsored and employer sponsored visas. Some are regional based. There are also temporary, provisional, and permanent options available.

Certain skilled visas are based on a points system, for which you need to first submit an Expression of Interest (EOI).

For certain skilled visas, invitations rounds take place usually every month, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, these are run quarterly. It is in these rounds where invitations are allocated to EOI applicants, in a competitive process based on having the highest score, along with a number of other factors which decide how applicants are ranked. Learn about the ranking system in our article on the New Skilled Regional Visas to be introduced.

For other skilled visa types (which require state or territory nomination approval), each jurisdiction allocates invitations based on its own requirements, which may mean that achieving the highest points score might not be the most critical factor in receiving an invitation, as it is in other cases. In allocating invitations, each state and territory set their own requirements. This may include work experience and English language criteria and may be at a higher standard as against the minimum immigration requirements. You may also need to evidence that you have resided in the relevant jurisdiction for a certain period before you are eligible to apply for an Australian working visa Canada. Only once you receive an invitation to apply for the relevant visa can you then proceed to apply for the relevant Australian working visa Canada.

Some important aspects to note for a skilled visa is that you may be subject to an age limit, and you may need a skills assessment. The good news is that Canadian citizens who hold a valid passport issued by Canada do not need to complete an English language test or provide evidence of English language competency. So that is one less requirement you don’t need to worry about!

Now that we have covered these important aspects, what visa options are available to Canadians working in Australia?

The main types of Australian working visa Canada options are:

  • Subclass 189 Skilled (Independent) visa;
  • Subclass 190 Skilled (Nominated) visa;
  • Subclass 491 Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa;
  • Subclass 482 Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa;
  • Subclass 186 Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) visa;
  • Subclass 494 Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa.

Let’s take a brief look at what each of these visas for Canadians working in Australia are about.

Subclass 189 Skilled (Independent) Visa

For a visa which enables immigration Australia from Canada, you might like to consider a permanent subclass 189 visa. This allows you to remain indefinitely in Australia and is subject to nil visa conditions or obligations. For this reason, it is often considered to be the most flexible of the skilled visa options available.

Being a points-based, you first need to lodge an EOI (for which you need a minimum of 65 points).

As a subclass 189 visa holder, you can live and work in any state or territory permanently.

Subclass 190 Skilled (Nominated) Visa

Another points-based permanent visa on offer for immigration Australia from Canada is the subclass 190 visa. This is a state sponsored permanent residence visa for which invitations are issued throughout each month by individual states and territories. As a bonus, you will receive an extra 5 points for the nomination approval.

An important aspect to consider, which does not apply to the subclass 189 visa is that there is an added step in the application process. In this case, you must also apply for nomination approval to a state or territory government. Only upon receipt of an invitation from the relevant state or territory to which you apply can you then apply to the Department for the visa itself.

Your obligations as a subclass 190 visa holder are that you must commit to your nominating jurisdiction’s obligations and commit to residing in your nominating State or Territory for two years from visa grant.

Subclass 491 Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Visa

The subclass 491 visa is also points-based. It is a regional state or family sponsored visa with a term of five years. The Department issues invitations for family sponsored EOI applications only (in invitation rounds). Invitations for state sponsorship are issued by individual states and territories throughout each month. This will grant you an additional 15 points for the nomination.

Being a provisional visa, this means it provides a pathway to permanent residence in Australia with the Subclass 191 Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa, subject to meeting specified requirements.

Be mindful that as a subclass 491 visa holder, you must abide by visa condition 8579, which requires you to live, work and study in a designated regional area of Australia.

Subclass 482 Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) Visa

For a temporary employer sponsored visa, the subclass 482 visa can be a good option as it allows you to live and work in Australia for up to two or four years (the visa term will depend on the visa stream for which you apply). In some cases, it provides a pathway to a permanent residence visa after three years, if you satisfy prescribed criteria.

It has three streams: a short-term, medium-term and labour agreement stream (you must choose one when you apply for the TSS visa).

The process involves three applications and all need approval by the Department. These are a sponsorship application lodged by your employer (a new one is needed every 5 years), a nomination application for your nominated position (also applied for by your employer), and a visa application (which you need to apply for on your own behalf).

To be eligible for a subclass 482 Australian working visa Canada, you must be sponsored to work in a nominated occupation which is included in the relevant SOL (which varies, depending on the visa stream which you apply for).

Subclass 186 Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) Visa

Subclass 482 visa holders who meet prescribed requirements may later be eligible for a subclass 186 permanent residence visa after three years, under the temporary residence transition stream. Alternatively, you may be immediately eligible for the ENS visa under the direct entry for immigration Australia from Canada. There is also a labour agreement stream.

Be aware that you must commit to remaining with your nominating employer for two years following grant of the ENS visa.

Subclass 494 Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) Visa

For a regional-based employer sponsored visa option, consider a subclass 494 visa, which has a term of five years.

The benefit of the subclass 494 visa is that it provides a pathway to permanent residence in Australia with the Subclass 191 Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa, as long as you satisfy specified criteria.

It is important to also be aware that as a subclass 494 visa holder, you will be subject to visa condition 8579. This requires you to live and work in a designated regional area of Australia.

Get More Information About The Skilled Visa

To learn more about the different types of skilled visas available, important points to know before you apply for a skilled visa, and  links to further information if you are considering applying for a skilled Canada visa for Australia, please refer to our Australian Skilled Migration Visa List article.

And to learn more about state sponsored options in South Australia, see our article on the South Australian State Nomination Program.

What Other Canada Visa (For Australia) Options Are Available?

There are a multitude of other types of visas which you can choose from, including visitor, student, temporary graduate, family and business visas.

Read on for a brief outline of these other options for Canadian citizens.

Visitor Visa

To travel to Australia for a short-term period, you might like to consider a Visitor Visa.

A Subclass 600 Visitor Visa is for people who are seeking to travel to Australia for tourism, business or to visit family. It is temporary and can be granted for up to 3, 6, or 12 months.

Or, you might be interested in a Subclass 601 Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) Visa, which also allows you to visit Australia for a shorter period. It is aimed for people who are seeking to travel to Australia for a holiday, to visit family/friends, or as a business visitor. It also allows you to complete short-term study or training for up to 3 months. Is a temporary visa which is open to citizens of certain countries only, including Canada, and allows you to enter Australia on an unlimited basis over a 12-month period, with a maximum 3-month stay permitted every time you enter Australia.

Student Visa

If you would like to come to Australia to study and complete a course/qualification, you may like to consider a Subclass 500 Student Visa. This is a temporary visa with a term of up to five years (the length of your stay will depend on the duration of the course/s you select to study).

You can choose from a large range of courses and subjects at all levels, that is, school, vocational, higher education, postgraduate research, non-award and English courses.

For an outline of the eligibility criteria and how you can apply for a Student Visa, see our Student Visa article.

And for some of the benefits of studying in Australia, please see Is Australia the best place to be an international student article.

Temporary Graduate Visa

The Subclass 485 visa is a temporary visa which can be granted for between 18 months and 4 years, depending on which stream you apply for, as well as your qualification. There are two streams; a Graduate Work and a Post-Study Work stream.

As a subclass 485 visa holder, you can live, work and study in Australia on an unrestricted basis. It can be a great option if you are after a flexible visa which is not subject to limitations, and it can be a good step to take if you are considering a pathway to a longer-term or permanent visa in Australia. Given its flexibility, you can use the time  you have in Australia as the holder of a Temporary Graduate visa to prepare for and satisfy the requirements to qualify for a further Canada visa for Australia by, for example, gaining work experience, completing a qualification and/or living in a specified area of Australia for a certain period.

And as a bonus, changes which have recently been introduced means you may qualify for a second temporary graduate post-study work visa, allowing you an extended stay in Australia of an extra 1-2 years (if you meet specified requirements). You can read more about this option in our article on the Temporary Graduate Visa Subclass 485.

Get More Information About The Temporary Graduate Visa

To learn more about the subclass 485 Canada visa for Australia, please refer to the following articles, which we have prepared to assist you to understand how the subclass 485 visa application works, and the issues you need to be mindful of when considering applying for this visa.

International Graduates Continue to Get Caught Out on Graduate Visa

What are different temporary graduate visa streams and how to qualify for these streams

Qualification criteria for Temporary Graduate subclass 485 visa

Occupation lists – what are they and how do they apply to graduates?

Australian Graduate Visa FAQs

Comprehensive Guide to Temporary Graduate Subclass 485 Visa

Top 5 Graduate Visa Tips AND How to spend your time on a graduate visa wisely

Most common refusal reasons for graduate visas

Family Visa

The Family Visa stream is a visa class which is specifically about human relationships, including romantic partner/spouse relationships, child and parent relationships.

Partner Visa

Included in the family stream is the Partner visa, which is for Canadian citizens who are in a married or de facto relationship with an Australian partner or eligible New Zealand citizen. This visa provides a pathway to a permanent residence allowing eligible immigration Australia from Canada.

To apply in Australia, you may consider a Subclass 820/801 Partner Visa. The equivalent offshore application is the Subclass 309/100 Partner Visa.

Prospective Marriage Visa

Alternatively, if you are engaged to marry your Australian partner (or eligible New Zealand citizen), you might be eligible for a Subclass 300 Prospective Marriage Visa (this is an offshore application).

Learn more about the Partner and Prospective Marriage visa in our article on Partner Visa Sponsor Approval.

Other Family Visas

There are a range of other Family visas which you may be interested in, including a Parent or Child visa.

You can find more information about these other family visas in our Sponsoring a family member Article.

Business Visas

A Business Visa is aimed for people who are seeking to establish and manage, invest in a business, or innovate a product or service to commercialise in Australia.

To be eligible for a Business visa, you need to apply for and be granted sponsorship approval by a State or Territory Government.

The business visa stream offers both temporary and permanent visa options, which means it can provide a pathway for you to settle in Australia indefinitely.

Get More Information About The Business Visa

For a detailed outline of the Business visa options available, see our Comprehensive Guide to a Business Investment Visa article.

And to learn about the South Australian state-sponsored Business visa options, please refer to our articles on the South Australian State Nomination Program and 188c Visa Eligibility.

Get Help From a Registered Australian Migration Agent

PAX Migration Australia are trained professionals in migration law. Its team of experts have the skills, qualifications and many years of experience to assist people like you to apply for a Canada visa for Australia.

They will provide you with tailored advice which is prepared especially for you, based on your own individual circumstances, goals and needs. Contact PAX Migration Australia to discover your options for a Canada visa for Australia.

Get More Information About Why You Should Choose PAX Migration Australia

To find out more about why you should consider choosing PAX Migration Australia, more from our clients about what they think about us, and why obtaining expert advice and assistance from a migration agent can be beneficial in achieving a positive outcome on your migration matter, we recommend that you refer to the following articles:

Selecting a migration agent in Australia

Should I use a migration agent or immigration lawyer for my application?

Migration Agent in Adelaide

Immigration Agent Adelaide

Migration Agent Australia

Best Migration Agent Adelaide

PAX Migration Adelaide

Migration Agent Elizabeth

Migration Agent Aberfoyle Park

Migration Agent Glen Osmond 

For more information on what you can expect from PAX Migration Australia when you engage our services, including the process involved, please see the following articles:

Migration Agent Hallett Cove 

Migration Agent Kensington Park 

Migration Agent Morphett Vale

Migration Agent Oaklands Park

Migration Agent Reynella

Migration Agent Glenelg

Migration Agent Henley Beach

Migration Agent Noarlunga

Migration Agent Semaphore

* * * * * * * * * * * *

In conclusion, we note that the above discussion provides an overview of the types of Canada visas for Australia. Australia’s migrations laws are complex, and each case is different. We recommend that you seek professional advice before you proceed with applying for a Canada visa for Australia, as being fully informed about the process and requirements that apply will give you the best chance of achieving a successful outcome on your application, and thus lessen the chance that it will be refused. A migration professional can help you to do this. Start off on the right foot by contacting PAX Migration Australia today.

For up-to-date advice on a Canada visa for Australia, book your confidential consultation with a migration agent in Adelaide. PAX Migration Australia is a leading immigration advice service based in Adelaide.

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Australian Government – Department of Home Affairs – Immigration and citizenship – Working Holiday Maker (WHM) program – specified work conditions – ​​​​​​​​​Specified subclass 417 work


Australian Government – Department of Home Affairs – Immigration and citizenship – Working Holiday Maker (WHM) program – specified work and conditions – ​​​​​​​​​​​​6 month work limitation