Canadian working visas were snapped up in record time by thousands of hopeful Irish immigrants last week.

Applications for more than 6,300 Canadian work visas were submitted over four days at the opening of the 2013 International Experience Canada (IEC) last Tuesday.

The program allows those aged 18 to 35 to work legally in the country for up to two years.
Increased demand for the IEC program resulted in the quota being filled in four days. In comparison, last year the visa allocation was not reached until the end of May.

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The quota for 2013 has now been filled but the IEC is now operating a waiting list system, and is taking a small number of “supplementary applications.”

For 2013 Citizenship and Immigration Canada increased their visa quota for Irish applicants by 1,000 to 6,350. That figure is expected to be almost doubled to 10,000 in 2014.

Cathy Murphy, executive director of the Irish Canadian Immigration Centre based in Toronto was shocked by the demand.

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Murphy told the Irish Examiner: “We expected a great demand when the IEC programme opened but in truth, the numbers are staggering.”

Ruari Spillane, founder of, said the increase was likely down to the abolition of the habitual residency rule, which allows Irish people living around the world to apply for the one year visa to Canada.

“In addition, the majority of people that arrived in Canada last year are extending their visa to give them an additional two years in Canada,” he said.