Working Holiday Authorisations (WHAs) play an important role in building Ireland's bilateral relations with Canada and a number of other non-European countries and regions with which we have reciprocal agreements, encouraging people-to-people contacts. The Working Holiday Agreement with Canada, in place since 2003, reflects the excellent relationship which we have with Canada and contributes further to that relationship by fostering increased personal, cultural and professional ties between our young people aged between 18 and 35 years.
The Government of Canada administers its WHA programme through 'International Experience Canada' while the Embassy of Ireland in Ottawa manages the application process for eligible Canadians wishing to come here on a working holiday. At the present time, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada has placed a temporary pause on the processing of WHA applications until further notice. As you will appreciate, Canadian immigration policies are a matter solely for the Canadian authorities.
Our Embassy in Ottawa has likewise temporarily ceased processing new applications under the WHA programme. Our primary concern remains the health, welfare and well-being of those who would seek to travel to Ireland on a WHA. We will instruct our Missions abroad, including the Embassy in Ottawa, to re-open the working holiday application process once circumstances permit.
Once Canada resumes the processing of working holiday applications, an update will be provided on the International Experience Canada website and on its social media pages. I would recommend that the individual to whom the Deputy refers in his question consult the website on a regular basis for any developments in this regard. I hope that that he and other Irish applicants are able to avail fully of the experience and opportunities offered by the Working Holiday Agreement once processing has been resumed by the Canadian authorities