Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Ceisteanna (48, 51)

Regina Doherty

Ceist:

48. Deputy Regina Doherty asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the position regarding the negotiations on working visas to Canada; when an announcement is to be expected; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11654/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

51. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he has raised with the Canadian Ambassador here the position regarding the delay in the opening of the Canadian working holiday visa application process; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11861/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 48 and 51 together.

The Working Holiday Programme with Canada gives young people from Ireland and Canada the opportunity to live and work in the other country. The agreement reflects the excellent relationship we enjoy with Canada and contributes further to that relationship by fostering increasing personal, cultural and professional ties between our people. The arrangements for the Programme were set out in a Memorandum of Understanding which was agreed between Ireland and Canada in 2003. This was amended and expanded in 2012 and again on 6 March 2014, at which point two new categories were brought into the scheme.

Last week I welcomed the signing of the latest amendment to this reciprocal agreement, which will allow more young Irish professionals and students to gain valuable work experience in Canada. I am advised that the Canadian authorities open applications today for 3,000 visas in the new categories, geared towards young Irish professionals and students. On 13 March, applications open for the working holiday visas which have been characteristic of the scheme since 2003, and open to applicants who do not have a job offer in Canada. The total number of visas available to young Irish citizens this year is 10,700, the largest ever quota for Irish applicants.