It's been a long work day, so naturally you gather at the pub with your mates. But this isn't just any pub - every nook and cranny has a story and the establishment is older than Canada itself. Not bad for a Monday night, yeah? With the exciting nightlife, bustling capitals, serene landscapes, and soaring power of the British Pound, it's a brilliant time to spend up to two years living and working in the historic United Kingdom.
When you go with SWAP, you'll receive guided support along the way, so you'll spend less time trying to figure out the complicated logistics and more time driving in double-deckers, deciphering accents, and downing pints across England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
SWAP makes it easy to secure a bank account, phone, and provides assistance with accommodation and job searching during your entire stay. With Europe at your doorstep, your two year work permit means you can fund your adventures, festival fun, and weekend travels to just about anywhere in the continent. You'll come home with international work experience, new friends, countless stories from the trip of a lifetime, and if you manage your funds efficiently, some change in the pocket of your trousers, too.
Don't just take our word for it. See the stories from some of our actual SWAP participants from the past few years.
We help you get a two-year working holiday visa that allows multiple entries into the UK. To be eligible, you just have to be Canadian, ages 18-30, have a valid passport, have a clean criminal record, and not have children. You also need to have at least £1890 saved up as funds to support you once you arrive, as requested by the UK Government.
SWAP will be there to assist you in navigating the application process and help you avoid costly delays and mistakes. We’ll provide step by step instructions and you’ll have personalized assistance from our UK Coordinator to make sure your application is perfect!
For your convenience, we have separated all visa and associated fees from the SWAP UK program, since they have to be paid directly to the UK Government. Don’t worry though, we’ll still be there to help you figure this out during your application. The two-year visa is currently only £244!
Eligibility for a working holiday visa in the UK means you will be covered under its world-class National Health Service (NHS), paid through a one-time £600 Immigration Health Surcharge. This will cover you for up to two full years, and you'll be happy knowing that with the NHS (much like Canadian healthcare) you have the best health care coverage at your service.
You’ll also need to attend an appointment in person at a UK Biometrics office, so make sure you can visit one of these cities when you apply: Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto, or Ottawa. There are also monthly appointments in Halifax and annual appointments in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Toronto appointments are free, but the other offices do charge a user fee which is currently $100 CAD, which will include a priority delivery of your visa and passport back to your mailing address.
We will lay out each step of this process so that it’s easy for you to understand. This visa can only be acquired once, making it (literally) once-in-a-lifetime (and totally worth it)!
Get real support from our local staff for your entire working holiday. The staff are experts at work and travel and know the UK inside and out. They'll help you get set up, find a job and a place to live, be there to answer any questions you may have, or just to talk.
One of the greatest advantages of going with SWAP is the immediate, built-in social network that you will be connected to as soon as you arrive! As early as your first orientation, you'll already be meeting fellow travellers in the same situation, and you'll get to know each other and meet many new people in the numerous social events that are held every month. It's the perfect opportunity to make new friends, find potential roomates, and network with people to find your next job. It's much easier (and more fun) than hanging out in a pub by yourself, or looking for roommates on SpareRoom.
Upon arrival: Two nights in London (when you add the accommodation package).
We've been helping Canadians live and work in the UK since 1978, so we know how applying for a UK visa is a complex process that gets more complicated every year. That's part of the reason why thousands of Canadians choose SWAP to help ensure their application's success. Our dedicated visa experts will go over your application in detail and make sure it is perfect. If we notice anything, we'll work with you to make sure it's flawless before your paperwork is submited to the British government.
Over 38 years of UK visa expertise isn't the only thing you'll get on the SWAP Work in the UK program. You'll also get:
Working and living in the UK with SWAP is easy. You can register online here, or do it in-person by visiting any of these Merit Travel locations and talking to a friendly travel counsellor. The choice is yours and our staff will be there to help you either way! The program price includes all the support services offered in the UK (listed in the support section), plus all the support services offered in Canada by SWAP to make sure your application goes through without a hitch and your working holiday is a success.
Canadians ages 18-30
Apply for the SWAP Work in the UK program at least 8 weeks prior to your intended arrival
Any period up to 2 years
You must have the amount of £1890 saved in your account as of the day you submit your application. These are called support funds and are a requirement of the government
SWAP Work in the UK is only $425 CAD! Add 2 nights of accommodation for only $100Take the 1st step ››
"I'm a bartender at a classic old pub. It's THE best. We have amazing customers and the staff and owners are so wonderful. I absolutely LOVE it! SWAP was so helpful with easing my mind and answering any questions I had along the way. They've been wonderful over here! Great group of people and the events they throw really help you meet people (which can be one of the hardest things). It's a great community and support system!"
"The idea of leaving the comforts of home can be scary as can the uncertainty of what your adventure may or may not hold. The benefits of working abroad and seeing more of the world is so worth that initial anxiety. Challenging yourself by working abroad is both humbling and empowering - it is something that you will never forget, something that will define you for the rest of your life. SWAPing has been life-changing as it's reminded me that it's possible to leave behind the familiar and build something new and exciting. Take a chance and leap - you'll be surprised just how confident and strong you are."
"Having seen other people doing it without, I would highly recommend SWAP to everyone. It really takes a lot of the stress out. It took me about a month to find work, and I ended up advancing my career and making more than twice than what I made before! "
"The chance to live a completely different lifestyle to the one I grew up with in Canada. Making new friends from all over the world and being able to hop on a plane to Europe for a quick weekend trip every month were definitely the two biggest highlights! When I first moved here, I did temp work for about 1.5 months until I got a job as a paralegal assistant in central London. I then went travelling over the summer and came back to a job within 3 days, working as an IT administrator at a charity in Watford!"
"My working holiday was an incredible experience. The great thing about London is that people from all over the world come here. London is truly multicultural. You can hear many different languages and accents just walking down the street every day. However, I think the greatest part of my working holiday was getting to experience the real London, the day to day existence. I could experience world class theatre, listen to amazing bands play in local pubs, and partake in quirky amazing events (pillow fight dances, masquerade balls, Jane Austen improv shows) that could also take place in a city of this scale."
"I found a job within a few weeks of arriving. I was taken on by a financial recruitment company and they kept me employed my entire time in London. I never went more than a week of unemployment after being signed on. I gained valuable work experience. I learned on the job... skills which have been very valuable here in Canada as well."
"The best part of my working holiday, is finally coming out of my shell. To explore the places, I'd dreamed about since I was a little girl. As well, I met a wonderful man who is now my fiancé! I've been able to start being more comfortable with myself, to see the world, to try new things eat new foods. It has helped open my eyes to so much. And, I've met and made more friends than I ever did back in Canada. These are sound people, who have treated me like family from day one."
"I am currently swapping in London, England. The best part about my working holiday is being able to live in a city with so much history. With endless museums, countless attractions, and buildings older than my country, you can never be bored. And if you do tire of the city, it's very affordable to travel. So far, I have visited Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Bosnia, Greece, Spain, and Scotland in the year that I've been over here."
"One of the best part of this adventure is living in a beach house. I was lucky enough to find a room to rent in a beach house, in Portobello beach. I'm from Montréal, Canada and there's no beach or sand or ocean near, so for me it's a big thing. Now, I can wake up with the sun in the morning, have breakfast and tea on the beach, smell the ocean and appreciate a sunrise once in a while. Plus, I love to hike and climb mountains and there's tones of hills and hiking trails everywhere here, so I when I have one or two days off in a row, I chose a destination and I go hike."