Outgoing Canadian Ambassador to Costa Rica Neil Reeder announced a program that will open opportunities for cultural exchange for young professionals living in Costa Rica and in Canada.
The Youth Mobility Program is on the verge of approval by both governments and would facilitate work visas for Ticos aged 18-35 to spend up to six months in internships or other jobs in Canada. The program would also allow for a fixed number of young Canadians to work in Costa Rica.
“We will be offering Costa Ricans six-month work visas … to work in Canada … to learn English or French, make a little money and live in a different country,” Reeder said. “Under the auspices of this program, Canadians can come down here, work for six months with an employer and learn Spanish.”
Canada has similar programs with Chile, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Poland and France, among others, which have been a great success, said Reeder.
“Each country will develop a roster of interested candidates and they have to pay their own travel,” Reeder said. “But we give them the work visas.” He pointed to an example where in Whistler, a popular ski resort area in the western Canadian province of British Columbia, dozens of Australians and New Zealanders are at work on the ski slopes. “They come because they want to live in snow.”
The program is currently awaiting approval in the Costa Rican Legislative Assembly and in Canada, and could get the go-ahead as soon as this fall. A pilot program has been under way for two years, involving 25 Ticos who are currently working in parts of Canada.
“It’s a great opportunity for cross-cultural exchange,” Reeder said.
For an interview with Ambassador Reeder, see the Aug. 6 print or digital edition of The Tico Times.