Did you know that young people between age 18-34 can work and travel in Canada under the International Experience Canada (IEC) immigration program?
Canada’s International Experience Canada program allows young citizens from 35 countries that have a bilateral youth mobility arrangement with Canada to live and work in Canada across three categories:
- Working Holiday
- Young Professionals
- International Co-op
Depending on the applicant’s country of citizenship, age and the International Experience Canada category to which he or she is applying, foreign youth may live, work and travel in Canada for up to 24 months.
Which countries can participate in International Experience Canada?
To participate in International Experience Canada:
- your country or territory of citizenship must have an agreement with Canada that allows you to apply for an IEC work permit (see list of eligible countries) OR
- you may be able to use a recognized organization (RO)
The Working Holiday category of the International Experience Canada program is very popular because it offers the advantage of an open work permit. An open work permit allows its bearer to work anywhere in Canada and for almost any Canadian employer.
You may pre-qualify for a Canada immigration program.
To be eligible for the Working Holiday category, candidates must:
- be a citizen (passport holder) of one of the 32 countries that have a bilateral youth mobility agreement with Canada;
- have a valid passport for the duration of their stay in Canada (the work permit issued will not be longer than the validity of the passport),
- be between the ages of 18 and 30 or 35 (inclusive) at the time of application (the upper age limit depends on the applicant’s country of citizenship);
- have the equivalent of C$2,500 on landing to help cover initial expenses;
- be able to take out health insurance for the duration of their stay (participants may have to present evidence of this insurance at the point of entry in Canada);
- be admissible to Canada;
- have, prior to departure, a round-trip ticket or the financial resources to purchase a departure ticket for the end of their authorized stay in Canada,
- not be accompanied by dependents; and
- pay the appropriate fees.
This program is designed for foreign youth who wish to further their careers by gaining professional work experience in Canada. Participants must have a signed job offer letter or contract of employment with a Canadian employer before applying.
The employment offer must be within the applicant’s field of expertise, as proved by area of training or work experience, and contribute to his or her professional development.
The job offered in Canada must be classified as a National Occupation Code (NOC) Skill Type Level 0, A, or B.
The requirements for the Working Holiday category, listed above, also apply to the Young Professionals category.
Under this category, work must be paid and not self-employed.
International Co-op (Internship)
The International Co-op (also known as Internship) program is designed for foreign youth who are enrolled at a post-secondary institution in their country of citizenship.
Applicants must need work placement or internship in Canada to fulfill part of their academic curriculum and be registered students in their country of citizenship for the duration of the internship.
You must also have a job offer for a work placement or internship in Canada and work for the same employer in the same location during your stay.
Canadian International Co-op and Internship visas are generally valid for up to 12 months.
International Experience Canada Online Application Process
The International Experience Canada application process involves various steps. The graphic “International Experience Canada Online Application Process” below is an overview of the steps you need to take to apply for IEC.
International Experience Canada eligibility criteria
Complete the Come to Canada questionnaire and get your personal reference code.
Create your Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) account. Select “Apply to come to Canada” and use your personal reference code to begin your application.
How do I submit my profile and work permit application?
Submit your profile and choose the IEC pools you want to be in. For the Working Holiday pool, you must submit a valid job offer before receiving an invitation to apply.
If you receive an invitation to apply via your account, you’ll have 10 days to start your application.
Once you start your work permit application, you have 20 days to complete and submit it, and pay the appropriate fee.
Applies to Young Professional and Co-op categories only
During that 20-day period, your employer needs to pay the CAD$230 employer compliance fee through the Employer Portal.
Once the fee is paid, your employer should send you an offer of employment number. You need this to apply for your work permit.
Upload all supporting documents, including police and medical exam certificates, if applicable.
Pay your participation fee of CAD$156 with a credit card online through your IRCC account. Other fees may include a CAD$85 biometrics fee and CAD$100 Working Holiday open work permit holder fee.
If required, you will be sent a biometric instruction letter via your IRCC account after you submit your application. You will have 30 days upon receipt of the instruction letter to submit your biometrics at a Visa Application Centre (VAC). For more information, visit Canada.ca/biometrics.
IEC work permit assessment
The work permit application assessment may take up to 56 days. We may ask you to provide additional documents.
This is your last chance to withdraw from IEC and obtain refunds (participation fee, open work permit holder fee, employer compliance fee).
IRCC will send a Port of Entry Letter to your account. Bring this letter and your job offer with you to Canada.
Before you travel, you will need to be aware of quarantine measures for COVID-19 and download the ArriveCAN app to provide mandatory travel information.
Applying to International Experience Canada
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You may pre-qualify for a Canada immigration program.