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International Experience Canada Program

International Experience Canada Program capacity for foreign youth to increase by 20% or 15,000

International Experience Canada Program to increase by 20%

Canada is making significant changes to the International Experience Canada Program (IEC) to increase capacity by 20% or 15,000 additional spots for 2023.

IEC is a program that allows foreign young people to live, work and travel in Canada for temporary periods. Youth between ages 18 and 35 years living in any of Canada’s 36 partnering countries can live, work and travel for up to two years in Canada.

Canada has agreements with over 30 countries and territories (including UK, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Australia, New Zealand, Denmark and Netherlands) to get a work permit or visa under International Experience Canada (IEC).

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will soon announce program open date for 2023.

IEC program’s objectives are to enhance Canada’s labour markets for the future while advancing the nation’s multicultural heritage.

According to Canada’s Immigration Minister Sean Fraser:

“Our government is helping more international youth to work and travel in Canada, effectively helping employers, most of those in the tourism industry, find the workers they need. By giving youth the opportunity of international travel and work experience, we are strengthening our economy and helping our businesses succeed, particularly in places like Banff that need seasonal help.”

About International Experience Canada Program

The IEC program contains three streams:

  • Working Holiday
  • Young Professionals
  • International Co-op

Working Holiday

The Working Holiday category 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.

To be eligible for the Working Holiday category, candidates must:

  • be a citizen (passport holder) of one of the 36 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);
  • 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.

Young Professionals

This IEC program is 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 requirements for the Working Holiday category, listed above, also apply to the Young Professionals category. In addition, the employment offer must be within the applicant’s field of expertise and contribute to  his or her professional development.

As well, under this category, work must be paid and not self-employed. Further, the job offered in Canada must be classified as a National Occupation Code (NOC) Skill Type Level 0, A, or B.

International Co-op (Internship)

The International Co-op (also known as Internship) program is for foreign youth 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. Also they must be registered students in their country of citizenship for the duration of the internship.

They 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 Program

See IRCC IEC Guidelines.

Working Holiday: IEC participants in this stream “receive an open work permit that allows them to work anywhere in the host country” as a means of “supporting their travels.”

International Co-op (Internship): Participants in this IEC stream are provided with an employer-specific work permit. This targeted work permit enables students to gain focused work experience in their field of study.

Young Professionals: Participants in this stream of the IEC program also receive an employer-specific work permit, like those in the international co-op stream. However, beyond allowing these students to “gain targeted, professional work experience that is within their field of study”, the experience acquired by these students is also aimed at aiding their ability to pursue their desired career path.

International Experience Canada (Working Holidays Visa)

Work & travel in Canada with Youth International Experience Canada program