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About International Experience Canada
International Experience Canada (IEC) is a migration program that provides opportunities for young people to enter Canada to work or travel to partner countries to work. The purpose of IEC is to help participants explore and experience diverse cultures, develop tangible work experiences, and contribute to the growth of the global workforce.
International Experience Canada is one of the ways Canada strengthens its economy and global presence. IEC sustains and boosts Canada’s bilateral youth mobility agreements with participating countries, thus keeping Canada’s economic, social, and cultural relationship with 32 participating countries.
The IEC program enables young Canadian citizens and foreign nationals from participating counties between the age of 18 to 35 years to experience other cultures through travels and work experiences, thereby gaining rich experiences that can influence their perspective and personal development.
Do You Need to Apply for a Work Permit?
IEC is an alternative to the hassle of applying for a temporary resident visa or work permit. It provides a more accessible and less expensive way to enter and work in Canada as it offers work permits for participants to earn a living and get work experience in the country.
IEC work permit is valid for two years tops. There are two types of IEC work permits:
- Open work permit – holders can work anywhere
- Employer-specific work permit – restrict holders to an employer
Canadians who want to work in participating countries will have to apply for a work permit in their country of choice.
The type of IEC work permit participants get depends on their IEC program application. IEC offers three kinds of experiences that IEC participants can choose from depending on their needs and situation.
Working holiday offers open work permits that enable participants to work for any Canadian employer of their choice in any part of the country. It is an opportunity for people without jobs or wanting to work with more than one employer for the experience or other personal reasons.
International Co-op Internship
An international co-op internship is a student-focused program that offers internship opportunities to persons in post-secondary institutions outside Canada (participating countries). It enables foreign nationals to get a work placement in Canada to meet the requirements for an academic qualification.
An international co-op internship provides an employer-specific work permit. Applicants must have received a work placement related to their study program from a Canadian employer before applying. Applicants must intern with the same employer on their work permit.
The young professionals IEC program provides international work experience for foreign youths. It enables participants to get valuable work experience in areas specific to advancing professional development.
It is open to people with a job offer related to their area of study or discipline to gain work experience. Before a foreign youth can apply for the young professionals IEC program, they must meet two mandatory criteria.
- Applicants must have a signed job offer letter indicating a professional development objective.
- The offer letter must be from a Canadian employer.
- The job offer must be under National Occupation Code (NOC) Skill Type Level 0, A, or B.
The type of work permit for young professionals is employer-specific; this means that participants must work for the Canadian employer on the work permit. The work permit carries the participant’s name, employer, occupation, work address, and approved duration of work. However, participants can work in more than one location under the conditions that:
- the participant work with the same employer
- the participant holds the same occupation
- the pay is consistent across locations
- the business locations must have similar Canada Revenue Agency business number
- The employer submits business addresses and CRA numbers along with the offer of employment.
Eligibility Requirements for Applying to International Experience Canada (IEC)
Here are the basic entry requirements for IEC participants:
- You must be a citizen of one of the participating countries
- You must be admissible to Canada
- You should have a valid passport from your home country
- Your passport must still be valid when participants leave Canada
- You must be at least 18 years and 35 years at most. The upper age limit depends on the home country.
- You must have sufficient funds to help cover living expenses in Canada – a minimum of CAN$2,500.
- You will need valid health insurance throughout your stay in Canada
- You should have a round-trip ticket or present evidence of financial resources to purchase a departure ticket. The essence is to convince the border services officer that you will leave Canada at the end of your authorised stay.
- If you are applying for a young professional or co-op internship, you must have a signed letter of a job offer or contract of employment in your field of program or expertise. The job offer must be for professional development purposes.
- If you are a Co-op internship applicant, you must be in a post-secondary institution.
- You must have the financial capacity to pay all required fees
Only countries in the Youth Mobility Agreement with Canada are eligible for IEC.
Apply to an IEC Pool
First, you visit Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to ascertain that you meet the eligibility criteria of IEC. Ensure to provide accurate answers as not all participating countries are eligible for all the IEC programs; thus, your answers will show your eligibility for one or more IEC programs.
Once you confirm the category open to your country, create your profile and submit it to the pools available to you.
Wait for an Invitation
You will get invited according to the rounds of invitations allocated for your country and category. You can follow up with the invitation schedule for your country and your chances of getting an invitation on the IRCC website.
Also, the category you submit your profile in determines when you get an invitation. The rounds of invitation are in a particular order:
- International Co-op category
- Young professionals category
- Working holiday category
You are only eligible for one invitation even if you apply for more than one category.
Is the IEC pool open to only IEC participants?
The IEC is only open to foreign nationals who are not citizens of participating countries. Foreign youths that desire to enter Canada can do so through a Recognised Organisation, RO.
Get All Your Documents Ready to Avoid Processing Delays
You can get invited to apply at any time. Preparing your documents beforehand will save you from losing your invitation and a seamless application process. Once you submit your profile into the loop, you should inquire about the supporting documents for work permits and applications.
Here are some of the documents you may need to have ready:
- Digital photo of yourself (format: 2000; size: 240kb; colour: 24 bits per pixel)
- Family information
- Health insurance
- Medical exam
- Proof of financial support
- Police certificate
- Valid passport
- Visitor visa or electronic travel authorisation (eTA)
- Program-specific documents
Accept Your Invitation to Apply
Ensure to check your account for updates continually. You will get an invitation to apply in your account if you get considered for the program. You only have ten days to accept the invitation, starting from the day to get the invite.
Apply for the IEC Work Permit
You need to apply for your work permit once you accept your invitation. You will receive a message indicating the deadline for your application after you accept your invitation, which is 20 days (UTC standard).
Furthermore, you will be requested to provide:
- Proof of the information in your profile
- Information on education and professional background
- Supporting documents (upon request)
Fill Out the Online Application Form
It is mandatory to provide all the required information about your education and work history. Ensure to provide accurate information to avoid getting disqualified. Cross-check all the information you input for errors, gaps, and accuracy.
After you complete and submit your form, you will get your personalised document checklist indicating all the supporting documents you need to provide.
Upload Your Personalised Document Request
Given that the application is online, you will have to convert all your supporting documents into soft copies. To upload your document, log in to your account and go to the Document Checklist page. You may need to submit additional documents after uploading the required documents; if not, ensure to provide your e-signature and confirm that all the information you provided is authentic before leaving the page.
If you do not have the additional document requested of you, you can write a letter stating valid reasons for not having them and back it up with a supporting document. Upload the letter in place of the document; the border services officer will determine if you can continue with the application process.
Pay All Appropriate Fees
Find out the fees that apply to your program and how to pay. The processing fees you may need to pay are:
- Participation fee
- Biometrics fee
- Open work permit holder fee of CAN$100 (applies to Work Holiday participants)
Internships and work experience applicants don’t have to pay for their work permits. Submit your application after paying your fees. Ensure to cross-check all your information and documents before submitting. You may also have to submit your biometrics after submitting your application.
International experience Canada has conditions, requirements, and procedures that you need to understand to have a smooth application process. You may need assistance verifying the program your country is eligible for, getting the appropriate documents according to the specified requirement, solving technical issues and answering your questions.
IAS has a team of industry-led experts with years of experience in Canadian immigration and laws. We have the experience and services to assist you in processing your IEC application and other types of immigration needs.
Last modified on June 17th, 2023 at 8:11 am
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