What is International Experience Canada?
International Experience Canada, or IEC, is a program for young adults who would like to temporarily live in Canada and gain Canadian work experience. IEC I’d divided into three categories, as follows:
- Working holiday: Participants receive an open work permit that allows them to work for almost any employer in Canada. Although the open work permit is generally valid for a year, citizens of some countries may be able to stay for up to two years.
- Young professionals: Participants who have received a job offer from a Canadian employer, in a field related to their studies or professional development, can apply under this category. The job must be full-time position in an occupation listed as skill type 0, A or B on the National Occupation Classification (NOC).
- International co-op: Participants who are studying at a post-secondary educational institution in their country of citizenship can apply for a permit to intern with a Canadian company. The student must have a confirmed internship/co-op placement prior to applying for this program, and he or she must remain a registered student at their educational institution for the duration of the placement.
How does the IEC program work?
You can apply to any of the three IEC categories by completing an online Expression of Interest. Qualified candidates are placed onto a pool, and those who are selected will receive an Invitation to Apply. A general overview of the process is as follows:
- Complete the “Come to Canada” questionnaire to determine whether you are eligible to apply for one of the three IEC categories.
- If you receive an invitation to apply, you have ten days to either start the application process or decline the invitation.
- Once you have started the application, you have another 20 days to complete and submit it. This includes submission of supporting documents and payment of the fees.
- If you are applying under the Young Professional or International Co-Op category, the employer who gave you the job offer or co-op placement will need to pay their Employer Compliance fee. This is done through an employer portal, and will generate an offer of employment number that you will need in order to complete your application.
- If your application is successful, Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will send you a Letter of Introduction, which you must present along with your passport, when you enter Canada. The immigration officer at the port of entry will use this to create your work permit.
Am I eligible for the IEC program?
You may be eligible to apply for IEC if you meet the following eligibility criteria:
- You come from a country that has a bilateral youth mobility agreement with Canada
- Your passport will be valid throughout the duration of your stay in Canada
- You are between the ages of 18 and either 30 or 35, depending on your country of origin
- You can demonstrate that you will have access to at least $2,500 CAN to cover your initial costs
- You are able to acquire health insurance
- You do not meet any conditions that would deem you inadmissible to Canada
- You are not going to accompanied by dependent family members