International Experience Canada (IEC) Program Explained

International Experience Canada (IEC) Program Explained

The International Experience Canada (IEC) Canada work permits offer young individuals worldwide the chance to travel and work in Canada, aiming to provide them with valuable experience and knowledge, fostering cultural exchange and value exchange.

The IEC Program comprises 3 categories:

  • Working Holiday
  • Young Professionals
  • International Co-op

The program has over 30 countries participating in these categories, each having specific age limits, program details, and visa validity, and different eligibility requirements.

IEC work permits are granted through a lottery-style selection process, which means not all individuals with expression of interest will not be selected. The likelihood of selection depends on program and country quotas.

Youth Mobility Arrangement Countries

Young adults aged 18 to 35 from countries with a Youth Mobility Arrangement with Canada can get IEC work permits, exempt from the usual Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Unlike LMIA, IEC aims to strengthen Canada’s connections with participating countries, allowing participants to obtain a Canadian work permit through various options.

CountryWorking HolidayYoung ProfessionalsInternational Co-opAge Limit
AndorraUp to 12 monthsN/AN/A18-30
AustraliaUp to 24 monthsUp to 24 monthsUp to 12 months (unless it is the applicant’s second participation since 2015, in which case, 12 months)18-35
AustriaUp to 12 monthsUp to 12 monthsUp to 6 months (internship or work placement must be in forestry, agriculture, or tourism)18-35
BelgiumUp to 12 monthsN/AN/A18-30
ChileUp to 12 monthsUp to 12 monthsUp to 12 months18-35
Costa RicaUp to 12 monthsUp to 12 monthsUp to 12 months18-35
CroatiaUp to 12 monthsUp to 12 monthsUp to 12 months18-35
Czech RepublicUp to 12 monthsUp to 12 monthsUp to 12 months18-35
DenmarkUp to 12 monthsN/AN/A18-35
EstoniaUp to 12 monthsUp to 12 monthsUp to 12 months18-35
France*Up to 24 monthsUp to 24 monthsUp to 12 months18-35
GermanyUp to 12 monthsUp to 12 monthsUp to 12 months18-35
GreeceUp to 12 monthsUp to 12 monthsUp to 12 months18-35
Hong KongUp to 12 monthsN/AN/A18-30
IrelandUp to 24 monthsUp to 24 monthsUp to 12 months18-35
ItalyUp to 12 months **Up to 12 months **Up to 12 months **18-35
JapanUp to 12 monthsN/AN/A18-30
LatviaUp to 12 monthsUp to 12 monthsUp to 12 months18-35
LithuaniaUp to 12 monthsUp to 12 monthsUp to 12 months18-35
LuxembourgUp to 12 monthsUp to 12 monthsUp to 12 months18-30
MexicoUp to 12 monthsUp to 12 monthsUp to 12 months18-29
NetherlandsUp to 12 monthsUp to 12 monthsN/A18-30
New ZealandUp to 23 monthsN/AN/A18-35
NorwayUp to 12 monthsUp to 12 monthsUp to 12 months18-35
PolandUp to 12 monthsUp to 12 monthsUp to 12 months18-35
PortugalUp to 24 monthsUp to 24 monthsUp to 24 months18-35
San MarinoUp to 12 monthsN/AN/A18-35
SlovakiaUp to 12 monthsUp to 12 monthsUp to 12 months18-35
SloveniaUp to 12 monthsUp to 12 monthsUp to 12 months18-35
South KoreaUp to 12 monthsN/AN/A18-30
SpainUp to 12 monthsUp to 12 monthsUp to 12 months18-35
SwedenUp to 12 monthsUp to 12 monthsUp to 12 months18-30
SwitzerlandN/AUp to 18 monthsUp to 12 months18-35
TaiwanUp to 12 monthsUp to 12 monthsUp to 12 months18-35
UkraineUp to 12 monthsUp to 12 monthsUp to 12 months18-35
United KingdomUp to 24 monthsN/AN/A18-3

Recognized Organization (RO)

In order to get help from any recognized organization (RO), you can get help from any of these recognized organizations (RO):

  • get information about Canadian
    • culture
    • languages
    • laws
    • taxes
  • find a job
  • find transportation
  • with general support and advice

1. Working Holiday IEC

Individuals who applied in the Working Holiday Visa category have the opportunity to obtain an open work permit, which remains valid for a duration of one to two years.

With an open work permit, participants have the flexibility to work across Canada for nearly any Canadian employer. The length of stay in Canada may vary depending on the country and duration of stay.

Working Holidy Visa IEC is best for:

  1. Do not possess a job offer.
  2. Intend to work for multiple employers in Canada.
  3. Seek employment in more than one location.
  4. Looking to travel to multiple locations.

2. International Co-op Internship IEC

The International Co-op Internship category permits individuals enrolled in a post-secondary institution in their home country to undertake an internship with a Canadian company while staying in Canada.

The International Co-op Internship is best for:

  1. Are currently enrolled as active students at a post-secondary institution (such as a college or university) outside of Canada.
  2. Hold a job offer in Canada that is necessary to fulfill their academic requirements.
  3. Intend to work exclusively with the specified employer during their stay in Canada

3. Young Professionals IEC

Young Professionals In the Young Professionals category, citizens of eligible countries can gain international experience by working for a Canadian company. Successful applicants in this category obtain an employer-specific work permit.

Young Professionals IEC is best for:

  1. Hold a valid job offer in Canada for a paid position contributing to their professional development.
  2. Intend to work for the same employer throughout their stay in Canada.
  3. Applicants need a signed job offer letter or employment contract from a Canadian employer, specifically related to their professional development.
  4. The offered job must fall under National Occupation Code (NOC) Skill Type Level 0, A, or B.

Eligibility Requirements for the IEC Program

  • You must be a citizen (passport holder) of the specified countries or a resident of territories with a bilateral Youth Mobility Arrangement with Canada.
  • Possess a valid passport for the entire stay in Canada (the work permit duration won’t exceed passport validity).
  • Fall between ages 18 and 30 or 35 at the application time (age limit varies by citizenship).
  • Have at least $2,500 CAN upon arrival to cover initial expenses.
  • Obtain health insurance for the entire stay (proof may be required at entry).
  • Meet Canada’s admissibility criteria.
  • Before departing, have a round-trip ticket or funds for a departure ticket.
  • Travel without dependents.
  • Fulfill required fee payments.

How to apply for IEC program?

To apply for IEC program, the applicant must follow the steps below:

  1. Applicants must fill out the Come to Canada questionnaire and get your personal reference code if eligible.
  2. Create an online account using the code.
  3. Finish your IEC profile through the builder.
  4. Submit your profile, choosing your preferred IEC pools.
  5. If invited to apply, start your application within 10 days in your account.
  6. Once you press “Start Application,” complete, pay, and submit your work permit application within 20 days.
  7. For Young Professional and International Coop categories, ensure your employer pays the $230 Employer Compliance Fee before your 20 days expire.
  8. Upload required documents, including police and medical certificates if applicable.
  9. Pay the participation fee of CAD $153 through the online payment system.
  10. Working Holiday Category applicants also pay their open work permit fee of CAD $100.
  11. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) assesses your temporary work permit application, possibly requesting additional documents.
  12. Successful applicants receive a Port of Entry (POE) Introduction Letter in their account within eight weeks.
  13. Present this letter at a Port of Entry in Canada to obtain your work permit upon arrival.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How much money do you need for IEC Canada?

The IEC Canada typically recommends having at least $2,500 CAD.

Do you need a job offer for IEC Canada?

For the Working Holiday category of the International Experience Canada (IEC) program, a job offer is not required. However, for the Young Professionals and International Co-op categories, you must have a valid job offer in Canada related to your professional development.

What are the chances of getting a Working Holiday work permit?

The chances of getting a Working Holiday work permit depend on various factors such as the country’s bilateral agreements, annual quotas, and individual eligibility. It’s competitive, and applicants are typically selected through a lottery or first-come, first-served basis. So, if you want to increase your chances, it is recommended to apply as easy as possible to increase your chances.

How many IEC work permits will be issued in 2024?

Based on previous year trends, it can be expected that the annual quota for IEC for 2024 will be around 90,000 to 100,000.

How much does the Working Holiday permit cost?

The participation fee for the International Experience Canada (IEC) Working Holiday permit is CAD $153.

Can my spouse join me on my Working Holiday visa?

Applicants should come alone, but there are options for partners:

  1. Partners can apply for a separate Working Holiday visa.
  2. Once in Canada, partners may qualify for a Spousal Open Work Permit (SOWP), offering flexibility for future use of the Working Holiday program.
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