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International Experience Canada(IEC)

Discover Canada’s vibrant culture and diverse landscapes while gaining valuable international work experience through the International Experience Canada (IEC) program. This program offers an opportunity for young adults to work and engage in cultural exchange in Canada for 1 to 2 years. The IEC program aims to strengthen Canada’s international ties by promoting youth mobility. It serves as a platform for young people to engage in reciprocal cultural exchange, enhancing their global perspective.

Eligibility Criteria: If you’re between 18 and 35 years old and a citizen of a country with a Youth Mobility Agreement (YMA) with Canada, you may qualify for an IEC work permit. A significant benefit of the IEC work permit is that it does not require a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

Work Permit Duration: While direct extensions of the IEC work permit are not possible, you may have the opportunity to extend your work permit’s validity beyond what was initially granted at the time of your entry into Canada.

Participation Criteria: To join the IEC program, your country must have a Youth Mobility Agreement with Canada. Certain Recognized Organizations (ROs) may assist individuals from non-partner countries to participate in IEC under specific circumstances. It’s crucial to check if your country allows single or multiple participations in different categories and understand the eligibility requirements thoroughly before applying.

Dependent Family Members: Dependent family members cannot accompany you under the IEC program, but they can apply separately to visit, study, or work in Canada. If you’re from a partner country, you might be eligible for one or more of the three IEC categories.

There are following 3 categories under this program

  • Working Holiday
  • Young Professionals
  • International Co-op Internship

Working ​Holiday

Are you looking to explore Canada and gain diverse work experience without being tied to a single job offer, employer, or location? The Working Holiday category is designed for you. This program is perfect for those who wish to work with different employers across Canada and earn money to fund their travels.

Key Benefits of the Working Holiday Program

Open Work Permit: You’ll receive an open work permit, allowing you to work for almost any employer in Canada, with a few exceptions.
Flexibility and Freedom: Enjoy the freedom to work for multiple employers and in various locations across Canada.
Travel and Earn: This program is an excellent opportunity to earn income while traveling and experiencing the diverse culture and landscapes of Canada.
Medical Examination: For certain job types, you’ll need to undergo a medical examination before starting employment.

The Working Holiday program offers a unique blend of work and travel, making it an ideal choice for adventurous individuals looking to experience all that Canada has to offer. Embark on your Canadian adventure with the Working Holiday program!

Young Professionals

If you’re seeking to enhance your professional skills and have a job offer in Canada, the Young Professionals category is tailored for you. This category is ideal for individuals looking to advance their careers by working for the same employer at the same location throughout their stay in Canada.

Key Features of the Young Professionals Category

Employer-Specific Work Permit: You will receive an employer-specific work permit, allowing you to work for a particular employer in Canada.
Paid Employment: All work under this category must be paid and cannot involve self-employment.
Compliance with Labor Laws: Your employer must adhere to all labor laws in the province or territory of your employment, including meeting minimum wage requirements.
Professional Development: The job offer you receive should contribute to your professional development. To qualify, the job should be classified under TEER categories 0, 1, 2, or 3 of the National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Field of Study Consideration: Jobs classified under TEER 4 may be considered if they align with your field of study.
Application Requirements: When applying for the Young Professionals category, be prepared to submit your post-secondary diploma, certificate, or degree. Ensure that these documents are translated into English or French.

This program offers a fantastic opportunity for ambitious individuals to develop their careers while experiencing Canada’s dynamic and diverse culture. 

International Co-op

For students looking to integrate real-world experience into their academic studies, the International Co-op (Internship) category offers an excellent opportunity. This program is specially designed for post-secondary students who have secured a work placement or internship in Canada that is essential for completing their studies.

Why Choose the International Co-op Category?

Tailored for Students: Exclusively for students enrolled in a post-secondary institution needing an internship for their course.
Employer-Specific Work Permit: You will receive a work permit tied to the employer offering your internship, ensuring your work experience closely aligns with your field of study.
Adherence to Labour Laws: Your internship will comply with the labour laws of the province or territory you will work in, including wage standards.

Applying for the International Co-op Program

Direct Application: You can apply to the International Experience Canada (IEC) program on your own.
Support from Recognized Organizations (ROs): For additional support, consider utilizing ROs. These Canadian organizations specialize in helping foreign nationals and Canadian youth with work and travel experiences in Canada. They can also assist youth from non-partner countries in certain situations.
Different from Immigration Representatives: It’s important to note that ROs are distinct from immigration representatives and focus on facilitating your work and travel experience rather than handling immigration or citizenship applications.

If you are a citizen of a partner country, you might be able to apply for this or other categories under the IEC program. The International Co-op category is a fantastic way for students to gain valuable international work experience in Canada, complementing their academic pursuits. Start planning your Canadian internship adventure today!

IEC Recognized Organizations (ROs)

Embarking on a working holiday or professional development journey in Canada through the International Experience Canada (IEC) program? Enhance your experience by connecting with a recognized organization (RO) for comprehensive support. ROs are organizations based in Canada that support youth in their efforts to work and travel internationally. They can be non-profit, for-profit, or educational entities, most charging fees for their services.

What ROs Offer

Job Assistance: Find suitable employment in Canada.
Banking and Accommodation: Get help setting up Canadian banking and finding accommodation.
Travel Planning: Plan your travel itinerary with expert advice.
Health and Safety: Secure international health insurance and necessary vaccinations.
Cultural Integration: Access language training and intercultural experiences.
Emergency Support: Receive assistance during unforeseen situations.
ROs vs. Immigration Representatives: It’s important to note that ROs differ from immigration representatives. While ROs focus on facilitating your work and travel experience, immigration representatives assist with immigration or citizenship applications.

Choosing an RO

No Obligation: If you’re from an IEC country or territory, using an RO is optional.
Explore RO Services: Visit RO’s website to understand offerings, fees, and contact details.
Proof of RO Assistance: When creating your IEC profile, you will need to upload a confirmation letter from your RO.

List of Recognized Organizations (ROs)

AIESEC Canada: Specializing in leadership development through work experiences.
GO International: Offers work and travel programs with comprehensive support.
IAESTE: Provides technical career-related opportunities for students and professionals.
International Internship Network (IIN): Tailored academic internship programs.
A-Way to Work/International Rural Exchange Canada Inc.: Opportunities in various sectors including agriculture and hospitality.
Languages Canada: Language skill improvement and work opportunities.
Stepwest: Varied work experiences, from ski resort jobs to student internships.
SWAP Working Holidays: Assists with working holidays and young professional opportunities.

IEC Application Process

Create an IEC Profile: Check if your country participates in IEC and choose your preferred program. Create an account on the IEC website. Meeting the eligibility requirements automatically enters you into the IEC candidate pool.
Await an Invitation to Apply: IEC conducts regular, random draws from the pool of candidates. Selection depends on program and country quotas. An Invitation to Apply (ITA) is sent to the chosen candidates. Understanding your country’s quotas can help gauge your chances of receiving an ITA.
Respond to the Invitation to Apply: If you receive an ITA, you have 10 days to accept it. Following acceptance, you have 20 days to submit an online application for a work permit. Declining from the ITA places you back in the candidate pool for future consideration.
Submit Your Work Permit Application: After accepting the ITA, complete your work permit application through the IRCC web portal within 20 days. Ensure you have all the necessary documents ready to avoid delays.
Receive Your Work Permit: Successful applications result in the issuance of a work permit, detailing your authorization period to work in Canada.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) the International Experience Canada (IEC)

The IEC program allows young adults aged 18-35 from countries with a Youth Mobility Agreement to work and experience Canada’s culture for 1-2 years. It emphasizes cultural exchange and international work experience.

No! IEC work permits are exempt from the LMIA requirement, making the application process easier for eligible candidates.

Direct extensions of IEC work permits are not possible. However, there may be opportunities to extend the permit’s validity under certain circumstances.

The IEC program includes three categories: Working Holiday, Young Professionals, and International Co-op (Internship).

This category is for individuals who want to travel and work in various locations across Canada without a fixed job offer. It provides an open work permit allowing you to work for multiple employers.

Applicants must have a job offer in Canada that contributes to their professional development and should work for the same employer in the same location. The work must be paid and not self-employed.

This is for post-secondary students who need a work placement or internship in Canada to complete their studies. It requires an employer-specific work permit linked to the internship.

Yes! ROs provide various services like job assistance, travel planning, and emergency support. They cater to both IEC countries and, in limited cases, to non-partner countries.

Create an IEC profile on the IEC website, await an Invitation to Apply from IEC draws, accept the invitation, submit a work permit application online, and receive your work permit.

Dependents cannot accompany you under the IEC program. However, they can apply separately to visit, study, or work in Canada.