- What is International Experience Canada?
- What are the Different Categories in IEC?
- Who Can Apply to IEC?
- How Do the IEC Pools Work?
- What Happens When I Receive an Invitation to Apply?
- What Happens If I Don’t Receive an Invitation to Apply?
- How to Apply for a Work Permit
- What Supporting Documents Do I Need to Provide?
- What are the Fees and Processing Times for IEC?
- What Happens After I Apply?
- How Can Total Law Help?
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is International Experience Canada?
International Experience Canada (IEC) is a scheme that allows young people to live and work in Canada for up to 2 years.
There are three categories in the IEC program:
- Working Holiday
- Young Professionals
- International Co-op (Internship)
Each category has its own type of work permit and eligibility requirements attached to them. In addition, the eligibility requirements for applying to the IEC program will vary depending on what country you’re from.
Note that applicants from some participating countries may only be eligible to apply for one or two of the above categories.
The IEC program is mostly open to 18-30-year-olds, but certain countries may extend this range to 30-35-year-olds also.
The Young professionals category would be suitable for you if:
- You have a job offer in Canada that contributes to your professional development
- You’ll work for the same Canadian employer in the same location during your stay in Canada
Under this category, work must be paid and you must not be self-employed.
You will receive an employer-specific work permit if you apply under this category. Your employer must meet all labour laws in the province or territory where you plan to work, including minimum wage requirements.
In addition, the job you are offered in Canada must be classified as a National Occupational Classification (NOC) skill type or level 0, A or B to be considered as contributing to your professional development.
An NOC C job may qualify if it’s in your field of study. However, you must provide evidence in the form of your post-secondary education certificates to demonstrate this.
The Working Holiday category would be suitable for you if you:
- Don’t have a job offer
- Want to work for more than one employer in Canada
- Want to work in more than one location
- Want to earn some money so that you can travel
You will receive an open work permit if you apply under this category. This means that you will be able to work for almost any Canadian employer.
Some jobs, such as those in healthcare or primary or secondary education may require a medical exam.
International Co-op (Internship)
This category would be suitable for you if:
- You’re a student registered at a post-secondary institution
- You have a job offer for a work placement or internship with a Canadian employer
- You need to do this work placement or internship to complete your studies
- You’ll work for the same employer in the same location during your stay in Canada
You will receive an employer-specific work permit if you apply under this category. The internship you’re offered in Canada must be directly linked to your field of studies.
Wages and labour standards must follow the labour laws in the province or territory you will be working in. The labour code of the province or territory will determine if an internship needs to be paid or not.
Who Can Apply to International Experience Canada?
In order to participate in the IEC program, your country or territory of citizenship must have bilateral Youth Mobility Agreements with Canada. You can check this using the IEC eligibility page on the IRCC website.
If your country or territory of citizenship does not have an agreement with Canada, you may be able to use a recognized organization to help you travel to, and work in, Canada.
It’s important to be aware of your country or territory’s individual eligibility requirements for the IEC program. For example, some countries only allow you to participate once. Others may allow you to participate twice but in different categories.
You will not be allowed to participate in the scheme more times than your country allows.
If you require assistance with your International Experience Canada application or need help understanding the eligibility requirements, reach out to one of our legal advisers on +1 844 290 6312, or contact us online.
How Do the IEC Pools Work?
To be able to apply for a work permit for International Experience Canada, you must first submit your profile to the IEC pools and wait to receive an Invitation to Apply.
Normally, your profile will stay in the pools until one of the following occurs:
- You receive an Invitation to Apply
- IRCC remove all of the profiles from the pool(s) at the end of the season
- You’re no longer eligible for IEC
Candidates are selected from the pools during the IEC season, which only occurs at certain times of the year. You can see the schedule pages on the IRCC website to check:
- When the rounds of invitations for each country and category will start and end
- The number of candidates in the pools
- Your chances of getting an invitation for that season
You can enter the pools at any point during the IEC season. As long as you submit your profile before the date of the last round of invitations for your country, you have a chance of receiving an Invitation to Apply for a work permit.
What Happens When I Receive an Invitation to Apply?
When you receive an Invitation to Apply, you will have 10 days to decide if you want to accept or decline the invitation.
If you accept the Invitation to Apply, you will have 20 days from that point to submit your application for a work permit.
If you decline the Invitation to Apply, you will remain in the IEC pools to be considered in future rounds of invitations. Declining an invitation will not negatively affect your chances of being offered invitations in the future.
If you don’t respond by the deadline shown in the invitation, the invitation will expire. If it expires, you’ll have to submit a new IEC profile and be accepted to the pool again.
Note that if you’re in more than one pool and you receive an Invitation to Apply for one category, you cannot be selected from another pool until either:
- You decline the Invitation to Apply
- You’ve submitted your work permit application your application has been refused
If you decline the invitation or your application has been refused, your profile will become active again and you may receive another Invitation to Apply.
What Happens If I Don’t Receive an Invitation to Apply?
You can stay in an IEC pool until either:
- IRCC remove all profiles from the pools at the end of the season
- you’re no longer eligible for IEC
Some categories will run out of spots before the season closes. If that happens, IRCC will stop accepting profiles for that pool.
However, if your profile is in a pool for another category, you may still get an Invitation to Apply for that category. If you want to submit a profile to a different pool, you will have to withdraw your current profile and submit a new one.
The pools will close for at least two weeks at the end of each season. If you want to submit your profile for IEC again, you will need to complete and submit a new profile with a new IEC profile number when the next season opens.
If you’ve not received an Invitation to Apply while in the IEC pools and you’re not sure why, or you’d like more advice on how to proceed, don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our expert legal advisers for more information. Contact us on +1 844 290 6312, or talk to us online.
How to Apply for a Canada IEC Work Permit
After you accept your Invitation to Apply, you will have 20 days to complete and submit your application for a work permit.
The application will be an online form that you will have to fill out as fully and accurately as possible.
You will have to ensure that you:
- Answer all questions truthfully and completely
- If you’re found to have supplied false information or left out important details, your application will be refused and you may also be ineligible for entry to Canada in the future
- Fill out all the mandatory fields in the form
- Don’t leave any gaps in time in the work history and education history sections
- Include all absences, periods of unemployment, travel dates, etc
- Include all paid and unpaid work in the work history section
- Click “validate” at the end of each form so there are no errors or blank fields in your application
When you have completed the application, the system will generate a personalized document checklist for you. It will show all the supporting documents you need to upload with your application.
What Supporting Documents Do I Need to Provide?
The specific documents you will need to provide with your application will depend on your nationality, your current location, which category of IEC you’re applying for, as well as other factors.
However, below is an example list of documents that you may need to provide with your application:
- Proof of financial support
- This will usually be in the form of a bank statement showing that you have at least CAN$2,500 or equivalent to cover initial expenses in Canada
- Medical exam certificate, if you need one
- Police certificate, if you need one
- Proof of health insurance
- Your passport must be valid when you apply to IEC and when you enter and leave Canada
- Digital photo of yourself
- Family Information (IMM 5707) form
- Proof of school registration (only for the International Co-op category)
- Proof that your job is linked to your field of studies (only for the International Co-op category)
- Proof of education for National Occupational Classification (NOC) skill level C jobs (only for the Young Professionals category)
Note that this is not an exhaustive list and you may be asked to provide documents that are not included here.
What are the Fees and Processing Times for IEC?
After you complete your work permit application and upload your supporting documents, you will have to pay the appropriate fees.
The fees you pay will vary based on the IEC category you’re applying to.
All applicants will have to pay the IEC participation fee. This fee will vary year to year, but as an example, the participation fee in 2022 was CAN$156.
If you’ve applied to the Working Holiday category, you will need to pay an additional open work permit holder fee of CAN$100.
If you’ve applied to the Young Professionals or International Co-op (Internship) categories, you won’t have to pay any extra fees. However, your employer must pay a CAN$230 employer compliance fee and submit your offer of employment to IRCC.
All applicants may have to pay an additional fee of CAN$85 if they have to give biometrics.
IEC applications generally take between a few weeks and a few months to process, though this will vary from season to season.
You can check the IRCC website for up-to-date processing time estimates for the current IEC season.
What Happens After I Apply?
After You Apply
After you submit your application, you will likely receive a letter asking you to give your biometrics information. You will have up to 30 days to give your biometrics, which must be done in person. You may have to travel to another city or country in order to give your biometrics.
You may also be asked to attend an interview with an officer or submit additional documents for an application already in progress. If so, then you will have 30 days from the date of contact to do so.
If Your Application is Approved
You will receive a port of entry letter of introduction. You will need to show this and your supporting documents to a border services officer when you arrive in Canada before the letter expires.
The border services officer will review your documents and make the final decision on whether you can enter Canada and be issued with your work permit.
If Your Application is Refused
If your application is refused, you will receive a letter of explanation outlining the reasons why.
Unless stated otherwise, you will be able to create a new profile and enter the IEC pools again to be selected for another invitation to apply.
How Can Total Law Help?
International Experience Canada is a good way for young people from around the world to travel to Canada and experience what it’s like living and working there.
However, the application process can be lengthy and vigorous, with many steps that need to be filled out carefully and properly.
Total Law can help. We are expert Canadian immigration lawyers with years’ worth of experience providing expert advice and guidance to people coming to Canada.
Whether you’re considering submitting an application for IEC, in the process of waiting for an invitation to apply, or assembling your application for a work permit, we can help ensure that your application gets approved without any issues and that you have everything you need during the process.
Comprehensive immigration advice tailored to your circumstances and goals.
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During this untimed Advice Session with our professional immigration lawyers in London, you will receive our comprehensive advice, completely tailored to your needs and your situation.
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With our Application Package, your dedicated immigration lawyer will advise you on your application process and eligibility. Your caseworker will then complete and submit your forms to the Home Office on your behalf.
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You will need to get a medical exam as part of your application if either:
- You’ve recently lived or travelled in certain listed countries or territories for 6 months or more
- You plan to work in:
- The health field
- Primary or secondary education
- Child care
- Elderly care
The medical exam must be carried out by a doctor who has been approved by IRCC.
If you can’t complete a medical exam before the deadline to submit your application, you may submit proof that you’ve made an appointment to get one.
Your medical exam results will be valid for 12 months.
You must have health insurance for the entire duration of your stay in Canada.
Your insurance must cover:
- Medical care
- Repatriation, including the costs of:
- Getting you to a medical facility
- Returning you to your home country
- Returning your remains to your home country
If you don’t have sufficient health insurance coverage, you may be denied entry into Canada.
You can only get an IEC work permit if all of the following apply:
- You’re a foreign youth who’s eligible for IEC
- You have a profile in an IEC pool
- You’ve received an invitation to apply for a work permit
IEC is part of the International Mobility Program, which means employers who hire IEC participants do not need to complete a Labour Market Impact Assessment.
If you’re not eligible for IEC, you may want to consider applying for an alternative work visa.
Yes, but only if you haven’t yet been issued with a port of entry letter of introduction.