For its 2023 pool, International Experience Canada (IEC) is accepting applications. In January 2016, it was announced that the International Exchange Council would expand its program intake to a maximum of 90,000 applicants from partner countries, beginning in 2023. This will provide close to 90,000 people from partner countries an opportunity to work and travel in Canada.
A key component of the program is that it allows Canadians to provide international exposure and work experience to young people from 36 partner countries. Approved candidates will be able to work in Canada with a work permit and travel freely within the country as long as they are approved. The Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) hopes that the expansion of the program will allow the agency to better meet the labour needs of sectors that suffered during the pandemic, particularly tourism.
What is the IEC Program and How Does It Work?
IEC work permits are available to citizens of partner countries who have bilateral Youth Mobility Agreements with Canada and who are within the eligible age range (18-29, 18-30, or 18-35 (all inclusive) depending on their nationality) depending on the nationality of the applicant. You can apply for an IEC work permit under three different streams:
- A Working Holiday stream, which can grant an Open Work Permit (OWP) for up to two years, allows a working holiday visa holder to work for any employer in Canada and in most industries.
- As part of the Young Professionals stream, applicants with a job offer and plans to work with a single employer in Canada will be issued an employer-specific work permit.
- Applicants who are enrolled in a post-secondary program in their country of citizenship and wish to intern for a specific Canadian company have the opportunity to participate in the International Co-op Internship stream.
An expression of interest/invitation to apply is the program’s most common model, allowing interested candidates to submit their candidacy profiles to the IEC pool for consideration. If selected, these candidates (now applicants) will receive an invitation to apply for a Canadian work permit. In the event that the applicant’s application is approved, they will receive their work permit under their specific stream. They will be eligible to enter and work in Canada for the period of their authorized stay if their application is approved.
The following are the requirements for candidates who wish to apply under the IEC:
- You must be a citizen or a passport holder of one of the 36 countries with which Canada has signed a Youth Mobility Agreement;
- Stay in Canada with a valid passport;
- Applicants must be between the ages of 18-29, 18-30, or 18-35 (all-inclusive, depending on nationality) at the time of application;
- Upon landing in Canada, have $2,500 CAD;
- Obtain health insurance during their stay;
- Be admissible to Canada;
- Obtain a round-trip ticket (prior to departure) or have the resources to purchase a departure ticket after their authorized stay in Canada;
- Must not accompany dependents
With more than 800,000 economic immigrants expected to arrive in Canada within the next three years, the expansion of the IEC program capacity comes at a time when Canada hopes to welcome more newcomers. By completing the IEC, youth can gain the necessary experience in Canada that will lead to future immigration.