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Work and Travel in Canada with International Experience Canada

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The hazards that accompany long-term visits to other countries are many. Chief among these are the familiar insecurities surrounding depleting bank accounts. If only it were possible to counter this problem with the simplest solution to financial hardship—a job. Thanks to International Experience Canada (IEC), such a possibility now exists for those seeking to live temporarily in Canada.

An initiative of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, IEC negotiates reciprocal agreements with countries around the world to offer travel authorisation and work permits for up to 18 months. Through these work permits, Canadian citizens wishing to work overseas and foreign nationals wishing to work in Canada can undertake working holidays or obtain placement under international work experience programmes and internship programmes.

IEC participants can undertake one of three programs. These are:

Working Holiday: Participants in this program can receive a temporary work permit, valid for, on average, one year. Nationals of some countries may be allowed to stay in Canada for more or less than one year.

Young Professionals: Under this program, foreign nationals from participating countries can gain valuable international experience by working for a Canadian company.

International Co-op: This program allows foreign nationals from participating countries to spend their co-op term as interns for Canadian companies.

Participants in IEC programs need to be 18-35 years of age. However, in some cases, the maximum age is lower than this.

IEC also recognises work-travel programmes to Canada organised through Association Internationale des Étudiants en Sciences Économiques et Commerciales (AIESEC), Chantiers Jeunesse, the Canadian Host Family Association (CHFA), the International Rural Exchange (IRE), and the International Volunteer Exchange Programme of the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC-IVEP). These permits are employer-specific and indicate the name and location of the employer and duration of employment. IEC also recognises open permits organised through Student Work Abroad Program (SWAP) working holidays and Go International.

“International Experience Canada has long been an opportunity for young people around the world to experience a taste of Canada,” says Attorney David Cohen. “More and more, the program is also being recognized as a stepping stone for some hard workers to find a permanent job and pursue Canadian Permanent Residency. As word spreads of this great opportunity, my law firm has received an increased interest in the IEC program.”

To see if your country is eligible to participate in IEC programs, refer to the accompanying table.

*Open to ages 18-30, ** Open to ages 18-29, §Citizens can participate in special IEC student summer job initiatives exclusive to their country

Fore more information on the IEC, please contact Campbell Cohen today.

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