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International Experience Canada (IEC) Program Undergoes Major Overhaul

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Youth exchange program moves to Expression of Interest/Invitation to Apply system

Some pools already open, others scheduled to open within days

The 2015/16 application cycle for the International Experience Canada Program (IEC) has begun, with this IEC season seeing some significant changes from recent years.

Through the IEC program, young citizens from 32 countries that have a bilateral youth mobility arrangement with Canada have the opportunity to live and work in Canada across three categories: Working Holiday, Young Professionals, and International Co-op. 

What’s new?

Towards the end of November, 2015, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) announced updates to the IEC program. The main difference, compared with recent years, is that it will no longer operate on a first-come, first-served basis. Rather, eligible candidates will be able to create an IEC profile and enter a pool of candidates. An application for a work permit can only be made if a candidate receives an Invitation to Apply (ITA).

The type of pool(s) that a candidate find himself or herself in is determined by nation and by category. For example, Working Holiday candidates from Australia are in one pool, while Young Professionals candidates from France are in an entirely different pool. Moreover, countries that have more than one category (such as Australia and France) have separate pools for those categories. Accordingly, a citizen of Australia or France (for example) who is eligible for more than one category may be entered into more than one pool. Countries that have only one category, such as Korea, consequently have only one pool.

Some countries’ pools have already opened, with eligible candidates from those countries able to submit profiles, while other countries’ pools are scheduled to open imminently. A full list of participating countries, as well as their categories and the opening dates for their pool(s), can be found at the end of this article.

Working Holiday

The Working Holiday category has traditionally been the most popular portion of the IEC program, as it offers the advantage of an open work permit. An open work permit allows its bearer to work anywhere in Canada and for almost any Canadian employer.

CIC will select Working Holiday candidates from the pool at random and invite them to apply. Completing an online IEC profile and entering the Working Holiday pool does not guarantee that an ITA will be issued. Working holiday candidates may be in a pool for several months, and some candidates may not receive an ITA before the end of the season.

To be eligible for the Working Holiday category, candidates must:

  • be a citizen (passport holder) of one of the 32 countries that have a bilateral youth mobility agreement with Canada;
  • have a valid passport for the duration of their stay in Canada (the work permit issued will not be longer than the validity of the passport),
  • be between the ages of 18 and 30 or 35 (inclusive) at the time of application (the upper age limit depends on the applicant’s country of citizenship);
  • have the equivalent of C$2,500 on landing to help cover initial expenses;
  • be able to take out health insurance for the duration of their stay (participants may have to present evidence of this insurance at the point of entry in Canada);
  • be admissible to Canada;
  • have, prior to departure, a round-trip ticket or the financial resources to purchase a departure ticket for the end of their authorized stay in Canada; and
  • not be accompanied by dependents.

Citizens of certain countries are also required to be resident in their country of citizenship at the time they apply to the IEC Working Holiday category.

Young Professionals

The Young Professionals category is designed for foreign youth, particularly post-secondary graduates, who wish to further their careers by gaining professional work experience in Canada. Participants must have a signed job offer letter or contract of employment with a Canadian employer before applying.

The employment offer must be within the applicant’s field of expertise, as proved by area of training or work experience, and contribute to  his or her professional development. The job offered in Canada must be classified as a National Occupation Code (NOC) Skill Type Level 0, A, or B. The requirements for the Working Holiday category, listed above, also apply to the Young Professionals category.

International Co-op (Internship)

The International Co-op (Internship) category is designed for foreign youth who are enrolled at a post-secondary institution in their country of citizenship. Applicants must want to complete a work placement or internship in Canada to fulfill part of their academic curriculum and be registered students in their home country for the duration of the internship.

Applicants must have a signed job offer letter or contract for a work placement or internship in Canada that meets the requirements of their academic curriculum in their country of citizenship. The requirements for the Working Holiday category, listed above, also apply to the International Co-op category. 

Candidates from the International Co-op (Internship) and Young Professionals pools may be invited to apply through regular draws. Candidates who complete an online IEC profile and enter the International Co-op and/or Young Professionals pool(s) will get an ITA, as long as there are spots available.

IEC steps

For candidates, the 2015/16 IEC season will operate as follows:

  • Complete the Come to Canada questionnaire and, if eligible, get your personal reference code.
  • Use this code to create your MyCIC account.
  • Complete the remaining steps in the IEC profile builder.
  • Submit your profile and choose the IEC pools you want to be in (some candidates may only be eligible for one pool).
  • If you receive an ITA via MyCIC, you will have 10 days start your application or to decline the invitation. application process.
  • If you choose to accept the ITA, you have 20 days from that day, regardless of whether you accept on day 1 or 10, to complete, pay and submit the work permit application.
  • (Young Professional and International Co-op categories: before your 20 days expire, your employer needs to pay the $230 Employer Compliance Fee through the Employer Portal. Ask your employer to send you the offer of employment number they will get after they have paid their fees. You need this number to apply for your work permit.)
  • Upload all supporting documents, including police and medical exam certificates, if applicable (if you don’t have the supporting documents, you can upload proof that you have applied to undertake a medical exam and that a police certificate request has been sent). 
  • Pay your participation fee of C$150.
  • (Working Holiday Category: pay your open work permit holder fee of C$100 at this time as well.)
  • At this point, CIC begins its temporary work permit application assessment. CIC may ask you to provide additional documents. This is the last chance to withdraw from IEC and obtain refunds.
  • If the application is successful, a letter of introduction (LOI) will be sent to your MyCIC account. The official name of the document is ‘Port of Entry (POE) Introduction Letter’. This letter is to be presented upon arrival at a Port of Entry (such as an international airport) in Canada, whereupon a work permit may be obtained.
  • Welcome to Canada!

Staying in Canada after an IEC visa expires

The opportunities provided by the IEC program lead many participants into wishing to extend their stay in Canada, or even make Canada their permanent home. To this end, participants may have a number of options.

The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) is an immigration program that provides an opportunity for individuals with Canadian work experience to immigrate permanently. IEC participants may also be eligible for the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) class or Federal Skilled Trades (FST) class.

All three of these immigration programs are processed through the Express Entry Canadian immigration selection system. IEC participants who are eligible to enter the Express Entry pool under one of these programs may find that they have certain advantages within the competitive Express Entry system. This may result their young age and level of education, as well as the possibility of having gained skilled work experience while in Canada.

IEC participants also have the opportunity to build relationships with Canadian employers and provincial communities. This can help when looking for a qualifying job offer or seeking an enhanced nomination from a Canadian province. If the candidate can obtain either of these, he or she will be awarded 600 Comprehensive Ranking System points and will receive an Invitation to Apply for permanent residence.

IEC participants with experience of living and working in the province of Quebec may be eligible to apply under either the Quebec Experience Program or the Quebec Skilled Worker Program, both of which lead to Canadian permanent residence. Neither of these programs are processed through the Express Entry system.

Individuals who have lived and worked in Canada through the IEC program, intend to do so in the future, or are doing so now may fill out a free assessment form that evaluates eligibility for permanent residence across more than 60 Canadian immigration programs.

IEC: An Overview For 2015/16

(If your country of citizenship is not on the list, you can connect with a recognized organization to learn about other travel and work opportunities in Canada.)

Country
Working Holiday
Young Professionals
International Co-op
Age Limit
2015/16 Opening Date (DD/MM/YY)
Australia
24 months
24 months
12 months
18-30
30/11/15
Austria
N/A
12 months
6 months
18-30
04/12/15
Belgium
12 months
N/A
N/A
18-30
30/11/15
Chile
12 months
12 months
12 months
18-35
02/12/15
Costa Rica
12 months
12 months
12 months
18-35
02/12/15
Croatia
12 months
12 months
12 months
18-35
30/11/15
Czech Rep.
12 months
12 months
12 months
18-35
04/12/15
Denmark
12 months
N/A
N/A
18-35
30/11/15
Estonia
12 months
12 months
12 months
18-35
30/11/15
France
24 months
24 months
12 months
18-35
01/12/15
Germany
12 months
12 months
12 months
18-35
05/12/15
Greece
12 months
12 months
12 months
18-35
04/12/15
Hong Kong
12 months
N/A
N/A
18-30
06/12/15
Ireland
24 months
24 months
12 months
18-35
03/12/15
Italy
6 months
N/A
N/A
18-35
04/12/15
Japan
12 months
N/A
N/A
18-30
07/12/15
Korea
12 months
N/A
N/A
18-30
07/12/15
Latvia
12 months
12 months
12 months
18-35
30/11/15
Lithuania
12 months
12 months
12 months
18-35
30/11/15
Mexico
12 months
12 months
12 months
18-29
“When bilateral negotiations have concluded”
Netherlands
12 months
12 months
N/A
18-30
30/11/15
New Zealand
23 months
N/A
N/A
18-35
30/11/15
Norway
12 months
12 months
12 months
18-35
30/11/15
Poland
12 months
12 months
12 months
18-35
30/11/15
Slovakia
12 months
12 months
12 months
18-35
30/11/15
Slovenia
12 months
12 months
12 months
18-35
30/11/15
Spain
12 months
12 months
12 months
18-35
04/12/15
Sweden
12 months
12 months
12 months
18-30
30/11/15
Switzerland
N/A
18 months
12 months
18-35
30/11/15
Taiwan
12 months
12 months
12 months
18-35
06/12/15
Ukraine
12 months
12 months
12 months
18-35
“When bilateral negotiations have concluded”
U.K.
24 months
N/A
N/A
18-30
30/11/15

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Comments

10 thoughts on “International Experience Canada (IEC) Program Undergoes Major Overhaul

  1. Jack Cole

    I have received an ITA and it has expired,. I cannot now create a new application as there is an existing application in the pool. How do I cancel this application so I can submit a new one. In the mycic account there is not an option under my applications to delete once it has expired.

  2. Arthur

    Hello,
    I am very interested in IEC – Young professionals program for foreign youth, and I have a few questions.
    Whats the main difference between Working Holidays and Young professional stream in terms of
    employment conditions? if my intention is to work full-time (not travel) for a period of 12 month and gain relative to my education working experience in Canada can I still use the Working holidays stream?
    If i’m a foreign worker who’s currently in Canada and I would like to apply for Work Permit and visa through this program, is it possible to do so without leaving the country?
    Thanks you,

  3. ZITA A

    Sir,
    It surprises me a lot when I see countries all over the world listed for their citizens to come to Canada, and there’s no African country on the list. I would like to know what the problem is when it comes to bringing in Africans who are very hard working into Canada. Africans should also be given the opportunity and chance to come to Canada where they can portray their portentials.
    Africans have young graduates who are out there and willing to learn and develop their own continent but, are not given the chance. Why is it that the Canadian government keeps on promoting the other countries in the wourld that are already developed? The young Africans are appling everyday to come to Canada but their applications are denied everytime they tender it in.
    I would like a special opennings to be given to AFRICANS who speak both English and French or at list one Canadian official language to be given the opprotunity to come to Canada.

    Thanks
    ZITA

  4. Marta Fliunt

    Good morning! I am 27 years old,I am a doctor. I would like to ask can I apply application for visa and where i can do this?

  5. Mahmoud faour

    Why we cant come from lebanon???

  6. Muhammad asif khan

    Sir A Gareen Card holder of Germany is apply for canada.

  7. Muhammad asif khan

    Sir I am form Pakistan and now I am study in Cyprus can I well apply for canada.

  8. Noman Riaz

    I want to go to Canada because it is the country i adore the most and i see good career opportunities there

  9. Parviz

    I from Tajikistan, but graduated croation university my bachelor and master degree! Can i apply for a young professionals?

  10. Sujan acharya

    Looking for the visa

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