Canada signs new youth mobility agreement with Italy
Canada and Italy have expanded their already existing youth mobility agreement, which will allow more people to go on longer working holidays between the two countries.
Canada's immigration minister, Marco Mendicino, and Italy's minister of foreign affairs, Luigi Di Maio, signed the new bilateral agreement on December 11.
Italians and Canadians between ages 18 and 35 will now be able to work and travel in each other's countries for up to 12 months. They can also apply to extend their work permits for another year, and be able to live in each other's country for a total of up to 24 months.
The International Experience Canada (IEC) Program allows young people to gain international work experience. Although the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in travel restrictions around the world, this agreement with Italy will open up new opportunities for future work and travel once restrictions are lifted. For now, only youth with current and valid job offers can travel to Canada under the IEC Program.
Canada and Italy have been youth mobility partners since 2006. This new agreement will be implemented following ratification in Canada and in Italy.
“I’m very pleased that we were able to reach this agreement with Italy, which will provide both Canadian and Italian youth with even more opportunities to live, travel and work abroad once it is safe to do so," Mendicino said in a media release. "We live in an increasingly interconnected world where innovation often comes from those who have travelled widely, who have an appreciation for other cultures, and whose eyes have been opened to new ideas, insights and ways of doing things."
More than 1.5 million people in Canada are of Italian descent, one of the largest Italian communities in the world outside of Italy.
Since 2008, more than 200,000 Canadians have participated in the IEC program.
International Experience Canada
Canada has youth mobility agreements with 36 other countries. Through reciprocal, bilateral agreements, young adults can travel and work in these countries. Canadians can work in these countries, and vice versa for citizens of other participating countries.
There are three categories under the IEC:
- Working Holiday visas, where people get open work permits that allow them to work for any employer in the host country;
- International Co-op participants, who receive employer-specific work permits that allow students to gain experience in their field of study; and
- Young Professionals, who also get an employer-specific work permit to get targeted, professional work experience that is within their career path.
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