Canada expands work permit agreement with the United Kingdom

Kareem El-Assal
Published: July 14, 2023

Today, Canada and the United Kingdom announced the signing of a new Canada-United Kingdom (UK) Youth Mobility Arrangement.

Anticipated to take effect in 2024, the new arrangement includes a number of improvements on the existing youth mobility agreement between the two countries:

  • an expansion of the eligibility age to 18-35
  • the addition of two new streams for UK nationals moving to Canada
  • an increase in the visa period to 3 years

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The current agreement is available to those between the ages of 18-30 and the visa period is 2 years.

Initially launched in 2008, the youth mobility agreement aims to promote reciprocal work opportunities in each country.

Youth mobility agreements operate under the Canadian government's International Experience Canada (IEC) program. IEC offers three categories:

  • Working Holiday participants are able to receive open work permits that allow them to work for any employer in Canada
  • International Co-op (internship) participants are able to receive an employer-specific work permit that allows students to gain experience relevant to their studies
  • Young Professional participants are able to receive an employer-specific work permit to gain targeted work experience relevant to their study or career path

Canada has youth mobility agreements with 37 countries.

In 2023, Canada is offering IEC to almost 90,000 youth around the world. The Canadian government is hoping to alleviate the country's labour shortages via IEC.

In addition, over 240,000 Canadians have participated in IEC since 2008.

UK youth are well-positioned to transition to Canadian permanent residence after moving to Canada.

Canada is currently seeking to welcome 500,000 new permanent residents annually in 2025. Last year, Canada welcomed over 437,000 new immigrants, an all-time high. The rationale for Canada's high levels of immigration is to support its economic and fiscal health amid its over 9 million baby boomers entering retirement age over the next decade.

The majority of Canada's immigrants are welcomed under the economic class.

Immigration in Canada falls under shared federal-provincial jurisdiction. Both levels of government incentivize those with Canadian work experience to transition to permanent residence. This is largely due to Canadian government research showing that domestic work experience supports strong labour market outcomes upon transitioning to permanent residence.

Federal and provincial economic class programs assess candidates based on their human capital criteria such as their age, education, language proficiency, work experience, as well as other criteria such as having Canadian work and/or study experience, and having close family in the country.

Hence, youth from the UK who move to Canada through IEC are well-positioned to transition to permanent residence due to factors such as their young age, fluency in English, and Canadian work experience.

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