IEC work permits: Canada implements automated processing for faster approval times

Julia Hornstein
Published: November 16, 2023

On November 7, 2023, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) launched an automation tool to speed up the International Experience Canada (IEC) work permit process. This new system aims to reduce wait times and improve the immigration experience for young internationals in Canada.

Schedule a Free Work Permit Consultation with the Cohen Immigration Law Firm

The new tool will triage applications based on their complexity and approving eligibility for routine application. This will increase efficiency by making decisions faster for some applicants.

The triage function of the IEC work permit took takes on most of the clerical and repetitive tasks related to sorting applications and making final decisions. The tool triages the applications using parameters developed by experience IRCC officers, based on the legislative and regulatory criteria of the program. Files are then directed to officers for further processing based on officer expertise and office capabilities.

The tool’s eligibility function identifies routine or straightforward applications that are sent for streamlined processing. The file is then sent to an officer to determine whether the applicant is admissible to Canada and to make the final decision.

Only an IRCC officer can refuse an application. The automated tool does not refuse or recommend refusing applications. Instead, applications whose eligibility is not approved automatically may still be manually approved following review by an officer.

IRCC’s commitment to using technology

Automated tools are part of IRCC’s commitment to using technology to build a stronger immigration system. IRCC is also committed to responsibly developing and deploying data-driven technologies that meet privacy and human rights standards.

In building on Canada’s Treasury Board Directive on Automated Decision Making, an algorithmic impact assessment (AIA) has been completed to assess the tool used to process IEC work permit applications.

The AIA classified the impact level of the systems as moderate. In addition, numerous measures are in place to mitigate any possible risks. These measures include a review for potential discriminatory impacts, privacy and security elements built into the design of the tool, and the ability of officers to overturn the decision of the tool.

What is the International Experience Canada (IEC)?

The IEC is a program that gives international youths the opportunity to work in Canada. Youth from over 30 different countries can get an open work permit so they can work for any employer of their choice in Canada.

Work permit issued under IEC are exempt from the requirement for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

In order to be eligible for the IEC program, candidates must:

  • be a citizen (passport holder) of one of the above countries or be a resident of one of the territories that have a bilateral Youth Mobility Arrangement 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 at the time of application (the upper age limit depends on the applicant’s country of citizenship);
  • have the equivalent of $2,500 CAN upon 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,
  • not be accompanied by dependents; and
  • pay the appropriate fees.

Specific age and eligibility requirements may vary by country.

Schedule a Free Work Permit Consultation with the Cohen Immigration Law Firm

Share this article
Share your voice
Did you find this article helpful?
Thank you for your feedback.
Subscribe to our newsletter
Did you find this article helpful?
Please provide a response
Thank you for your helpful feedback
Please contact us if you would like to share additional feedback, have a question, or would like Canadian immigration assistance.
  • Do you need Canadian immigration assistance? Contact the Contact Cohen Immigration Law firm by completing our form
  • Send us your feedback or your non-legal assistance questions by emailing us at
Related articles
Receiving WES Credential Evaluation for Employment, Higher Education, or Licensing in Canada
Join CanadaVisa and WES for an opportunity learn how a credential evaluation can help you reach your educational or professional career goals in Canada.
The 20 most livable cities in Canada for newcomers
Victoria, British Columbia
Can I extend or renew my Post-Graduation Work Permit? 
Happy business man listening to a discussion in an office boardroom. Business professional sitting in a meeting with his colleagues.
Changes to Canada’s inadmissibility fees starting December 1st, 2023
Canadian flag over Quebec city
Top Stories
Getting to know IRCC’s decision-making committees
Housing Accelerator Fund: New housing in 10 Canadian cities
Why should I enter the Express Entry pool now despite a temporary pause in draws?
Join our free newsletter. Get Canada's top immigration stories delivered to your inbox.
More in Express Entry
Why should I enter the Express Entry pool now despite a temporary pause in draws?
Edmonton skyline
How does IRCC decide when to hold Express Entry draws?
There are many possible reasons IRCC has not been holding Express Entry draws.
IRCC holds Express Entry draw for healthcare occupations; third draw this week
Candidates have been invited in the latest Express Entry draw.
Express Entry targeted occupations: How many healthcare workers does Canada need?
healthcare workers
Link copied to clipboard