What are my chances of receiving a work permit through the IEC this year?

Asheesh Moosapeta
Published: June 16, 2024

Newcomers to Canada often seek to obtain work permits. When eligible, newcomers may want to consider the International Experience Canada (IEC) program as a route to obtain a work permit.

Unlike most other programs, the IEC pool gives candidates greater clarity on their likelihood of obtaining a work permit.

What is the IEC and what kind of work permit(s) does it offer?

The IEC is a temporary residence program for youth 18-30/35 from countries that have Bilateral Youth Mobility Agreements with Canada. These are agreements that allow youth from different countries to work and gain experience in Canada—while allowing Canadian youths to do the same in other countries. IEC applicants can have their work permits approved in as little as six weeks.

Check if your country has a bilateral youth mobility agreement with Canada here. The eligible age range may also change depending on which country you are from, and its agreement with Canada.

The IEC opens for an application season—usually in January, lasting throughout the year or until all work permits are issued. The program allows successful applicants to live and work in Canada for up to two years through three streams that issue work permits:

  • The Working Holiday stream;
  • The Young Professionals stream; and
  • The International Co-op (Internship) stream.

If you are a citizen of a partner country, you may be able to apply to more than one of these streams.

The Working Holiday stream

The Working Holiday stream is for those who:

  • Don't have a job offer;
  • Want to work for more than one employer;
  • Want to work in more than one location; and
  • Would like to earn some money so that they can travel.

The Working Holiday stream offers Open Work Permits (OWPs) to newcomer youths. OWPs are a kind of work permit that allows holders to work for most employers, in most industries, almost anywhere in Canada.

Some jobs may require a medical exam.

The Young Professionals stream

The Young Professionals stream is for those who:

  • Have a job offer in Canada that counts towards their professional development;
  • Will work for the same employer in the same location during their stay in Canada.
  • Note that under this category the kind of work that a newcomer does must be paid and they cannot be self-employed.

This stream offers closed work permits. These work permits are tied to a specific employer and indicate the employer's name, the work duration, and the location (if applicable) where the holder can work.

The International Co-op (Internship) stream

The International Co-op stream is for those who:

  • Are students registered at a post-secondary institution;
  • Have a job offer or work placement in Canada;
  • Need to do this work placement/internship to complete their studies; and
  • Will work for the same employer in the same location during their stay.

This stream also offers closed work permits. Wages and labour standards must follow labour laws in the province or territory where the internship is taking place. Local laws will also determine whether an internship needs to be paid or not.

Does the IEC provide certainty for those who apply?

Unlike virtually every other Canadian immigration program, the IEC does provide candidates with a strong degree of transparency as to the likelihood of receiving a work permit through the program.

This is because (if all eligibility criteria are met, and fees paid) receiving a work permit or not is largely a function of the number of candidates in the IEC pool who have:

  • Accepted their invitations;
  • Declined their invitations;
  • Not yet responded to their invitations;
  • Let the invitations expire; and
  • Withdrawn their profiles.

Note: Newcomers seeking a work permit through the IEC must first submit a profile within the candidate pool. Once a profile is chosen, candidates will be given an invitation to apply (ITA) for a work permit, after which they may submit a full application under their chosen stream.

How can I check on my chances of receiving an IEC work permit this year?

If a candidate wants to check their chances of receiving an IEC work permit, they can use IRCC’s dedicated tool for IEC invitation rounds.

Candidates will need to input their nationality, and desired work permit. Based on the factors listed above, the IEC tool will then deliver a likelihood rating ranging from Excellent (80-99%), Very good (60-79%), Fair (40-59 %), Low (20-39%), or Very low (1-19%).

In addition, the tool can also show candidates:

  • The number of spots allocated to youth from a partner country;
  • The number of invitations already issued to youth from that country in the current IEC season; and
  • The current number of youths from that country who are already in the IEC pool as candidates.

To access IRCC’s IEC tool click here.

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