Canada offers the International Experience Canada (IEC) as a set of programs that allow young foreign nationals to travel to Canada for work temporarily. This program is based on bilateral agreements Canada has with 36 different countries. This means that young Canadian citizens can also find similar opportunities in the participating countries.
Foreign nationals who are successful in applying for one of the programs available under the IEC will become eligible to apply for a Canadian work permit without requiring a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). [A positive LMIA states that there was no other worker available locally to fill the position offered to the foreign national. Therefore, the IEC saves both the employer and the applicants the hassle by not requiring a positive LMIA].
The 34 Participating Countries Include:
Australia, Austria, Belgium, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.
What Are the Three Different Programs Available Under the International Experience Canada (IEC)?
Work permits under this program are approved by a randomized draw system. Therefore, your chances of being selected depend on your country and the quota for each program. While there are general eligibility requirements for all three programs, all three have separate criteria. The following programs are available:
1. The Working Holiday Program:
The Working Holiday program allows you to apply for an open work permit. This open work permit makes you eligible to work for any employer, anywhere in Canada. Therefore, it is a great choice for applicants who do not have a prearranged offer of employment, want to work for different employers and change locations while working, living and traveling across Canada.
2. The Young Professionals Program:
The Young Professionals program is an employer-driven visa program. Therefore, it allows applicants to gain Canadian work experience by working for one Canadian employer. Applicants under this program are issued an employer-specific or closed work permit.
This work permit only allows them to work for a specific employer in a specific location during their stay in Canada. It is a good visa option for applicants who want to be employed in a position that contributes to their professional development, those who want to work for the same employer during their stay in Canada and those who want to be paid and not self-employed.
3. The International Co-op Internship Program:
The International Co-op Internship program is for international students who have to complete an internship or work placement to finish their post-secondary studies.
This program requires the applicant to have a prearranged offer of employment to receive an employer-specific work permit that will allow them to work with the same employer in one specific location during their stay in Canada. It is a good visa choice for applicants who are international students with an employment offer or internship in Canada.
You must note that not all countries will offer all 3 programs like Canada. Also, the eligibility criteria, application procedure and likelihood of being successful will depend on the particular country.