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.
What Are the Eligibility Requirements for the Working Holiday Program?
The Working Holiday program requires you to meet the following eligibility criteria:
- Be a citizen of one of the participating countries that have a bilateral youth mobility agreement with Canada
- Have a valid passport throughout your stay
- Be between the ages of 18-30 or 35, depending on the country of residence
- Demonstrate funds of at least $2,500 to support your initial stay in Canada
- Be able to obtain health insurance for the full duration of your stay on a work permit in Canada
- Not be medically or criminally inadmissible to Canada
- Have a pre-booked departure ticket, a round-trip ticket or demonstrate financial resources to purchase your departure ticket at the end of your authorized stay in Canada
- Not allowed to add accompanying persons on your application
- Pay the appropriate fees for a work permit
What Are the Eligibility Requirements for the Young Professional Program?
The Young Professional program will require you to meet the following eligibility requirements to qualify:
- Have a prearranged offer of employment for an occupation classified as National Occupational Classification (NOC) code Skill level 0, A or B (includes skilled jobs that require a college degree and professional training). A NOC Skill level C occupation (includes occupations that require on-the-job training and a high school diploma) will be accepted if the applicant has a post-secondary diploma, degree or certificate in the field of their current occupation
- Demonstrate that the employer-employee relationship exists
- The employment offer must be related to your past work or study experience
- Have a valid passport throughout your stay in Canada
- Be between the ages of 18 and 30 or 35
- Have at least $2,500 to cover your initial expenses in Canada
- Have health insurance for the duration of your IEC work permit
- Clear all admissibility requirements to enter Canada (do not be inadmissible to Canada)
- Have a pre-booked departure ticket, a round trip ticket or demonstrate financial resources to purchase a departure ticket at the end of your stay in Canada
- Not to be accompanied by any dependents
- Pay the required fee
- Citizens of certain countries may be required to be an active resident in their country at the time of application
What Are the Eligibility Requirements for the International Co-Op Internship Program?
To be eligible for the International Co-op Internship program, you will be required to:
- Be a full-time student at a post-secondary institution
- Have a prearranged offer of employment for a work placement or internship in Canada
- The occupation offered must be related to your study program and be classified as NOC Skill level 0, A or B (including skilled jobs such as doctors, senior managers, etc). NOC Skill level C (including semi-skilled jobs such as industrial butchers. long-haul truck drivers, etc) occupations may be considered under certain conditions
- Demonstrate that the completion of a work placement or internship is part of completing your study program
- Be a citizen of one of the countries participating in the IEC program and offering this visa option
- Be between the ages of 18-30 or 35
- Have at least $2,500 to cover your initial expenses in Canada
- Acquired health insurance to cover the full length of your stay in Canada
- Not be criminally or medically inadmissible to Canada
- Have a pre-booked return ticket, a round trip ticket or demonstrate financial resources to buy a departure ticket at the end of your authorized stay
- Pay the appropriate fee
- Not be accompanied by any dependents
- You may be required to be active residents of your country of citizenship at the time of your application