Participants in the International Experience Canada (IEC) program who have a letter of introduction (LOI) that is about to expire are now able to apply for an extension.
Earlier this year, Canada introduced travel restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19. Applicants of the Working Holiday, Young Professional or International Co-op categories of the IEC were exempt from these restrictions.
The applicants were able to travel to Canada provided they had a valid job offer, and a port of entry LOI.
However, many applicants were still not able to travel to Canada due to coronavirus-related restrictions.
Who can apply for an extension
Those who received an LOI for their work permit application through the IEC program can apply for an extension of their LOI for up to 12 months, provided their LOI will expire within 30 days.
Applicants interested in an extension are required to apply through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)’s web form.
What does the length of the extension depend on?
Applicants can receive an LOI extension for up to 12 months. The length of the extension depends on:
- whether the applicant has previously received an extension,
- whether their medical exam can be reassessed or extended.
It is, however, important to mention that the final decision is made on a case-by-case basis, at the discretion of the immigration officer.
What IEC participants need to know
IEC participants who travel to Canada during the pandemic will be required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. They must also have a plan for where they will quarantine, and how they will obtain food and medicine during their quarantine period.
In addition, it is a mandatory requirement for the IEC to have health care coverage for the entire time participants are in Canada, even if they are receiving coverage from their employer, or the province or territory in which they will be working. In addition, they must have adequate coverage, including testing for COVID-19.
If your employer withdrew your job offer, this will not count as IEC participation, and you may be able to reapply for participation at a later date.
What is the IEC?
The IEC program allows youth to work in Canada on a temporary basis. Participants need to be citizens of countries that have a bilateral Youth Mobility Agreement with Canada. Depending on the agreement, participants need to be between the ages of 18 and 35 in order to be eligible for IEC work permits.
These work permits do not require a Labour Market Impact Assessment and they fall into one of the following three categories:
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