The International Experience Canada (IEC) program is accepting applications for its 2023 pool.
The opening of the application pool comes following last year’s announcement, that the IEC would be expanding its program intake, allowing close to 90,000 applicants from partner countries the opportunity to work and travel in Canada, in 2023.
The program is Canada’s pathway to offer international exposure and work experience to the youth of 36 partner countries—allowing approved applicants the opportunity to work in Canada with a work permit, and travel freely within the country. Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) hopes that the expansion of the program will further help fulfil labour needs in sectors that suffered during the pandemic, most notably in tourism.
How does the IEC program work?
Citizens of partner nations with bilateral Youth Mobility Agreements with Canada; and who are within the eligible age range (18-29, 18-30, 0r 18-35, (all-inclusive)—depending on the nationality of the applicant) may qualify for an IEC work permit. There are three main streams under which applicants can apply:
- The Working Holiday stream, which can grant an Open Work Permit (OWP) for up to two years, allowing holders to work for any employer in Canada and in most industries;
- The Young Professionals stream, which issues an employer-specific work permit for individuals who have a job offer, and plan to work with a single employer in Canada; and
- The International Co-op Internship stream, which allows citizens of participating countries, who are enrolled in a post-secondary program in their country of citizenship, to intern for a specific Canadian company.
The program works on an “expression of interest / invitation to apply” model, wherein interested candidates can submit a candidacy profile to the IEC pool. If chosen, these candidates (now applicants), will receive an invitation to apply for a Canadian work permit.
If the application is approved, the applicant will receive their work permit under their specific stream and be eligible to enter and work in Canada for the period of their authorized stay.
Candidates who want to apply under the IEC must:
- Be a citizen / passport holder of one of the 36 partner countries that have Youth Mobility Agreements with Canada;
- Have a valid passport for the duration of their stay in Canada;
- Be within the eligible age range (18-29, 18-30, or 18-35, (all-inclusive), depending on the applicant’s nationality) at the time of their application;
- Have the equivalent of $2,500 CAD upon landing in Canada;
- Be able to take out health insurance for the duration of their stay;
- Be admissible to Canada;
- Have (prior to departure) a round-trip ticket or the financial resources to purchase a departure ticket at the end of their authorized stay in Canada;
- Not be accompanied by dependents; and
- Pay the appropriate fees.
The expansion of the IEC program capacity comes at a time when Canada is hoping to welcome more newcomers than ever, with over 800,000 economic immigrants expected to come to the country within the next three years. Youth who gain the requisite amount of work experience in Canada through the IEC may find themselves further eligible for immigration to Canada in the future.
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