International Experience Canada or IEC program is a unique program that provides young individuals from various nations with an opportunity to travel and work in Canada temporarily. This guide offers comprehensive details about the IEC program, making it easier for potential applicants to understand the process and increase their chances of successful application.
IEC is a set of programs offering young individuals a chance to explore the stunning landscapes and diverse culture of Canada while gaining professional work experience. The program operates based on reciprocal agreements between Canada and other countries, allowing young people to work and travel in Canada for up to two years.
- It provides an open work permit, allowing individuals to work for any employer in Canada.
- There’s no need for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) for IEC applications.
- The approval process of IEC work permits involves a randomized draw system.
The Three IEC Program Categories
IEC encompasses three separate programs, each designed to meet varying interests and needs of potential applicants:
- Working Holiday: This program allows individuals to work for any employer in Canada and is an excellent choice for those wishing to earn money while travelling in Canada.
- Young Professionals: This program is designed for those seeking professional development. It offers the opportunity to gain valuable international work experience in your field of study or profession.
- International Co-op (Internship): Specifically designed for students, this program allows candidates to gain valuable international work experience related to their field of study.
Detailed Overview of IEC Program Categories
1. Working Holiday Visa
Ideal for individuals who wish to work for various employers and explore different locations in Canada. The key points include:
- Applicants are not required to have a job offer from a Canadian employer.
- The program offers the freedom to work for multiple employers and live in different parts of Canada.
- It is an excellent choice for those seeking to earn money while exploring Canada.
2. Young Professionals
Perfect for individuals looking to gain professional work experience in Canada. The main features include:
- Applicants need a job offer from a Canadian employer.
- Participants receive an employer-specific work permit and must work for the same employer during their stay.
- It is best for those intending to remain in the same location while in Canada and for work that contributes to their professional development.
3. International Co-op Internship
This program is specially designed for students needing a work placement or internship in Canada to complete their post-secondary education. The highlights of this program are:
- Applicants must have a job offer for a work placement or internship in Canada that is required for their studies.
- An employer-specific work permit is issued to successful applicants.
- It’s suitable for students willing to work for the same employer in the same location during their stay in Canada.
To qualify for the IEC program, applicants must:
- Be within the accepted age range for their country’s program (generally, 18-35 years old, although this can vary by country).
- Hold citizenship of a country that has an agreement with Canada for the IEC program.
- Carry a valid passport for the duration of their stay in Canada.
- Have the equivalent of CAD 2,500 to help cover initial expenses.
- Be able to take out health insurance for the duration of their stay.
- Be admissible to Canada.
- Have a round-trip ticket or demonstrate they’ll have the financial resources to purchase a departure ticket at the end of their authorized stay in Canada.
The IEC application process involves a five-step procedure:
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to apply for the IEC program:
Step One: Create an IEC Profile
- Eligibility Check: Before creating an account, check if your country has an agreement with Canada that allows you to apply for an IEC work permit. Each program has specific requirements, so ensure you are eligible for your preferred program.
- Gather Required Documents: Collect all the necessary documentation such as your passport and other identity documents. If you’re applying for the Young Professionals or International Co-op categories, you’ll also need your job offer letter or contract, and the employer’s LMIA number or offer of employment number.
- Create an Account: Visit the IEC website and follow the instructions to create your account. Make sure all the information you provide is accurate and corresponds to your documentation.
- Enter the Pool of Candidates: Once your profile is complete and you meet the eligibility criteria, your account will be entered into the IEC pool of candidates for your chosen category (Working Holiday, Young Professionals, or International Co-op).
Step Two: Receive an Invitation to Apply
The IEC conducts regular draws where candidates are selected at random from the pool. The number of invitations varies according to the quota set for each country and category. If you are selected, you will receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA).
Step Three: Accept the Invitation to Apply
Upon receiving your ITA:
- Respond Promptly: You have 10 days to accept the invitation in your account. If you do not respond within this period, the invitation will expire, and you’ll need to create a new IEC profile to enter the pool again.
- Prepare for the Next Steps: After accepting the invitation, you’ll have 20 days to submit a work permit application. Use this time to gather all required documentation.
Step Four: Submit Work Permit Application
After accepting the ITA:
- Gather Your Documents: Assemble all the necessary documents. This could include your passport, a digital photo, a police certificate, a medical exam confirmation (if required), your resume or CV, and any additional forms or documents specified by the IEC.
- Complete the Work Permit Application Form: Complete the work permit application form accurately and thoroughly. Double-check all the information before submitting.
- Pay the Application Fees: You will need to pay the participation fee ($150 CAD as of my knowledge cutoff in 2021) and the open work permit holder fee ($100 CAD for Working Holiday and Young Professionals categories).
- Submit Your Application: Submit your completed application within the 20-day timeframe. Once you’ve submitted, you cannot change the information on your form, so make sure everything is accurate.
Step Five: Receive Work Permit
Upon successful processing of your application, you will:
- Receive Port of Entry (POE) Letter: This letter is proof that your IEC application has been approved. It’s not your work permit but is required when you travel to Canada.
- Travel to Canada: Plan your travel to Canada. You must enter Canada before your POE letter expires.
- Get Your Work Permit: Upon arrival in Canada, an immigration official will check your documents and issue your work permit. This permit will detail the terms of your stay, such as the type of work you can do, where you can work, and how long you can work in Canada.
The IEC program provides a unique opportunity to gain professional experience and explore the diverse landscapes and cultures of Canada. The success of your application depends on the quota for each program and country. Therefore, regular consultation of the IEC webpage is necessary for updates on draws, program quotas per country, and other pertinent information. Good luck with your IEC journey!
For more detailed information regarding each program and specific requirements for participating countries, visit the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q1. What are the age requirements for the IEC program?
The general age requirement for the IEC program is between 18 and 35 years old, but this can vary depending on the agreement between Canada and the applicant’s country.
Q2. Do I need a job offer to apply for the IEC program?
This depends on the specific program. For the Working Holiday Visa, you do not need a job offer. However, for the Young Professionals and International Co-op Internship programs, you do need a job offer from a Canadian employer.
Q3. What documents do I need to apply for the IEC program?
You’ll need a valid passport and potentially additional documents such as a job offer letter, medical exam confirmation, digital photo, police certificate, resume, etc. The exact documents required depend on the specific IEC program you’re applying for.
Q.4 How long does the IEC application process take?
The duration of the IEC application process can vary. Once you’re invited to apply, you have 10 days to accept the invitation and then 20 days to submit your work permit application.
Q5. What fees are associated with the IEC program application?
As of the last update in 2021, the participation fee was $150 CAD, and the open work permit holder fee was $100 CAD for the Working Holiday and Young Professionals categories.