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International Experience Canada (IEC)

Work in Canada in 6 Easy Steps

International Experience Canada (IEC)

Updated for 2019

Maybe it’s time to pack up and begin to explore the world and all it has to offer. International Experience Canada (IEC) gives you the opportunity to work, travel and gain experience in Canada. 

Or, if you are a Canadian looking to travel abroad under the working holiday program, see this page.

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Index

 

How to Apply for International Experience Class Canada

International Experience Canada (IEC) is no longer a first-come, first-served program. As of November 25, 2015, you will now create your IEC profile – similar to Express Entry – and join a pool of candidates. Here’s how it works:

You have up to 3 IEC categories available to you, depending on your home country (see below).

  • Working Holiday: for those who wish to pay for part or all of their vacation in Canada with temporary work.
  • International Co-op: for those who wish to gain Canadian professional work experience.
  • Young Professionals: for those who wish to gain overseas work experience related to their field of study.

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Step 1: Determine Your Eligibility Requirements

Determine your eligibility requirements and ensure you meet them. You must be from the list of 34 countries that Canada has a bilateral agreement with:

Australia Denmark Italy Netherlands Slovenia
Austria Estonia Japan New Zealand Spain
Belgium France South Korea Norway Sweden
Chile Germany Latvia Poland Switzerland
Costa Rica Greece Lithuania Portugal Taiwan
Croatia Hong Kong Lithuania San Marino Ukraine
Czechia Ireland Mexico Slovakia United Kingdom

If you are not a citizen of one of the 34 countries with which Canada has a bilateral agreement, you may also be able to use a Recognized Organization for either the Employer Specific or Working Holiday program. Go here for more information.

You must be between 18 and 35 years of age in most cases. Applicants from the following countries must be 18 to 30 years old:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Hong Kong
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • Netherlands
  • Sweden
  • United Kingdom.
  • Applicants from Mexico must be 18 to 29 years old.

You must have a valid passport and be admissible to Canada.

You must have sufficient funds (CAD$2,500 minimum + a return ticket or proof of sufficient funds for one).

You must acquire healthcare insurance for your stay.

You cannot be accompanied by dependents.

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Step 2: See if You Qualify

You have two options:

  1. Complete the Come to Canada questionnaire. This is a way of seeing if you are eligible without having and signing in to your account.
  2. Or, you can also see if you are eligible so by creating an account first. If you are a citizen of one of the 34 countries above, and you are in the age range, we strongly suggest creating an account first because sometimes the Come to Canada questionnaire will tell you that you are not eligible because there are not currently spaces available for your country, but there could easily be shortly.

The Come to Canada questionnaire will include questions about:

  • Your country of citizenship
  • Your country of permanent residence (where you live permanently)
  • Your country of residence (where you live now – usually the same as your permanent residence and often the same as your country of citizenship but all 3 may be different depending on your current situation)
  • Student status (if applicable)
  • Job offer (if applicable).

After completing the Come to Canada questionnaire, if the result is positive and you are deemed eligible to come to Canada under IEC, you will be given an alphanumeric code (letters and numbers) that will be your personal reference code.

Make sure to copy down your personal reference code!

 

 

Step 3: Complete Your Profile

Go to MyCIC and complete and submit your IEC profile. This will depend on which way you used in Step 2:

If you first signed into your account and then answered the questionnaire, you will not have a personal reference code. You should just click “continue.”

If you meet the requirements, you will be placed into one or more pools of IEC candidates, depending on your country of citizenship. You will be notified through your account. 

If you answered the Come to Canada questionnaire without signing in then you should:

  • Copy down your personal reference code
  • Create an account
  • Enter your personal reference code when asked.

Your profile will already be partly filled-in from the answers you gave in the questionnaire. To complete your profile, you will need:

  • Your valid passport
  • To provide information on your identity:
    • Full name
    • Date of Birth
    • Place of Birth
    • Other additional details
  • Contact information.

You can save and exit your profile but you need to complete it and submit it within 60 days of starting or it will be voided and you will have to start again.

 

Step 4: Join a Pool

If you meet the requirements, you will be placed into one or more pools of IEC candidates, depending on your country of citizenship. You will be notified through your account. Remember there is one pool per available category for each of the 34 listed countries. Not every category (Working Holiday, Young Professionals, International Co-op) is available for all countries. See the table below to see which categories are available for each of the 34 countries.

 

Visas Available by Country as of January 11, 2019

Please note that the number of available visas is constantly changing. For up-to-date numbers, please do the following:

  1. visit international.gc.ca or go here,
  2. scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the drop-down menu under the sub-title Where are you from?
  3. Choose your country and your category (Working Holiday, Young Professionals or International Co-op)
  4. and click on go.
  5. You will see a notification at each country’s page indicating if the pool is open in that specific category.

The following table is for information purposes and was taken from January 10 and 11, 2019. Pools are constantly in flux with some opening and others closing, depending upon the number of applicants and the availability of spaces. So please follow the instructions in the above paragraph if you want more up to date information.

Country

Working Holiday

Young Professionals

International Co-op

Country

Working Holiday

Young Professionals

International Co-op

Australia Open Open Open Japan Open N/A N/A
Austria Open Open Open Korea Open N/A N/A
Belgium Open N/A N/A Latvia Open Open Open
Chile Open Open Open Lithuania Open Open Open
Costa Rica Open Open Open Mexico Closed Closed Closed
Croatia Open Open Open Netherlands Open Open N/A
Czech Rep Open Open Open New Zealand Open N/A N/A
Denmark Open N/A N/A Norway Open Open Open
Estonia Open Open Open Poland Open Open Open
France Open Open Open Slovakia Open Open Open
Germany Open Open Open Slovenia Open Open Open
Greece Open Open Open Spain Open Open Open
Hong Kong Open N/A N/A Sweden Open Open Open
Ireland Open Open Open Switzerland N/A Open Open
Italy Open N/A N/A Taiwan Open Open Open
Ukraine Closed Closed Closed United Kingdom Open N/A N/A
  • Remember you only submit one IEC profile but you can choose which pools to submit that single profile to, depending on which programs are available to applicants from your country. (See the charts above or below.)
  • If you are eligible for multiple pools, then once having received an Invitation to Apply in one pool, you cannot apply to another pool unless:
    • you decline the invitation, OR
    • you apply and are rejected in the first pool.
  • You will remain in the pool for 1 year from the day you are entered into the pool, or until your country’s quotas have been filled.
  • You can submit a profile at any time up to the date of the last round of invitations for your country. Go here to check the schedule of rounds of invitations for your country.
  • The selection of candidates out of the pools will essentially be random for Working Holiday candidates.
  • International Co-op and Young Professionals candidates will be regularly selected.
  • No points system – as of yet – will be used, unlike Express Entry.

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Step 5: Applying for a Work Permit

If you are selected and receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) then you will have 10 days to accept and start your application online for a temporary work permit, or decline. Remember you can decline an Invitation to Apply and still remain in your pool of candidates with no negative effects on future invitations for which you will be considered.

If you are in more than 1 pool of candidates and you receive an ITA, you will no longer be eligible in the other candidate pools until you either:

  • Decline the ITA, OR
  • Submit your application for a work permit and are refused.

If you remain in a candidates pool without receiving an ITA and the pool is closed at the end of the season, you will be notified.

Once you accept the ITA, you have 20 days to pay your fees, complete, and submit your online application for a work permit. The application form is online and you will in most cases have to give biometrics.

If you are applying for a Working Holiday work permit and the form asks you for information on your employer:

  • In the employment number field type “A9999999”
  • For the question: “Has your employer paid the employer compliance fee?” type “No.”
  • In the employer address field type: “Non-applicable – Working Holiday.”

For Young Professionals and International Co-op applicants, your employer will need to pay the CAD$230 Employer Compliance Fee through the Employer Portal. Have your employer send you your offer of employer number after they have paid the fee.

Remember to upload all your supporting documents and pay the CAD$150 participation fee. If you are required to give biometrics you should pay your biometrics fee when you pay your participation fee.

The required documents may include the following:

  • Proof of financial support
  • Medical exams
  • Police certificates
  • CV/resume
  • Passport
  • Digital photo
  • Family information forms IMM 5645 or IMM 5707 detailing:
    • Information about your spouse/partner
    • Information about your parents
    • Information about any children, stepchildren, or adopted children
    • Information about your brothers and sisters including step and half siblings
  • ETA (electronic travel authorization) or Visitor Visa
  • For International Co-op applicants you will have to provide:
    • Proof of registration at your educational institution
    • Proof your job is linked to your field of study
  • For applicants using a Recognized Organization (RO), a copy of your confirmation letter from your RO may be requested
  • VIE applicants must provide an official certificate from Business France.

Working Holiday participants must also pay a CAD$100 work permit holder fee.

You may obtain a refund for the IEC participation fee, the open work permit holder fee, and the employer compliance fee if:

  • You withdraw your work permit application BEFORE the Letter of Introduction is issued,
  • Your employer withdraws their job offer BEFORE your work permit is issued, or
  • Your work permit application is refused.

 

Step 6: Coming to Canada

If your temporary work permit application is successful, you will be sent a Letter of Introduction (LOI) at your MyCIC account. It is officially called a Port of Entry Introduction (POE) letterUse your POE letter to obtain your temporary work permit when you land at a port of entry – usually an international airport in Canada.

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What is IEC?

The Canadian Department of Trade and Foreign Affairs has an agreement with 34 countries which encourages and enables cultural exchange between these countries. You must be aged 18-35. If you qualify you can travel to a country of your choice for 12-24 months for work, internships and apprenticeships. 

Here are countries that participate:

Country Working Holiday Young Professionals International Co-Op Age Limit
Australia 24 Months 24 Months 12 Months 18-35
Austria 12 Months 12 Months 6 Months 18-35
Belgium 12 Months N/A N/A 18-30
Chile 12 Months 12 Months 12 Months 18-35
Costa Rica 12 Months 12 Months 12 Months 18-35
Croatia 12 Months 12 Months 12 Months 18-35
Czech Republic 12 Months 12 Months 12 Months 18-35
Denmark 12 Months N/A N/A 18-35
Estonia 12 Months 12 Months 12 Months 18-35
France 24 Months 24 Months 12 Months 18-35
Germany 12 Months 12 Months 12 Months 18-35
Greece 12 Months 12 Months 12 Months 18-35
Hong Kong 12 Months N/A N/A 18-30
Ireland 24 Months 24 Months 12 Months 18-35
Italy 6 Months N/A N/A 18-30
Japan 12 Months N/A N/A 18-30
South Korea 12 Months N/A N/A 18-30
Latvia 12 Months 12 Months 12 Months 18-35
Lithuania 12 Months 12 Months 12 Months 18-35
Mexico 12 Months 12 Months 12 Months 18-29
Netherlands 12 Months 12 Months N/A 18-30
New Zealand 23 Months N/A N/A 18-35
Norway 12 Months 12 Months 12 Months 18-35
Poland 12 Months 12 Months 12 Months 18-35
Slovakia 12 Months 12 Months 12 Months 18-35
Slovenia 12 Months 12 Months 12 Months 18-35
Spain 12 Months 12 Months 12 Months 18-35
Sweden 12 Months 12 Months 12 Months 18-30
Switzerland N/A 18 Months 12 Months 18-35
Taiwan 12 Months 12 Months 12 Months 18-35
Ukraine 12 Months 12 Months 12 Months 18-35
United Kingdom 24 Months N/A N/A 18-30

 

The Three Categories of the Inernational Experience Canada Program

Working Holiday

This is the most popular category. Applicants aged 18-35 are granted a 12-24 month open work permit which allows them to work anywhere in Canada. The conditions of the visa are different for each country. For example: Those from Austria are granted only 6 month visas.

To be eligible for the Working Holiday category, you must:

  • Be a citizen of a country listed above;
  • Be between the ages of 18 and 35, or 18 to 30, (or 18 to 29 if you are from Mexico) inclusive at the time your application is received;
  • Have the equivalent of C$2,500 to help cover your expenses at the beginning of your stay;
  • Provide a clean police certificate from your country of citizenship;
  • Be prepared to take out health-care insurance for the duration of your stay – you may have to present evidence of this insurance when you enter Canada;
  • Pay a participation fee that is equivalent to C$150;
  • Show proof of a return ticket when you enter Canada or proof of additional funds to purchase a ticket;
  • Have a valid passport from a country listed above that does not expire during the period of your stay;
  • Not be accompanied by dependent(s) under your IEC application.

Please Note: If your occupation falls into NOC skill categories 0, A or B you may be able to use your working holiday experience in Canada to apply for permanent residence through the Canadian Experience Class through Express Entry.

 

Young Professionals

The Young Professionals category is designed for post-graduates and apprentices who wish to further their careers by gaining work experience under a pre-arranged contract of employment in Canada.

To be eligible for the Young professional category, you must,

  • Be a citizen of a country listed above;
  • Be between the ages of 18 and 35 inclusive, or 18 to 30, (or 18 to 29 if you are from Mexico), at the time your application is received;
  • Have the equivalent of C$2,500 to help cover your expenses at the beginning of your stay;
  • Provide a clean police certificate from your country of citizenship;
  • Be prepared to take out health-care insurance for the duration of your stay – you may have to present evidence of this insurance when you enter Canada;
  • Pay a participation fee that is equivalent to C$150;
  • Show proof of a return ticket when you enter Canada or proof of additional funds to purchase a ticket;
  • Have a valid passport from a country listed above that does not expire during the period of your stay;
  • Not be accompanied by dependent(s) under your IEC application;
  • Have received a signed letter of offer or contract of employment in Canada that is related to your field of professional expertise (degree and/or work experience) and that supports your career development.

 

International Co-Op

The International Co-op (Internship) category is designed for students and apprentices who are registered students at a post-secondary institution in Canada and who intend to complete a work placement or internship in Canada.

To be eligible for the international coop category, you must:

  • Be a citizen of a country listed above;
  • Be between the ages of 18 and 35 inclusive, or 18 to 30, (or 18 to 29 if you are from Mexico), at the time your application is received;
  • Have the equivalent of C$2,500 to help cover your expenses at the beginning of your stay;
  • Provide a clean police certificate from your country of citizenship;
  • Be prepared to take out health-care insurance for the duration of your stay – you may have to present evidence of this insurance when you enter Canada;
  • Pay a participation fee that is equivalent to C$150;
  • Show proof of a return ticket when you enter Canada or proof of additional funds to purchase a ticket;
  • Have a valid passport from a country listed above that does not expire during the period of your stay;
  • Not be accompanied by dependent(s) under your IEC application;
  • Be registered at a post-secondary institution in your country of nationality;
  • Have received a signed letter of offer or contract for a work placement or internship in Canada that meets the requirements of your academic curriculum.

 

Please Note

  • Not every country offers all three categories; please check the list above to see which categories are available in your country;
  • Every country has different conditions and criteria for each category;
  • If you have participated in this program before you may or not be eligible to participate again;
  • In some countries the age limit is 18 to 30; in Mexico it is 18 to 29.
  • IEC begins accepting visa applications in January, and the quotas are filled very quickly;
  • If you are currently participating in the IEC program you may be eligible for an extension;
  • Canada issues a specific visa quota to each country every year. The number of visas issued varies from country to country;
  • Please note that the number of available visas is constantly changing. For up-to-date numbers, please visit international.gc.ca;
  • Canada issues a specific visa quota to each country every year. The number of visas issued varies from country to country.

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