International Experience Canada
The International Experience Canada (IEC) program allows youth from various countries to work in Canada. To qualify, you need to see if your country is included, or contact a “recognized organization” to assist you. Each country’s agreement with Canada is different, but generally these work permits are available to applicants between the ages of 18 and 30 (35 in some cases) and provides one- or two-year permits.
Over 30 countries currently participate in IEC with Canada, in all or some of IEC’s three categories:
- Working Holiday: This is a type of open work permit, meaning that you do not need a job offer, and can find work for any employer in any field when you arrive in Canada.
- Young Professionals: This category requires a valid job offer from an employer at the time of applying. The position must be high-skilled, and in a field related to your studies to further your professional development. Although the employer does not need to obtain an LMIA, this is not an open work permit and you will only be able to work for the employer listed on your work permit.
- International Co-op Internship: This category applies to full-time students at post-secondary institutions abroad whose program requires a co-op component. Similar to Young Professionals, you must arrange an internship opportunity with a Canadian employer at the time of applying, and you will only be able to intern for that company.
Depending on the agreement, you may be able to participate in the IEC program more than once, or in more than one category. Acceptance into these programs is not guaranteed; to apply, you must enter a pool of candidates, and there are quotas for each category and country. The program is only open to applicants at specific times, so it is crucial to follow updates and announcements.
For further information, visit the IEC website at: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/work-canada/iec.html. These applications generally do not require the assistance of a lawyer; however, if you find you would like to remain in Canada after obtaining work experience under the program, legal assistance is highly valuable.