International Experience Canada (IEC)

The International Experience Canada (IEC) season is now open

Today, January 9, 2023, the Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, announced that the International Experience Canada (IEC) program is now open to welcome international youth who wants to travel and work in Canada for up to 2 years. 

For those who are not familiar, Canada has youth mobility arrangements with 36 countries and foreign territories through the IEC Program. This reciprocal program allows Canadian and international youth to work and travel in each other’s countries. Moreover, it helps youth explore new cultures, languages and societies while improving their job prospects for the future. The age of participants ranges from 18 to 35, depending on their country.

This year, Canada is extending this opportunity to nearly 90,000 international youth. This 20% increase in the number of applicants was already announced on December 1, 2022. According to the announcement, the expansion will help Canadian employers find the workers they need to fill labour shortages across the country.

Please note that Canadian youth can apply for the program year-round. However, international candidates can only apply at certain times of the year, typically December until fall. Those who are already in the IEC pool will begin receiving invitations to apply for their work permit.

“Our government supports international youth to work and travel in Canada, effectively helping employers find the workers they need. By giving youth the opportunity to gain international travel and work experience, we are strengthening our economy and creating a win-win solution for everyone involved.”

The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

About the International Experience Canada program

International Experience Canada (IEC) has 3 different categories available: working holiday; international co-op; and young professionals.

  • Working Holiday:

This category is for people who don’t have a job offer, want to work for more than one employer in Canada and want to work in more than one location.

Moreover, the type of work permit that candidates get in this category is an open work permit, which lets them work for any employer in Canada. Of course, some exceptions could apply.

  • Young Professionals:

This category is for people who have a job offer (TEER 0, 1, 2 or 3 of the new NOC) in Canada and are going to work for the same employer during their stay in the country. Please be aware that work must be paid and not self-employed.

The type of work permit that candidates obtain in this category is an employer-specific work permit. This permit allows participants to gain targeted, professional work experience that is within their field of study or career path. Some exemptions apply to employers and candidates with a TEER 4 job.

  • International Co-op (Internship)

This category is for students who are registered at a post-secondary institution, and:
– have a job offer for a work placement or internship in Canada,
– need to do their work placement or internship to complete their studies. Also, these students need to work for the same employer in the same location during their stay in Canada. If the student is selected, they will get an employer-specific work permit.

Please notice that if you’re a citizen of a partner country, you may be able to apply to one or more of these 3 categories. However, if you aren’t a citizen of a partner country, you may still be able to apply to IEC through a recognized organization.

List of eligible countries for International Experience Canada

Costa Rica
Czech Republic
Denmark (Danish citizens who reside in Greenland and the Faroe Islands are also eligible)
Hong Kong
New Zealand
San Marino
South Korea
United Kingdom

You can check a list of the countries with the highest chances of an invitation in 2022, here.

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