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Shabnam Akrami is the Managing Partner and Founder of Akrami & Associates.

International Youth Mobility Program

International Youth Mobility Program

International Experience Canada (IEC)

In an effort to support international youth mobility programs, Canada has entered into agreements with certain countries under the umbrella of the International Experience Canada (IEC) program. The aim of IEC is to open up Canada to young people who wish to live and work in Canada temporarily.

This blog will outline the following information about International Experience Canada: Program Streams, Participating Countries, Eligibility, and Rounds of Invitations.

Program Streams

Depending on the country you are a citizen of, there are potentially 3 different program streams under International Experience Canada: Working Holiday, Young Professionals, and International Co-op Internship.

Working Holiday

The Working Holiday stream is ideal for foreign nationals who want to experience life in Canada with minimal restrictions. Under the Working Holiday stream you can live anywhere you’d like in Canada and are able to work for any employer. Successful Working Holiday applicants receive an open work permit which means that you can work for one or more employers without a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). This is especially advantageous for foreign nationals who wish to travel around Canada and work on the side. It can be a great way to experience the country while also supplementing your travel and living expenses.

Young Professionals

The Young Professionals stream is set up for foreign nationals who want to get professional work experience in Canada. Canadian work experience can be useful tool in furthering your career in your home country and can allow young professionals to pick up new skillsets. This program stream of International Experience Canada differs from the Working Holiday stream in that successful applicants are tied to one Canadian employer.

International Co-op Internship

The International Co-op Internship stream is meant for foreign nationals who are enrolled at a designated post-secondary institution in their country of citizenship. This stream of International Experience Canada is set up for students who wish to complete a work placement or internship in Canada. The work placement or internship must work towards fulfilling the requirements of their academic curriculum.

The program streams detailed above are separate. This means that before you apply to International Experience Canada, you must select which stream you wish to apply for.

International Experience Canada Participating Countries

The international agreements between Canada and other countries in regards to youth mobility programs such as International Experience Canada change from time to time. Currently, these are the countries that have agreements to participate in IEC:

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

Keep in mind that while all the countries listed above participate in International Experience Canada, not all of the offer all 3 program streams. Take Belgium for example. Currently Belgium only offers its citizens the Working Holiday stream. Other countries, like Germany, offer all 3 streams (Working Holiday, Young Professionals, and International Co-op Internship).

Eligibility for International Experience Canada

In order for an applicant to International Experience Canada to be eligible, they must meet certain criteria. The problem is, the requirements differ from country to country and from one program stream to another. One universal requirement for IEC is that the applicant be a citizen of an eligible country. Another general requirement that applies to most countries is that the applicant must be between the ages of 18 to 35 years old. However, some countries have variations on the acceptable age criteria as well.

In an effort to provide a ballpark idea of what to expect for International Experience Canada eligibility requirements, let’s examine Australia for its Working Holiday, Young Professional, and International Co-op Internship streams.

Australia: Working Holiday

To meet the eligibility requirements for this stream of IEC in Australia, an applicant must:

  • Have an Australian passport that is valid for the entire stay in Canada
  • Be between 13 to 30 years old (this includes 30 as well)
  • Be able to obtain health insurance for the duration of your stay (you may need to show evidence that you have valid health insurance when you enter Canada)
  • Be admissible to Canada (certain factors can make an applicant inadmissible, like a criminal history for example)
  • Have a round-trip ticket or show that you have the resources to purchase a departure ticket to leave Canada at the end of your authorized period of stay
  • Not be joined by dependents (for example, your children are not covered by the Working Holiday visa)
  • Have at least $2500 Canadian dollars or the equivalent so that you are able to cover your cost of living and other expenses while in Canada
  • Pay the government processing fees for the application

As you can see, the age requirements differ from the normal 18 to 35 for Australian applicants under International Experience Canada.

Australia: Young Professionals

The eligibility requirements for this stream of IEC in Australia are almost identical to the ones listed above for the Working Holiday stream. The only difference for the Young Professionals stream is that an applicant must provide a signed job offer or contract from a Canadian employer. There are a few additional conditions for the job being applied for:

  • The job must be from Skill Type Level 0, A or B according to the National Occupational Classification (NOC).
  • The job must be in related to the applicant’s educational background or work experience so that it qualifies as professional development.

Australia: International Co-op Internship

Again, the eligibility requirements for this stream of IEC in Australia are nearly identical to the ones listed above for the Working Holiday stream. The only difference for the International Co-op Internship stream is that an applicant must have a signed offer or contract for a valid work placement or internship in Canada. Also, the applicant must show that he or she will be a registered student during their stay in Canada

The work placement or internship must help the applicant fulfill the requirements of their academic curriculum back in Australia.

The requirements for International Experience Canada for Australian citizens can give applicants from any country a good idea of what to expect when applying. There may be small variations depending on the country you are applying from, but the general structure will be the same.

International Experience Canada Invitation Rounds

Many applicants to International Experience Canada want to know when they will be invited to come to Canada. Applying to IEC can only be done online. Once applicants submit an online profile, they are entered into a selection pool. Rounds of invitations are held throughout the year for different countries on the list. Upon receiving an invitation to apply, the International Experience Canada applicant must submit the requested documentation online within 20 days.

Some countries have a quota on how many invitations can be issued per year. For example, South Korea has a quota of 4,000 invitations issued per year for its Working Holiday stream. As the International Experience Canada program is very popular in South Korea, it is possible that some applicants will not be invited. If this is the case, the uninvited applicants will need to resubmit an International Experience Canada profile the following year.

It is important to note that all candidates in the selection pool have an equal chance of getting invited during an invitation round. In a sense, the pool functions like a lottery.

The projected number of invitations for April is 20,000. This number includes all the participating countries on the IEC list.

Rounds of invitations for the International Experience Canada program happen roughly twice a month, although this can vary from time to time. Certain countries are selected for invitation depending on the round. As of the time of writing of this article, the next Round of Invitations is scheduled for April 18, 2016 and the following country’s applicants may receive invitations:

  • Chile
  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • Estonia
  • Greece
  • Hong Kong
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Netherlands
  • Poland
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Taiwan
  • United Kingdom

Naturally, the following Round of Invitations will include other countries. The system works on a sort of structured rotation.

Contact Akrami and Associates

It is important to remember that every country has its own unique agreement with Canada under the International Experience Canada program. Once invited, an applicant only has 20 days to complete his or her application and provide all of the requested documentation.

If you are considering coming to Canada and would like to supplement your travels with work, or if you are a current student or professional looking to further your career, contact our team of Canadian immigration lawyers and consultants today! We have the knowledge and experience to help you attain your dream of experience life in Canada.

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