The International Experience Canada (IEC) program is set to open to young adults who wish to live and work in Canada on a temporary basis.
Canada was scheduled to open its various IEC pools for the 2020 season on December 9, but technical difficulties forced a delay.
The IEC program allows people to experience Canada, and may be a first step towards permanent residence.
The IEC selects candidates under three categories:
Young adults, ages 18 to 35, from one of 36 eligible countries may now create a profile and, if eligible, be entered into their country’s pool of candidates for their selected category or categories.
Canada will issue an open work permit to those who successfully apply through the Working Holiday category.
This flexible work permit is for those who:
do not have a job offer;
want to work for more than one employer;
want to work in more than one location;
want to earn extra money to travel.
An open work permit allows people to work at most jobs in Canada, however, those working in the health sector or with vulnerable people may have to get a medical exam by an approved physician.
The Young Professionals category is for those who:
have a job offer that contributes to their professional development;
plan to work for the same employer in the same location for their entire stay in Canada.
The job offer must be paid and applicants cannot be self-employed.
Successful applicants receive an employer-specific work permit, meaning they can only work for the employer for the time and at the location specified on the permit.
The employer must meet all labour laws in the province or territory, including minimum wage requirements.
The job offer must also be classified as a National Occupational Classification (NOC) Code Skill Type Level 0, A, or B in order to be considered as contributing to “professional development.” In certain cases, a NOC C job may be eligible if applicants include a post-secondary diploma, certificate or degree with their work permit application. These documents must be submitted in either English or French.
International Co-op (Internship)
Students seeking work experience in Canada may apply through the International Co-op category if they:
are registered at a post-secondary institution;
have a job offer or work placement/internship in Canada;
need the work placement in order to complete their studies;
will work for the same employer in the same location during their stay.
Canada offers an employer-specific work permit through this category, so successful candidates must stay with the same employer for the amount of time specified on the work permit.
The internship must be directly linked to the applicant’s field of study.
Wages must follow the labour laws in the province or territory where the internship will take place. Labour codes will determine if the internship needs to be paid or not.
Employment and labour law standards apply to all foreign nationals in Canada. It is the responsibility of the IEC candidates and their employers to inquire about labour standards in their particular province or territory.
Staying in Canada after IEC
It is possible to turn an IEC into a path towards permanent residence.
The Canadian Experience Class is an immigration program for people who have at least one year of Canadian work experience. IEC participants may also be eligible for the Federal Skilled Worker Class (FSWC) or Federal Skilled Trades Class (FSTC).
All three of these immigration programs are managed through Canada’s Express Entry system.
Express Entry is a system where applicant profiles are ranked on human capital factors such as age, education, language ability and work experience. Candidates are issued a score based on the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) and entered into the Express Entry pool. The highest-scoring candidates are selected to apply for permanent residence through regular Express Entry draws.
The experience gained through an IEC can help boost an Express Entry candidate’s chance of being selected for an Invitation to Apply for permanent residence; Canadian work experience is highly rewarded under the CRS.