The IEC Canada program is run by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Once the application process is complete, you’ll receive a Port of Entry Letter of Introduction or LOI.
The LOI is an invitation to apply for your work permit. IEC candidates are invited to apply through ‘pools’ that are open by country and work permit category.
IEC Canada Basics
The International Experience Canada (IEC) program offers a unique opportunity to work in Canada for up to two years. It’s an open work permit that’s available to citizens of around 30 participating countries.
The 2023 IEC season pools opened on 19th December and the first round of Invitations to Apply (ITAs) began on 9th January. The earlier your profile is in the pool, the better your chances of getting selected in the first round and receiving an ITA.
The ITA is your official invite to begin the process of applying for a work visa. It’s not a guarantee that you will receive your visa, but it is a great sign that you are well on your way. Once you get an ITA, you can start searching for jobs and aligning them with your working holiday goals.
If you want to secure a winter skiing job, for example, then it’s essential to submit your profile as early as possible. It’s best to do this 12 months ahead of the winter you plan to travel. You can create a profile in one of the three IEC pools: Working Holiday, Young Professionals, and International Co-op.
Step-by-Step Application Process
The first step in the IEC Canada application process is to create a profile. When you have done this, you should receive an ITA (Invitation to Apply) in your account. This is a good indication that your profile has been approved and you can now proceed to the next step.
Once your profile has been approved, you will be given a personalized document checklist. This will outline the supporting documents you need to provide, such as police certificates, proof that you have undergone a medical exam, and a curriculum vitae or resume.
Ensure that you have all of these in order to complete your temporary work permit application. At this point, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada will begin processing your application. If you have a dual citizenship, you may need to provide a Letter of Explanation explaining this. It is also important to make sure that you have a valid passport for the length of your stay in Canada. If not, you will need to apply for a new one.
Types of IEC Canada Visas
There are three different work and travel programs within the International Experience Canada (IEC) umbrella: Working Holiday, Young Professionals, and International Co-op. Each program has its own pool of applicants and eligibility requirements that vary by country.
To participate in IEC, you must be a citizen of one of the participating countries and have a valid passport. Additionally, you must create a profile and submit it to the relevant IEC pool. Once your profile is approved, you will receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) from the Canadian government through your account.
Once you have an ITA, you can begin the process of applying for a work permit. You must also complete any necessary documents required by your host employer.
If you plan on staying beyond the temporary status afforded by your work permit, you’ll need to gain permanent residence through other economic immigration programs. IEC participants can use their work and travel experiences to qualify for Express Entry or through Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP). Click here to learn more about the different immigration pathways available in Canada.
Tips for a Successful IEC Experience
If you are considering moving to Canada through the International Experience Canada (IEC) program, it is important to do your research. It may take a while to understand the application process and what it takes to get a work permit, but it can be well worth it in the end!
It is recommended to create a profile, GCKey and enter the pools for each of your chosen categories as early as possible in the season. This will give you a better chance of receiving an invitation to apply (ITA) at random.
For the 2023 IEC season, it is also advisable to distribute your IEC materials in areas where people are likely to go during outbreaks such as markets, bus stations or transportation hubs, health centres, schools (if open), sports venues and religious centres. Be sure to use graphic representations that convey behavioural messages clearly. You should also include a link to where people can find other reliable epidemiological information. This could be from UN agencies, trusted government authorities or established non-government organisations.
How International Experience Shapes Futures
In our increasingly globalized world, future generations will need an international outlook and internationally-applicable skills. Spending extended periods of time working, studying or travelling abroad helps develop these essentials. A recent British Council report found that people who had done so were better at solving problems, more confident in their ability to engage with those from different countries and cultures, and able to work well under pressure.
If you’re interested in participating in the IEC Canada program, you can check your eligibility by either signing into IRCC’s GCKey and answering the questions or creating an account without doing so. Once you’re deemed eligible, you can create your profile and submit to the relevant pools.
If you receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA), you have 10 days to accept or decline it. Then, you have 20 days to complete and submit your work permit application. Our visa experts can assist with personalized guidance throughout this process.