International Experience Canada (IEC)

International Experience Canada is a work permit program specifically targeted at young adults (aged 18 to 35) who are looking to work in Canada while travelling on a gap year, sabbatical or other extended trip. It is similar to the UK’s Youth Mobility Scheme and the Australian and NZ Working Holiday Visas.

International Experience Canada is divided into three ‘pools’:

  • Working Holiday
  • Young Professionals
  • International Co-op (Internship)

Which pools you may be eligible for will depend on your nationality.

Who can apply for International Experience Canada?

In order to be eligible to submit an application for International Experience Canada, you should:

  • be a citizen of a country which has a Youth Mobility Agreement with Canada
  • be aged between 18 and 30, or 18 and 35 for some countries (please refer to table below)
  • be able to demonstrate you have a minimum of CAD $2500 to cover living expenses while you are in Canada
  • have a valid passport which will remain valid for the duration of your planned stay in Canada
  • be able to demonstrate that you are able to leave Canada at the conclusion of your stay, either with a pre-booked ticket or proof of enough funds to pay for a ticket to leave the country
  • have valid health insurance for the duration of your planned stay

In addition to the above, applicants for the Young Professionals pool will need to demonstrate that they have a pre-arranged offer of employment in a field relevant to their schooling or work experience, and which contributes to their professional development.

Applicants for the International Co-op pool will need to demonstrate that they have a pre-arranged offer of employment, work placement contract or internship in Canada which is relevant to their academic studies in their home country.

Individuals can apply for any of the three International Experience Canada pools on their own initiative, or with the help of a ‘Recognized Organization’ (RO). ROs do not provide advice on immigration applications, but can assist with practical matters like jobhunting, getting a Canadian bank account or finding accommodation.

What does International Experience Canada offer?

Successful applicants will be granted a ‘port of entry letter of introduction’ which they can present at the Canadian border when they arrive. A border official will then make the final decision on whether or not to permit entry into the country and grant the appropriate work permit.

Those who applied to the Working Holiday pool will usually be granted an open work permit. Applicants for the Young Professionals and International Co-op pools are more likely to be granted an employer-specific work permit.

It is not permitted to bring dependants (i.e. your legal or common-law partner, or your dependant children) to Canada with you on the basis of the International Experience Canada program.

How do I apply for the International Experience Canada program?

In order to apply for this program, individuals will first need to create an IEC profile and specify which pools they are interested in applying for. Canadian authorities will then periodically issue invitations to submit an application. It is not possible to apply for this program without first receiving an invitation.

Once the invitation has been issued, you will have up to 10 days to decide if you wish to accept it. Once you do, you will be given a further 20 days to complete and submit an application.

Applications can be submitted online and cost CAD$172. If you haven’t done so previously, be aware that before your application can be considered you may have to physically travel to an appropriate location to provide your fingerprints and have a photograph taken. There will usually be an additional ‘biometrics fee’ for doing this.

Complete applications (with all documents and biometric data attached) are usually processed within six weeks.

International Experience Canada | Eligiblity by Country
CountryAge limitWorking HolidayYoung ProfessionalsInternational Co-op (Internship)
Andorra18 to 30YesNoNo
Australia18 to 35YesYesYes
Austria18 to 30YesYesYes
Belgium18 to 30YesNoNo
Chile18 to 35YesYesYes
Costa Rica18 to 35YesYesYes
Croatia18 to 35YesYesYes
Czechia18 to 35YesYesYes
Denmark18 to 35YesNoNo
Estonia18 to 35YesYesYes
Finland18 to 35YesYesYes
France18 to 35YesYesYes
Germany18 to 35YesYesYes
Greece18 to 35YesYesYes
Hong Kong SAR18 to 30YesNoNo
Iceland18 to 30YesNoNo
Ireland18 to 35YesYesYes
Italy18 to 35YesYesYes
Japan18 to 30YesNoNo
Korea, Republic18 to 35YesYesYes
Latvia18 to 35YesYesYes
Lithuania18 to 35YesYesYes
Luxembourg18 to 30YesYesYes
Mexico18 to 29YesYesYes
Netherlands18 to 30YesYesNo
New Zealand18 to 35YesNoNo
Norway18 to 35YesYesYes
Poland18 to 35YesYesYes
Portugal18 to 35YesYesYes
San Marino18 to 35YesNoNo
Slovakia18 to 35YesYesYes
Slovenia18 to 35YesYesYes
Spain18 to 35YesYesYes
Sweden18 to 30YesYesYes
Switzerland18 to 35NoYesYes
Taiwan18 to 35YesYesYes
Ukraine18 to 35YesYesYes
United Kingdom18 to 35YesYesYes

Kunal Thakur

Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant R#519955

Kunal Thakur is a passionate Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) with close to two decades of immigration experience, during which he has successfully guided thousands of people on their immigration journey. He is quick in responding to client queries and constantly strives to give his clients the best possible advice. Kunal brings immense value to our team with his talks and discourses on immigration. When not in front of his laptop reading and analysing client cases, he enjoys spending his spare time exploring new places and trying new things. Kunal is currently based in Adelaide, Australia. You can book a time with him here.

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