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March 15, 2021

International Experience Canada Program 2021 | IEC

Young adults looking to study and work in Canada in 2021 have a unique opportunity to get a permit through a program called International Experience Canada.

On March 1st at 9:00 AM EST, Canada opened up the 2021 International Experience Canada (IEC) pool to select countries.

The program allows applicants to choose from one of three streams, and grantees are given a permit or visa to come work in Canada. Read on to learn about the annual program and how to apply.

IEC is a popular program by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). The program runs annually, allowing hundreds of thousands of young foreigners to come to Canada and gain valuable work experience. It also allows Canadian citizens (aged 18 to 35) to work and travel abroad in one of over 30 countries and territories.

With a few added restrictions due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the IEC has opened up for registration close to full capacity in 2021. Whereas IRCC postponed invitation rounds in 2020, this year’s IEC has re-opened to over thirty participating countries open for registration. 

Background: About IRCC 

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada-min

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), or Immigration, Réfugiés et Citoyenneté Canada (CIC) is the department of the Government of Canada responsible for matters related to immigration, refugees, and Canadian citizenship.

The department was established in 1994 with a specific mandate: to work to build a stronger economy and stronger Canada by promoting programs and services geared towards helping newcomers successfully integrate and fully live the Canadian way of life, maximizing their abilities to help build better communities; and to advance in terms of IRCC’s immigration and humanitarian activities and policies.

Together with its partners, IRCC is responsible for screening potential permanent and temporary residents to protect the health, safety, and security of Canadians. The Department also issues and controls Canadian passports and other travel documents that facilitate the travel of Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and protected persons.

A Unique Opportunity to Study and Work in Canada in 2021

To this end, IRCC created the IEC program, which offers work permits and visas to foreigners in three main categories: 

  1. Working Holiday
  2. Young Professionals, and 
  3. International Co-op. 

Successful applicants will have the opportunity to work in many different areas, depending on their goals and how much effort they are willing and able to put towards applying for a job. Many participants find work in the tourism and hospitality industries (e.g., restaurants, pubs, and hotels), where employers are willing to offer temporary work for shorter periods.

If applicants have the right education, experience, or certifications, they can also work in fields such as:

  • Science
  • Law
  • Health
  • Education
  • Commerce
  • Communications

Due to travel restrictions in light of the global coronavirus pandemic, Working Holiday visa holders now also require a job offer to land in Canada. Also, grantees must comply with Canada’s COVID-19 testing requirements, including a mandatory quarantine.

Who Can Apply International Experience Canada in 2021?

The IEC is open to young adults who are citizens of foreign countries with reciprocal agreements with Canada. This year’s countries are listed as follows:

  • Australia
  • Belgium
  • Chile
  • Costa Rica
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • France
  • Greece
  • Hong Kong
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • Luxembourg
  • Norway
  • Portugal
  • San Marino
  • Slovakia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • United Kingdom

In 2021, Canada has allocated 49,815 spots throughout all pools. The eligible age range depends on the country but usually falls between 18 and 29 or 18 and 35. 

There are many advantages to working in Canada. Canada is ranked as the second-best country globally from a field of 60 countries for overall sustainability, cultural influence, entrepreneurship, economic influence, and quality of life.  Nearly half of Canada’s millionaires are immigrants or second-generation residents. The country is also a significant contributor to quantum computing, medical research, space science, and technology.

Compared to the U.S., Canadian workplaces boast superior healthcare, benefits, paid holidays, and paid leaves, including maternity and paternity leave. Canadian workplaces are mandated to embrace diversity and be inclusive environments for all employees.

An advantage to the IEC program is that people working under the IEC won’t require a Labour Market Impact Assessment when applying to work in Canada. All that’s needed under the IEC is a valid job offer and a Port of Entry Letter of Introduction (Letter of Introduction). 

Choosing from 3 Pools of Travel and Work Experiences

Participants can choose from up to 1, 2, or 3 pools of travel and work experiences, depending on the rules of their country of origin.

  1. Working Holiday

The Working Holiday pool offers applicants the chance to fund their vacation with temporary work in Canada. It’s also an excellent program for young adults who want to work for more than one employer in Canada, want to work in more than one location, or want to earn some money so they can travel.

Typically, this category is ideal for those who don’t have a prior job offer. However, working holiday candidates must provide proof of a valid job offer to receive an invitation to apply for the 2021 season because of current travel restrictions.

The Working Holiday category grants successful applicants an open work permit. This type of permit lets participants work at most jobs in Canada. However, some jobs require a medical exam first.

  1. Young Professionals

The Young Professionals category offers young workers the chance to gain Canadian professional work experience to better compete in a global economy. This is a good category for those who have a paid (not self-employed) job offer with one employer and in one location that contributes to their professional development.

The type of work permit offered by the Young Professionals category is an employer-specific work permit. The employer must meet all labour laws in the province or territory the participant plans to work, including meeting minimum wage requirements.

Additionally, the job must be classified as a National Occupational Classification (NOC) Code Skill Type Level 0, A, or B to be considered as contributing to the participant’s “professional development.” A NOC C job might be accepted if accompanied by a post-secondary diploma, certificate, or degree, along with a work permit application. The participant must have their diploma, certificate, or degree translated to English or French.

  1. International Co-op (Internship)

The International Co-op category offers participants valuable overseas work experience related to their field of study. This pool is ideal for students registered at a post-secondary institution, as many post-secondary programs require a work placement or internship for successful completion.

The International Co-op pool also welcomes applicants with a job offer for a work placement or internship in Canada, particularly those who plan to work for the same employer in the same location during their stay in Canada. 

The type of work permit offered in the International Co-op category is an employer-specific work permit. This means the internship offered in Canada must be directly linked to the applicant’s field of study.

Wages must follow the labour laws in the province or territory in which the participant will be working. The province or territory’s labor code will determine if an internship needs to be paid or not.
Employment and labour law standards apply to all foreign nationals in Canada. It is up to the IEC candidates and their Canadian employer to inquire, for their particular case, with the relevant provincial or territorial departments regarding labour standards.

Rules for Participation

IEC participants must have a Letter of Introduction and a valid job offer to travel to Canada. They must also be able to start their job as soon as they complete their quarantine.

Also, potential applicants must ensure that:

  • Their country or territory of citizenship has an agreement with Canada that allows them to apply for an IEC work permit or
  • They may be able to use a recognized organization (RO)
  • They must also meet the eligibility requirements for their country or territory of citizenship and the pool for which they’re applying.

Each participating country may have different rules for applying. For example, some countries only allow one-time participation, while others allow participants to apply twice but in different pools. This means that even if a participant is issued an invitation to apply (ITA), they cannot participate more times than their country allows.=

Only the participant can come to Canada under the IEC program. However, any dependents may apply to visit, study, or work in Canada.

In some cases, IRCC may allow IEC work permit holders to extend their work permit to reach the maximum validity period allowed within a specific category.

How to Apply For International Experience Canada in 2021?

The IEC works on an Expression of Interest/Invitation to Apply basis. Eligible candidates can create an IEC profile but must receive an ITA before they can apply. Participants must apply online for an International Experience Canada work permit, have a valid credit card, and have the capacity to upload documents online.

Candidates are invited to apply for International Internship (Co-op), Young Professionals, and Working Holiday.  Working Holiday candidates could be in the pool for several weeks or months. Candidates are randomly selected from the pool and invited to apply for a work permit. All candidates in the pool have an equal chance of being invited. 

Following is a step-by-step overview of how the IEC application process works:

  1. Complete the Come to Canada questionnaire
  2. If eligible, obtain a personal reference code and use it to create an online account
  3. Complete the remaining steps in the IEC profile builder
  4. Submit your profile and choose the IEC pools you wish to be in
  5. If you receive an ITA, accept or decline it within ten days. If you accept, click the “Start Application” button in your account to start the work permit application process. 
  6. At this point, you will have 20 days to pay and submit your work permit application. This involves:
    • Asking your employer to pay the $230 Employer Compliance Free through the Employer Portal. For the Young Professional and International Co-op categories, ask your employer to send you the offer of employment number they will get after they have paid their fees.
    • Uploading all supporting documents, including any applicable police and medical exam certificates. If you don’t have these supporting documents, you can upload proof that you have applied to undertake a medical exam and that a police certificate request has been sent.
    • Paying your CAD 153 participation fee with a credit card through the online payment system in your account. Working Holiday Category applicants need to pay their CAD 100 open work permit holder fee as well.
  7. Once these fees and documents are submitted, IRCC will begin the temporary work permit application assessment. IRCC may ask you to provide additional documents during this process, typically taking up to eight weeks. This is also the last chance to withdraw from IEC and obtain refunds.
  8. Successful applications will receive a letter of introduction (LOI) to their account. The official name of the document is the Port of Entry (POE) Introduction Letter. This letter is to be presented upon arrival at a Port of Entry (such as an international airport) in Canada, at which point you may obtain your work permit.

There are usually more spots available than candidates in these categories, and candidates with a profile in these pools typically receive an invitation to apply as long as spots are available.

For more information, visit the Government of Canada website https://www.cic.gc.ca/english/work/iec/selections.asp or contact Mana Immigration https://manaimmigration.com/contact-us/