If you are from certain countries and are of the right age, you do not necessarily need a Canadian employer to sponsor you. You may be able to qualify for an open work permit to work anywhere you choose. The International Experience Class (IEC) program gives youth, who are citizens of partner countries, the opportunity to travel and work in Canada for up to two years. Partner countries are counties Canada has an agreement with, where youth generally between the ages of 18-30 can apply to travel and work in Canada. There are three different kinds of work and travel experiences available to such individuals:
- Working Holiday;
- Young Professionals;
- International Co-op (Internship).
Under the Working Holiday pool, you:
- will not need to have a job offer;
- can work for more than one employer in Canada;
- can work in more than one location; and
- can earn some money so the applicant can travel.
The type of work permit an applicant receives for the Working Holiday is an open work permit. An open work permits allows you to work for almost any employer in Canada, with some exceptions. However, some jobs may require you to get a medical exam, prior to working there.
Applicants in Young Professionals stream are, on the other hand, allowed to apply for a an employer-specific work permit, for which they would need to have a valid job offer that is related to the applicants’ field of education. This employment in Canada must demonstrably lead to the applicants’ professional development. The NOC codes of the occupations must be TEER 0, 1, 2 and 3 position, commonly known as “skilled occupations”.
In the International Co-op stream applicants must have a Canadian entity willing to offer them an internship position in Canada, while they are completing their post-secondary education.
An individual seeking to apply for IEC must take the following steps:
- Check out the IEC site: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/work-canada/iec.html
- Submit your profile and choose the IEC pools you want to be in. Generally the Working Holiday pool is the most relevant. The process to submit a profile begins by finding out if you are eligible by answering some questions which include:
a. Your country of citizenship;
b. Your country of permanent residence (where you live permanently);
c. Your country of residence (where you live now);
d. Student status (if this applies to you); and
e. Job offer (if this applies to you).
These questions determine which pool you are eligible for. The IEC online profile is free. There is one pool of eligible candidates per country and per category. You can submit your profile to one or more of these pools. Candidates in the pools need to receive an invitation to apply for a work permit.
- If you receive an invitation, you will have 10 days to accept the invitation and to start your work permit application from the day you accept the invitation.
- Once you start your work permit application, you will have exactly 20 days to complete and submit your work permit application, and pay the appropriate fee.
Note: If you’re applying for a Working Holiday work permit and you’re asked for information about your offer of employment,
• type “A9999999” in the offer of employment number field
• select “No” to the question “Has your employer paid the Employer Compliance fee?” and
• type “Non-applicable – Working Holiday” into the employer address fields
- When you have completed the application, the system will generate a personalized document checklist for you. It will show all the supporting documents you will need to upload. You will have to upload all supporting documents, including police and medical exam certificates. The documents required include:
a. Proof of financial support;
b. Medical examinations;
c. Health insurance;
d. Police certificates;
g. Digital photo;
h. Family information; and
i. eTA or visitor visa.
Please review the important details pertaining to each of the required documents on the following link: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/work-canada/iec/apply-work-permit.html#financial-support
- You will need to pay your participation fee of CAD $156 with a credit card online through your IRCC account and CAD $100 for a Working Holiday open work permit holder fee.
- If required, you will be sent a biometric instruction letter via your IRCC account after you submit your application. You will have 30 days upon receipt of the instruction letter to submit your biometrics at a Visa Application Centre (VAC).
- Once submitted, check your profile for any updates to the status of your application.
Processing starts once the applicant has submitted all required documents, including biometrics. When the application is being processed, IRCC may ask the applicant to attend an interview with an officer, or send more documents or information. IRCC will contact the applicant to request supporting documents and the applicant will have 30 days from the date they are contacted to submit any requested information.