There are scenarios where Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) may allow IEC work permit holders to increase the validity period of their work permit to reach the maximum validity period allowed within a specific category.

As a rule, no work permit extensions are authorized under the IEC program. However, IEC participants may be able to increase the validity period of their work permits beyond what was initially granted to them by the border services officer at a port of entry. These scenarios are outlined below.

Under the International Experience Canada (IEC) program, youth from certain countries that have a bilateral agreement with Canada may work in Canada for up to 24 months, depending on the worker's country of citizenship and the IEC category the work permit was issued under.

Click on any scenario below to view all the relevant information relating to that scenario.

If the border services officer at the port of entry issued a work permit for a shorter period than what was indicated in the Global Case Management System (GCMS) remarks, the IEC participant may be able to have this error corrected. For example, IEC work permits issued under the Working Holiday category to Irish or Australian citizens may be valid for up to 24 months, whereas IEC work permits issued under the same category to German citizens may be valid for up to 12 months. However, the visa officer may err and issue an Irish or Australian participant with a work permit that is less than 24 months in validity. (Note: These are just examples. For a full list of participating countries, categories, and work permit validity, click here.

If such an error is made, and the participant's passport validity covers the entire period (24 months), and he or she has health insurance coverage for the entire period and has met all medical requirements, the following steps may be taken:

  • Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will allow the participant to submit an application to amend the validity period of his or her work permit up to the maximum duration allowed under the bilateral agreement or arrangement.
  • Participants should send a paper application to the Case Processing Centre in Vegreville (CPC-V) using the guide 5553, Applying to Change Conditions or Extend Your Stay in Canada – Worker.

Under this scenario, the employer (if applicable) is not required to submit a new offer of employment and pay the employer compliance fee. The IEC participant remains exempt from having to pay the work permit processing fees and participation fees.

If the validity period of the offer of employment is 24 months, and the participant's private health insurance policy covers the 24 months, but he or she was issued a work permit of shorter duration to match the validity period of the passport, then:

  • IRCC will allow the participant to submit an application to amend the validity period of his or her work permit up to the maximum duration allowed under the bilateral agreement or arrangement on presentation of a new passport.
  • Participants should send a paper application to the Case Processing Centre in Vegreville (CPC-V) using the guide 5553, Applying to Change Conditions or Extend Your Stay in Canada – Worker.

Under this scenario the employer (if applicable) is required to submit a new offer of employment and pay the employer compliance fee. The IEC participant remains exempt from having to pay the work permit processing fees and participation fees.

If the participant was issued a work permit with a validity period that matches the validity period of his or her health insurance, which is shorter than the validity period in the offer of employment or, in the case of an open work permit issued under the Working Holiday category, shorter than the duration indicated in the Global Case Management System (GCMS) remarks, then:

  • IRCC will not allow the participant to submit an application to amend the validity period of his or her work permit up to the maximum duration allowed under the bilateral agreement.
  • The applicant failed to obtain travel insurance that fully covers his or her anticipated stay, as stipulated in his or her letter of introduction; therefore, the work permit application will automatically be denied.
  • The IEC participant cannot increase the validity period of his or her work permit. If he or she receives a work permit with a shorter validity period due to the length of his or her insurance coverage, he or she is not eligible to apply to increase the validity period of the work permit at a later date.
  • He or she may be able to create a new IEC profile for a second participation if
    • his or her country of citizenship allows multiple participations; and
    • he or she still meets IEC eligibility criteria.
  • The participant may also be able to apply for a work permit outside the IEC Program under another program, which may or may not be exempt from the requirement to obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment. Applications for another work permit should be submitted at least 30 days before the participant's IEC work permit expires in order to apply from within Canada.

In some cases, the validity period of the offer of employment is shorter than the maximum duration allowed under the bilateral agreement or arrangement, but the IEC participant was issued a work permit with a duration that corresponds with the offer of employment.

In such a scenario, the participant may then receive a new offer of employment from the same employer for the same location and same duties to extend his or her employer-specific work permit (same conditions of the initial offer of employment) to reach the maximum validity period allowed in the bilateral agreement or arrangement. (Note: This scenario is not applicable to the Working Holiday category, under which open work permits are issued rather than employer-specific work permits.)

  • This is an application for an increase in the length of validity of the participant’s work permit allowed under the bilateral agreement or arrangement.
  • IRCC will allow the participant to submit an application to amend the validity period of his or her work permit up to the maximum duration allowed under the bilateral agreement or arrangement.
  • The IEC participant is permitted to increase the validity period of his or her work permit to the maximum validity period allowed under the bilateral agreement or arrangement only once per participation.
  • The IEC participant must provide proof that he or she has full health insurance coverage for the entire duration that they are applying for (this additional coverage may be purchased after arrival).
  • The IEC participant can increase the validity period of his or her work permit if he or she stays with the same employer to reach the maximum duration allowed under the bilateral agreement or arrangement.
  • This is an extension within the participation and counts as the same participation.
  • Any new participation must be applied for in the regular manner by submitting a profile to the pool and waiting for an Invitation to Apply.
  • The applicant is responsible for restoring his or her status, if required, and paying the appropriate processing fees.

Under this scenario, the employer is required to submit a new offer of employment and pay the employer compliance fee. The IEC participant remains exempt from having to pay work permit fees and participation fees.

In this scenario, the validity period of the offer of employment is shorter than the maximum duration allowed under the bilateral agreement or arrangement. The IEC participant was issued a work permit with a duration that corresponds with the offer of employment. Furthermore, the participant receives a new offer of employment from the same employer but to work at a different address (office) or in a different city, province or territory, and wants to extend his or employer-specific work permit (with the same duties and company but at a different address) to reach the maximum validity period allowed in the bilateral agreement or arrangement. (Note: This scenario is not applicable to the Working Holiday category, under which open work permits are issued rather than employer-specific work permits.)

  • IRCC will not allow the participantt to submit an application to amend the validity period of his or her work permit up to the maximum duration allowed under the bilateral agreement or arrangement.
  • This is a change of condition in the IEC participation. Changing location but keeping the same employer and duties is seen as a new participation, as the IEC participant’s work permit is issued for a specific employer, at a specific location.
  • The participant may be able to create a new IEC profile for a second participation if
    • his or her country of citizenship allows multiple participations; and
    • he or she still meets IEC eligibility criteria.
  • The participant may also be able to apply for a work permit outside the IEC Program under another program, which may or may not be exempt from the requirement to obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment. Applications for another work permit should be submitted at least 30 days before the participant's IEC work permit expires in order to apply from within Canada.

If the participant applied for a new LMIA-exempt work permit, the new employer is required to submit a new offer of employment and pay the employer compliance fee. The participant must pay the applicable work permit processing fees if he or she applies for a work permit application outside the IEC Program.

If you have any questions about participating in the IEC Program or increasing the validity of an IEC work permit, please send an enquiry to wp@canadavisa.com. A work permit expert will get back to you.

Individuals who have lived and worked in Canada through the IEC program, intend to do so in the future, or are doing so now may fill out a free assessment form that evaluates eligibility for permanent residence across the various Canadian immigration programs.

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