Two young people kayaking on a lake in Canada

The International Experience Canada (IEC) program has reopened for the 2017 season, giving citizens of 32 countries that have a reciprocal agreement with Canada the opportunity to live and work in Canada on a temporary basis. As of 10 a.m. EST on Monday, October 17, 2016, eligible candidates are able to create a profile and enter the pool for their country and category.

The IEC program is divided into three categories: Working Holiday, Young Professionals, and International Co-op.

Depending on a candidate's country of citizenship and personal circumstances, more than one of these categories may be available to the candidate.

Over recent years, the IEC program has proved widely popular among international youth. Many individuals who come to Canada on an IEC work permit end up staying longer, sometimes permanently, once they get a taste for all that Canada has to offer. Other IEC participants take the opportunity to travel to various parts of Canada over the course of their IEC participation.

IEC program for 2017

Eligible candidates may create a profile, after which they may receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for an open work permit. The new IEC application system that came into effect last year for the 2016 season is being retained for 2017. Under this system, the program operates on an Expression of Interest/Invitation to Apply model. Eligible candidates may create an IEC profile, but must receive an ITA before they may submit an application. However, unlike the ITA-based system used in certain other programs (such as Express Entry), there is no ranking system involved. In effect, every candidate in a given pool has an equal chance of being issued an ITA in any round of invitations (also known as 'draws'). Therefore, interested individuals are advised to enter their given pool as early as possible, thereby exposing them to a greater number of draws and increasing their chances of being issued an ITA.

At this time, the dates of the first rounds of invitations for each country and category, along with the quotas, have not yet been announced.

Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) oversees the IEC program. The department provides a minimum of five days notice before the final rounds of invitations for any given country and category, prior to the closing of a pool at the end of a season.

IRCC typically processes complete applications within eight weeks.

IEC categories

  • Working Holiday

Participants in this IEC category can receive an open work permit, valid for one to 24 months (depending on the participant's country of citizenship). Open work permits allow participants to work anywhere in Canada for almost any Canadian employer.

  • Young Professionals

Under this category, participants can gain valuable international experience by working for a Canadian company. A signed job offer letter or contract of employment with a Canadian employer related to the applicant’s professional development is required before applying.The job offered must be classified as a National Occupation Code (NOC) Skill Type Level 0, A, or B.

  • International Co-op

The International Co-op category allows citizens of participating countries who are enrolled at a post-secondary institution in their country of citizenship to spend a period of time as an intern with a Canadian company. Participants must arrange co-op placements with Canadian employers before applying. Applicants must be registered students for the duration of the internship.

IEC Overview for 2017 season

Country Working Holiday Young Professionals International Co-op (Internship) Age Limit 2017 Opening Date (DD/MM/YY)
Australia Up to 24 months Up to 24 months Up to 12 months 18-30 17/10/16
Austria N/A Up to 12 months Up to 6 months 18-35 17/10/16
Belgium Up to 12 months N/A N/A 18-30 17/10/16
Chile Up to 12 months Up to 12 months Up to 12 months 18-35 17/10/16
Costa Rica Up to 12 months Up to 12 months Up to 12 months 18-35 17/10/16
Croatia Up to 12 months Up to 12 months Up to 12 months 18-35 17/10/16
Czech Republic Up to 12 months Up to 12 months Up to 12 months 18-35 17/10/16
Denmark Up to 12 months N/A N/A 18-35 17/10/16
Estonia Up to 12 months Up to 12 months Up to 12 months 18-35 17/10/16
France* Up to 24 months Up to 24 months Up to 12 months 18-35 17/10/16
Germany Up to 12 months Up to 12 months Up to 12 months 18-35 17/10/16
Greece Up to 12 months Up to 12 months Up to 12 months 18-35 17/10/16
Hong Kong Up to 12 months N/A N/A 18-30 17/10/16
Ireland Up to 24 months Up to 24 months Up to 12 months 18-35 17/10/16
Italy Up to 12 months (of which up to six months may be paid employment) N/A N/A 18-35 17/10/16
Japan Up to 12 months N/A N/A 18-30 17/10/16
Korea Up to 12 months N/A N/A 18-30 17/10/16
Latvia Up to 12 months Up to 12 months Up to 12 months 18-35 17/10/16
Lithuania Up to 12 months Up to 12 months Up to 12 months 18-35 17/10/16
Mexico Up to 12 months Up to 12 months Up to 12 months 18-29 "The youth mobility agreement between Canada and Mexico is currently under review. As a result, the pools are not open."
Netherlands Up to 12 months Up to 12 months N/A 18-30 17/10/16
New Zealand Up to 23 months N/A N/A 18-35 17/10/16
Norway Up to 12 months Up to 12 months Up to 12 months 18-35 17/10/16
Poland Up to 12 months Up to 12 months Up to 12 months 18-35 17/10/16
Slovakia Up to 12 months Up to 12 months Up to 12 months 18-35 17/10/16
Slovenia Up to 12 months Up to 12 months Up to 12 months 18-35 17/10/16
Spain Up to 12 months Up to 12 months Up to 12 months 18-35 17/10/16
Sweden Up to 12 months Up to 12 months Up to 12 months 18-30 17/10/16
Switzerland N/A Up to 18 months Up to 12 months 18-35 17/10/16
Taiwan Up to 12 months Up to 12 months Up to 12 months 18-35 17/10/16
Ukraine Up to 12 months Up to 12 months Up to 12 months 18-35 "The youth mobility agreement between Canada and Ukraine is currently under review. As a result, the pools are not open."
United Kingdom Up to 24 months N/A N/A 18-30 17/10/16

*Citizens can participate in special IEC student summer job initiatives exclusive to their country.

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

To discuss the IEC application process with other individuals and to learn more about working in Canada, join the CanadaVisa Immigration Forum.