Did you know that the International Experience Canada (IEC) program is one of the most popular immigration programs that Canada has available to avid travellers from various parts of the world? Over 80,000 invitations have been issued this season so far. This is probably because it affords young people the opportunity to explore Canada, gain valuable Canadian work experience and grow in their careers.

This excellent program allows the country to showcase its fantastic job opportunities, resources and even vacation spots. While the program only grants you temporary residence, it's sure to convince you to extend your stay in Canada. So, let's dive deeper into International Experience Canada - What Makes This Such a Popular Program?

International Experience Canada- What is It?

Canada markets this program as a work and travel opportunity. There are three programs within this category:

  • Working Holiday
  • Young Professionals
  • International Internships

Here’s How To Apply:

Step 1: Become a candidate for IEC

Meeting the requirements for any visa has to be your first step. Whether you qualify or not depends on which program you're applying to. For example, if you're applying for a Working Holiday, you don't need a job offer. However, you will if you're going for the Young Professionals pool.

Step 2: Gather your documents

Supporting documents are crucial for the visa process. You'll have to do a language test, get your biometrics taken, and get medical and police clearance certificates. You also might need to get documents from your employers like a valid work offer.

Step 3: Submit an online profile

You can apply for this great program online. First, you'll have to fill in all your essential details and choose a pool to submit your application. Then, if you're successful, you'll get an Invitation to Apply (ITA), your ticket to Canada. It means you meet the requirements the government wants, and then you can:

Step 4: Get a Canada work permit

A valid IEC Invitation to apply doesn't automatically afford you the right to work in Canada. However, you can apply for a Canada work permit with your documentation so you can work while you travel the marvellous country. You'll have 20 days to do this before you have to:

Step 5: Submit Your documentation

The final step is to gather all those documents you acquired and submit them before the deadline. You’ll receive a letter which you need to present at a Canadian Port of Entry (POE) as an airport, a harbour or a border crossing. This letter will allow you to get your visa and enter the country. How long your visa is valid depends on the country you’re coming from. Some visas only last six months, while others last 24. On average, most visas are 12 months, so that you can stay in Canada for up to a year.

But, Why Choose International Experience Canada?

What makes the IEC such a popular program? Firstly, it caters to more than just one group of young people.

With the Working Holiday Visa, the idea of working and travelling simultaneously is sure to be why so many young people choose to apply for this visa. Canada is a vast country so travelling can be really expensive. You'll have to have a hefty bank account to travel solely on savings. But, if you work while you travel, you can continuously support yourself, make connections and see the country in all its glory.

Working Holiday Visas also provide you with an open work permit- how amazing is that? Open work permits allow you to work anywhere in Canada for any employer (within legal limits).

For Young professionals, the benefits lie with developing your professional career. Many people want to experience working outside of their home country. Canada is a great place to build your career and gain valuable experience. While applicants here have to stay working for the same employer, it's good to stick to one employer while still climbing the career ladder. This program is an attractive choice because to qualify, it must be full-time, paid work, which means you'll be earning Canadian dollars and living in Canada.

Finally, let's look at the international Co-op (internship) option. This is an excellent opportunity for students who haven't even graduated yet. If you're registered at a university or college and have a job internship in Canada to further your studies and advance your career, you can apply for this program. Your work will be directly linked to your studies, expanding your studies into an adventure abroad in Canada.

What’s the Downside?

If these programs are so great and popular, why doesn't every young person apply? Unfortunately, this program is only for certain partner countries. Canada and the countries listed below have set agreements that allow international travel between the two to be easier. It's called a Youth Mobility Agreement, and it's been put in place to give young people the opportunity to move around the world and experience new cultures, see new cities and live different lives while working and contributing to the economy.

  1. Australia
  2. Austria
  3. Belgium
  4. Chile
  5. Costa Rica
  6. Croatia
  7. Czech Republic
  8. Denmark
  9. Estonia
  10. France
  11. Germany
  12. Greece
  13. Hong Kong
  14. Ireland
  15. Italy
  16. Japan
  17. Korea, Rep.
  18. Latvia
  19. Lithuania
  20. Luxembourg
  21. Mexico
  22. Netherlands
  23. New Zealand
  24. Norway
  25. Poland
  26. Portugal
  27. San Marino
  28. Slovakia
  29. Slovenia
  30. Spain
  31. Sweden
  32. Switzerland
  33. Taiwan
  34. Ukraine
  35. United Kingdom

If you are a lucky citizen or permanent resident of one of these countries, you can apply for a Working Holiday Visa, Young Professional Program or Internship.

Further, this program doesn't last forever. It's a temporary visa, and while some countries allow you to apply multiple times, many countries have a once-off policy, meaning you can't extend your stay through one of these programs.

Canada needs young people with Canadian work experience, and the government will try and retain you, especially after you feel you've integrated into the community. That's why there are other ways for you to stay in the country on a more permanent basis. For example, you can apply for a temporary work visa or Canadian permanent residency through the Canadian Experience Class, which allows you to apply for PR status after a year of Canadian work experience.

One of the main reasons International Experience Canada (IEC) is so popular is because it affords young people fantastic opportunities to earn, travel and gain experience while being on a valid Canada work permit. There are great options to immigrate if and when you realize how amazing Canada is.