Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”) has announced that the International Experience Canada (“IEC”) program will re-open on December 9, 2019. From this date, persons wanting to access the program may submit an online profile to IRCC. The program will then complete random draws, by country. Applicants drawn and issued an ‘Invitation to Apply’ may apply for the program, following the timeline and requirements set out by IRCC. Application fees have increased and are now $153 CAD per application, in comparison to the previous fee of $150 CAD.
In order to participate in the IEC program, an applicant’s country of citizenship must have entered into an IEC Agreement with Canada. If the Applicant’s home country does not have this agreement with Canada, the Applicant may be able to use a recognized organization to access the program. For example, US citizens cannot participate directly in the IEC program. However, they are able to participate by using a recognized organization, such as SWAP.
Each country and recognized organization have their own criteria that the applicant must meet, such as: age, number of participations, and which program(s) applicants may qualify under. The minimum age requirement for participation is 18 and in most cases, applicants are eligible for a work permit of at least 12 months. The maximum age of participation is 30 to 35, depending on the country.
The IEC program has three categories available: Working Holiday, Young Professional and International Co-op. Not all countries offer all three categories. Applicants who participate under the working holiday category will receive an open work permit which they can use to work at essentially any job in Canada, in any province. Applicants who participate in the young professional category or the international co-op program will receive an employer-specific work permit. For those categories, the applicant must have pre-arranged employment in Canada. The Canadian employer would need to complete the online Offer of Employment to a Foreign National Exempt from an LMIA and pay the required $230 compliance fee. The employer would then provide the applicant with a copy of the Offer of Employment ‘A number’ and the payment receipt, which the applicant would then submit to IRCC with their IEC application. If applying under the young professional category, applicants must ensure the position they are offered in Canada is high skilled. A semi-skilled level position may be considered in some instances. We note that for international co-op’s, the position must be directly related to the student’s field of studies.
The IEC program can be very helpful to companies when hiring young foreign workers in Canada, especially in situations where an LMIA may not be suitable.
If you have any questions about this topic or any other questions relating to workplace law, please do not hesitate to contact a Mathews Dinsdale lawyer.