Home Canada Federal Immigration Program Guide to Bilateral Agreements with International Experience Canada (IEC) Program

Guide to Bilateral Agreements with International Experience Canada (IEC) Program

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The International Experience Canada (IEC) Program is a unique opportunity facilitated by bilateral agreements and arrangements that allow young individuals from different countries to explore work and travel experiences in Canada. This program is a part of Canada’s International Mobility Program (IMP) and operates under the specific conditions set by reciprocal agreements with participating countries. Here’s a detailed breakdown of what you need to know:

IEC Program Categories:

  1. Working Holiday: This category allows participants to obtain an open work permit, enabling them to work for any employer in Canada. It’s ideal for those looking to fund their travel and exploration of the country.
  2. Young Professionals: Aimed at career development, this category provides an employer-specific work permit, allowing participants to gain professional experience in Canada relevant to their career path.
  3. International Co-op (Internship): This is tailored for students seeking to gain work experience in their field of study through an internship in Canada, with an employer-specific work permit.

Key Requirements and Procedures:

  • Medical Requirements: Participants may need to undergo an immigration medical exam (IME) depending on their country of origin and the specific requirements outlined in the IEC program delivery instructions.
  • Police Certificate Requirements: While not always mandatory, applicants from certain countries may be asked to provide a police certificate. Additionally, applicants who have lived outside their country of permanent residence for six months or more since turning 18 must provide police certificates from each country or territory where they resided.
  • Residence Requirements: Applicants must provide a permanent mailing address in their country of citizenship. For example, Italian participants must supply a “certificato di residenza” to prove residence in Italy, translated into English or French if necessary.
  • Discontinuance Requirements: There are specific rules about the time required between participations in the IEC program, calculated from the expiry of the first work permit. These rules ensure participants do not continuously stay in Canada under the IEC without the required breaks.
  • Application Process: Applications for IEC work permits must be submitted from outside Canada. These applications do not qualify for maintained status for an extension under subsection 183(5) of the IRPR or for working without a permit under paragraph R186(u).

Country-Specific Requirements:

Each participating country has unique requirements and quotas under its bilateral agreement with Canada. These agreements define the eligibility criteria, number of spots available annually, and specific conditions for participants from those countries.

Action Steps for Prospective Applicants:

  1. Identify Your Category: Determine which IEC category aligns with your goals – Working Holiday, Young Professionals, or International Co-op.
  2. Check Eligibility: Ensure you meet the specific requirements for your country under the IEC program, including age limits and educational qualifications.
  3. Prepare Documentation: Gather necessary documents, including medical exams and police certificates, as per the requirements outlined for your chosen category and country.
  4. Stay Informed: Regularly check for updates on the IEC program and your specific country’s requirements to stay abreast of any changes.

The IEC program offers a fantastic gateway for young people worldwide to experience Canada’s diverse culture and work environment while contributing to their personal and professional growth. By understanding the detailed aspects of the program and preparing thoroughly, participants can embark on an enriching international adventure in Canada.

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