Great alternative to the Work and Travel program in Canada

Great alternative to the Work and Travel program in Canada

The International Experience Canada program gives foreigners between the ages of 18 and 35 the opportunity to work in Canada for up to two years.

The International Experience Canada (IEC) program is designed for foreign nationals from 36 countries between the ages of 18 and 35 who wish to live and work temporarily in Canada.


International Experience Canada selects candidates through three categories:

1. Working Holiday

Under this category, open work permits are issued, which are valid for 1 to 24 months (depending on the candidate's country of citizenship). With an open work permit, foreigners can work throughout Canada for most Canadian employers. No offer of employment in Canada is required to apply.

2. Young Professionals

Under this category are employer-specific work permits, which allow you to work for the same employer at the same location for the duration of your stay in Canada

A job offer from a Canadian employer is required to apply. The job you are offered in Canada must be seen as contributing to your "professional development.

The job offered must be in a TEER 0, 1, 2, or 3 occupation according to the NOC classification. Work in a TEER 4 occupation may be allowed if you provide proof of higher education when applying for a work permit. Your diploma must be translated into English or French.

3. International Co-op Internship

Under this category, employer-specific work permits are issued, which allow you to work for the same employer at the same location for the duration of your stay in Canada.

Candidates in this category must be enrolled at an institution of higher education in their home country and have a job or internship offer with a Canadian company.

A job or internship in Canada must be a prerequisite for completing studies in the applicant's home country, so the internship must be directly related to the applicant's field of study.

How to apply

Cost of participation in the IEC: from $161 CAD.

Processing time: 7 weeks.

To apply, candidates have two options:

You can check out the official video guide that walks you through the application process and helps you avoid common mistakes.

If you're not sure if you're eligible or if you don't have an account, take the survey. If you qualify for International Experience Canada, you will be asked to create an account after you complete the questionnaire. Create one, fill out the required forms, and post it.

Once published, the profile falls into a pool of one of the above categories. The category depends on the candidate's country of citizenship and the categories of work permits available for that country.

For example, Ukrainian citizens can apply for all three categories (Working Holiday, Young Professionals, International Co-op Internship), and Japanese citizens can apply for the Working Holiday category. See the list of countries which citizens can participate in the IEC.

Citizens from countries that are not on the list of countries whose citizens can apply directly to International Experience Canada can use the support of specific organizations to participate in the youth exchange program. These organizations include AIESEC Canada, GO International, and others.

Publishing your profile does not mean that you have applied for a work permit. You must now wait for an invitation from Canada to apply for a work permit.

If you receive an Invitation to Apply, you will be notified in your profile. The message will include your category and instructions on how to proceed.

You will have 10 days to decide if you accept the invitation. If you accept the invitation, you will have only 20 days to fill out the forms, upload supporting documents, and apply for a work permit. It is recommended that you prepare all documents in advance!

What documents will be needed:

  • proof of financial support;
  • proof of passing a medical examination;
  • health insurance;
  • certificate of no criminal record;
  • CV;
  • passport;
  • digital photo;
  • information about the composition of the family.

Keep in mind that only fully vaccinated program participants can come to Canada at the moment. The exception to this rule is employees of agriculture, marine vessels and employees who work with medical equipment and carry out medical supplies.

Other documents may also be required. After accepting the Invitation to Apply, you will receive a personalized list of required documents.

In your profile, you will have to pay the fees with your bank card.

You will also need to submit biometric information for travel to Canada if you have not submitted it before. There is an additional fee of $85 for biometrics.

How to stay in Canada under the program

After receiving 1 year of work experience in Canada, a youth exchange participant is eligible to immigrate under the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) program.

Youth Exchange Program participants may also be eligible for immigration under the federal Federal Skilled Worker Class or Federal Skilled Trades Class programs.

Work experience gained through a youth exchange program can help increase a candidate's chances of receiving an invitation to Express Entry, as Canadian work experience can earn high points in the Express Entry profile.

To learn more about the International Experience Canada program, visit the official Canadian government website.

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