WHAT IS THE IEC?
The IEC, or International Exchange Canada, is a program which allows young people to work and travel around Canada, due to bilateral agreements with countries throughout the world.
There are three main programs that are part of IEC – Working Holiday, Young Professional and International Co-op Internship.
- Working Holiday: The Working Holiday program allows travellers to work and travel temporarily in Canada. This program is a great option for someone who wants to see Canada while earning some money along the way. For more info, see our ‘Working Holiday’ section.
- Young Professional: This program provides professional Canadian work experience and allows people to learn new ways of doing business, experience another country and language, increase their career opportunities and ultimately compete in the global economy.
- International Co-op Internship: This program is aimed towards students who wish to complete an internship in Canada, as part of their studies. The internship should be in their field of study.
Although Canada has IEC agreements with many countries – including most of Europe – it’s best to check if your country of citizenship allows you to take part in the IEC. Eligibility requirements vary and are specific to each country. You can check if you and your country are eligible on Citizenship & Immigration Canada (CIC).
There is a limited amount of IEC visas available per country, and applicants are selected randomly through a pool system.
How to Apply
The process for applying for an IEC visa is as follows:
- Determine your eligibility – use the Come to Canada tool on the CIC website.
- If eligible, you will be able to set up your MyCIC account online and subsequently your IEC profile.
- Once complete, submit your IEC profile. Your application will be submitted into a pool.
- CIC will regularly issue invitations to candidates in the pools. If you are issued an invitation to apply, you will have 10 days to accept the invitation.
- If you accept the invitation, you will have 20 days to submit complete, pay and submit your work permit application.
- If your application is successful, you will receive a letter of introduction (LOI) in your MyCIC account, also called a Port of Entry (POE) Introduction Letter. This letter must be presented to immigration authorities in Canada upon arrival in the country.
As the process to apply for IEC can be time-consuming and at times complicated, it is very common for individuals to use a recognised organisation to assist them with their application.
For more information on applying for IEC, see the CIC website.