The date to remember for employers in Montreal recruiting internationally is 9 January 2023. The International Experience Canada (IEC) program will be opening for a new season, with 20% more places available.
The program enables young talent from 36 countries to obtain a work permit valid for 12 to 24 months with the advantage of a facilitated process.
About International Experience Canada
Canada has negotiated mobility agreements with 36 countries as part of the IEC program. These agreements enable young talent from these countries to obtain their work permits, and therefore to settle in Canada, for an initial period of between 12 and 24 months.
Three participation categories
The Working Holiday Visa is the best known of the IEC permits. This is an open work permit, which does not require any intervention from a Canadian employer. This process involves being drawn from a pool and does not offer any guarantee of obtaining a permit.
The IEC program includes two other categories of work permits. These are less known, but with many advantages, the Young Professional and International Co-Op Internship permits require the applicant to hold a job offer from a Canadian employer.
The applicant will get an employer-specific permit, one to be able to complete an internship in their study area, and the other for international professional experience.
2023: An important year for IEC
The IEC is a seasonal program using quotas, usually available nine months of the year, and which delivers 7500 permits each season.
For 2023, the program will open at the beginning of January, and should enable the issuing of 90 000 work permits, a 20% increase in the number of talent able to work in Canada!
What are the talents being recruited with International Experience Canada?
There are numerous French, German, Belgian, or Italian nationals who benefit from the International Experience Canada program each year.
Yet they are far from being the only nationals to participate in the program. In total, 36 nationalities qualify for the IEC, notably, Croatian, Taiwanese, New Zealand, and Korean nationals.
Conditions for participating in the program, together with the category of work permit available, vary from country to country according to the agreements made with Canada. If candidates between the ages of 30 and 35 can normally take part in the program, the duration of the permit, as well as the possibility to renew it, can differ.
For example, a French national between the ages of 18 and 35, can obtain a Young Professional work permit with a duration of 24 months, non-renewable within the same category. He/She can take part in the IEC a second time by obtaining an International Co-op internship work permit. However, it is not possible to cumulate a Young Professional permit and a Working Holiday Visa.
In comparison, Italian nationals aged between 18 and 35, can, since 2022, obtain a Young Professional work permit for 12 months, renewable for a further 12 months.
A facilitated process
The International Experience Canada program allows the issue of a work permit exempted from a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).
For the Young Professional and International Co-Op Internship work permits, a job offer, on the IRCC employer portal, is sufficient, thus reducing the administrative procedures for the employer, and the government fees to $230.
The processing period, which is identical for all participants in the program, is also attractive. It varies from 5 to 8 weeks from the date of the biometric data collection.
The IEC program: a reflex to have?
Whatever the situation, it needs to be analysed before any work permit application, in order to decide on the best option.
Because of the large number of countries concerned by the IEC, when starting a work permit application, it is a good idea to have the reflex of checking if your talent is a citizen of one of the countries benefitting from the IEC programs.
The result of this analysis can also be to exclude using the IEC program. Indeed, depending on the nationality of the candidate, the maximum duration of the permit obtained using this program is 12 to 24 months. Under other types of work permits, the initial duration can be 36 months.
The stakes for the employer, as well as the situation of the foreign worker, will help determine the best-adapted immigration program.
The present article was updated on 12 December 2022.