How to get a Canadian IEC Visa

Canada Visa Approved with Rubber Stamp and flag

Canadian IEC visas give the opportunity for young people around the world to travel and work in Canada.

When applying for a Working Holiday Visa in Canada, IEC Young Professionals and International Co-Ops you must apply through pools and categories.

The pools and categories for the 2020 IEC program opened on 11 December 2019.

The best way to get a visa is to check the IEC page of your country religiously. Sounds ridiculous but if you want to be sure of a place you should check your relevant IEC page daily.

In previous years, a police cert was needed in order to apply. However, it is much easier to apply nowadays. Prospective travellers can either apply themselves directly through the Government of Canada website or, if you would like some help with your application, you can contact a visa agent like Visa First.

The system that is currently used by IEC Canada allows people to become a candidate at any stage before work permits in their pool can run out.

It is important to note some resources before leaving for Canada.

How to participate in the Canadian IEC program

  • Your country or territory of citizenship must have an agreement with Canada that allows you to apply for an IEC visa
  • It is possible to apply through a recognized organization

You must meet the eligibility requirements for your country and the pool you’re applying for.

Some nationalities are only entitled to apply once, as that’s the agreement Canada has with that country.

While with other nationalities it is possible to participate twice but in different pools. As each country is different, it’s important to check to see if you’re eligible to apply.

Depending on the country, the following documents are required to apply

  • Proof of financial support
  • Medical exams
  • Health insurance
  • Police certificates
  • A complete up to date version of your CV/resume
  • Passport
  • Digital photo
  • Family information
  • eTA or visitor visa
  • International Co-op (Internship) applicants
  • Applicants using recognized organizations
  • UIE applicants

Working Holiday

This category is for you if:

  • You have not received a job offer yet
  • Your plan is to work for more than one employer while in Canada
  • You plan on working in more than just one location
  • Your plan is to earn and save some money in order to be able to travel

The type of work permit provided for a working holiday is an open work permit.

Young Professionals

This category is for you if:

  • You have a job offer in Canada that will contribute to your professional development
  • Your plan is to work for the same employer and in the same location while you are staying in Canada

Under this category, you must not be participating in self-employed work; it must be paid work.

The work permit you will receive in the Young Professionals category is an employer-specific work permit.

Your employer must meet all labour laws in the province or territory.

International Co-op (Internship)

The Internship visa allows you to receive valuable overseas work experience related to your field of study.

This category is best suited for you if:

  • You are registered at a post-secondary institution
  • You have been offered a work placement or internship in Canada
  • It is a requirement to do this work placement or internship in order to complete your studies
  • You are going to be working for the same employer in the same location during your stay in Canada

If working in the International Co-op (Internship) category the type of work permit you will receive is an employer-specific work permit.

Wages must follow the labour laws in the province or territory you will be working in.

The big thing to remember is that regardless of what a travel agent or working holiday company says to you, they cannot guarantee you a visa. Nobody can!

Once you’ve entered the pool of candidates, it is possible that you could be in the pool for several weeks or months before you receive an ITA (Invitation to Apply), and you have completed your work permit application and paid relevant fees, the IRCC standard length to process the applications is eight weeks.

The process can take longer if you don’t provide the additional documents requested or when your application is incomplete.

Although as mentioned above the best way to ensure you get your visa is to check your country’s IEC page regularly and follow their instructions.

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