Applications for International Experience Canada open

Ottawa offers up 90,000 spots for international youth to work in Canada

Applications for International Experience Canada open

Employers in need of staff now have access to young workers of various backgrounds thanks to an annual government program.

Ottawa has officially started accepting applications from young workers internationally, with nearly 90,000 slots available in the International Experience Canada (IEC) program. 

"Our government supports international youth to work and travel in Canada, effectively helping employers find the workers they need,” said Sean Fraser, minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship. “By giving youth the opportunity to gain international travel and work experience, we are strengthening our economy and creating a win-win solution for everyone involved."

The program will give employers access to 2,000 more young workers and is well-timed given the fact that Canadian employers anticipate a “brisk” hiring climate for the first quarter of 2023, according to a Manpower report.

Three categories for young workers

The program is open to international youth who have expressed interest in gaining work and travel experience in Canada. Those who are already in the IEC pool will begin receiving invitations to apply for their work permit.

Young workers can participate through three categories:

  • Working Holiday: participants receive an open work permit that allows them to work anywhere in the host country to support their travels.
  • International Co-op (Internship): participants receive an employer-specific work permit that allows students to gain targeted experience in their field of study.
  • Young Professionals: participants receive an employer-specific work permit to gain targeted, professional work experience that is within their field of study or career path.

While Canadian youth can apply for the program year-round, international candidates can only apply at certain times of the year. On Dec. 19, 2022, the IEC pools opened to allow international youth to create an online profile.

In November, Ottawa started accepting applications from not-for-profit organizations, public sector employers and private sector companies, with 50 or fewer full-time employees, for funding to hire young Canadians next summer.

Partner countries

Canada has youth mobility arrangements with 36 countries and foreign territories through the IEC program, which allows youth from Canada's partner countries to work and travel in Canada for up to two years. The age of participants ranges from 18 to 35, depending on their country.

"Many sectors and regions in Canada are facing labour shortages. This is why supporting more international youth to visit and work in Canada will help Canadian businesses,” said Carla Qualtrough, minister of employment, workforce development and disability inclusion. “The International Experience Canada program will support Canadian employers by offering international youth the opportunity to experience Canada while gaining valuable work experience."

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