International Experience Canada (IEC)

International Experience Canada (IEC) is a reciprocal program that gives youth the opportunity to travel and work in Canada for up to 2 years. Young adults aged 18 to 35 can participate in the program under the following categories:

  • Working Holiday (open work permit)
  • Young Professional (employer-specific "closed" work permit for jobs contributing to professional development)
  • International co-op (employer-specific work permit for student internship terms)

Who Can Apply

Citizens of partner countries may be able to apply to one or more of these three categories. Citizens of other countries may still be able to apply to the IEC program through a Recognized Organization (RO). 

The number of participations and length of work permit depend on the applicant's country of citizenship. While some countries allow repeat participations in the same or a different category, others are limited to one participation. The length of work permit under the IEC program can vary from 6 months to 2 years depending on the country's bilateral agreement with Canada. As an example, Italy's agreement has recently been revised and Italian citizens aged 18 to 35 (inclusive) can now participate twice, under any category, for up to 12 months per participation. 

To participate, candidates need to create a profile in their country's IEC pools, and receive an invitation to apply (ITA). Throughout the season, IRCC will regularly issue invitations to candidates in the pool. It is the luck of the draw - all eligible candidates in the pool have the same chances of receiving an ITA. Pools are now open, and the first round of invitations will be on January 9, 2023. Each country's pool is allocated a certain number of spots, with special allocations for ROs. To learn more about the numbers of candidates in the pool, available spots and the chances of receiving an invitation to apply, click here.

 Application process at a glance

Residence Requirements

The following IEC partner countries have a so-called residence requirement:

  • Belgium
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Hong Kong
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Korea
  • Latvia
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Slovakia
  • Spain
  • Sweden

Applicants from these countries must provide a permanent mailing address in their country of citizenship even if their current residential address is elsewhere. In addition, Italian citizens must also provide a residence certificate ("certificato di residenza").


Countries that allow more than one participation in the IEC program may require a break between the expiry date of the first Canadian work permit under IEC and the submission date of the second IEC work permit application. This is known as a discontinuance requirement, i.e. a specific length of discontinuous stay between two IEC participations as specified in the country's bilateral agreement with Canada. Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico, Poland, Slovakia, and Spain have a discontinuance requirement ranging from 3 months to 3 years. 


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