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International Experience Class (IEC) | Working in Canada

International Experience Canada (IEC)

The IEC program is designed to allow younger individuals between the ages of 18 - 35 come to Canada and work on a temporary basis (1 or 2 years)

Citizens from specific countries that have a bilateral youth mobility arrangement with Canada, or countries that are supported by a Recognized Organization (RO), are eligible to obtain a Work Permit to work in Canada. See the list of eligible countries here

The IEC program has three caegories:

Working Holiday

Young Professionals

International Co-op

Working Holiday

Participants in this program can receive an open work permit, valid for one to two years. Open work permits allow participants to work anywhere in Canada for almost any Canadian employer. Nationals of some countries may be allowed to stay in Canada for more or less than one year, depending on the agreement between the countries.  A job offer is not required for this IEC category.

Young Professionals

Under this program, citizens of participating countries can gain valuable international experience by working for a Canadian company. A signed job offer letter or contract of employment with a Canadian employer related to the applicant’s professional development is required before applying.The job offered must be classified as a National Occupation Code (NOC) Skill Type Level 0, A, or B.


International Co-op


This program allows citizens of participating countries who are enrolled at a post-secondary institution in their country of citizenship to spend a period of time interning for Canadian companies. Participants must arrange co-op placements with Canadian employers before applying. Applicants must be registered students for the duration of the internship.

Eligibility requirements for the IEC program

Most countries that participate in the IEC program do not require the assistance from a Recognized Organization (RO) to obtain an invitation to apply (ITA). However, there are a small number of countries that do require involvement of an RO in order to receive an ITA.

To be eligible for the program, candidates must:

  • be a citizen (passport holder) of one of the countries that have a bilateral youth mobility agreement with Canada, or a country that a Recognized Organization (RO) supports

  • have a valid passport for the duration of their stay in Canada (the work permit issued will not be longer than the validity of the passport),

  • be between the ages of 18 and 30 (or 35) at the time of application (the upper age limit depends on the applicant’s country of citizenship;

  • have the equivalent of $2,500 CAN upon landing to help cover initial expenses;

  • be able to take out health insurance for the duration of their stay (participants may have to present evidence of this insurance at the point of entry in Canada);

  • have no criminal offences that would deem the individual inadmissible;

  • have, prior to departure, a round-trip ticket or the financial resources to purchase a departure ticket for the end of their authorized stay in Canada,

  • pay the appropriate fees.

*Please note that specific age and eligibility requirements vary by country.

Application Process

Eligible candidates must submit an IEC profile to express interest in the IEC program under one (or more) of the three categories, if they are eligible.  All profiles are placed into the appropriate category pool(s) and candidates are randomly selected during scheduled "Rounds" of invitations.  Each country has a specific schedule of when Invitation Rounds are being held.  However, the program opens in January for all countries and invitations are issued until the quotas are met for the year. Some programs and/or countries do not have a quota and can issue an unlimited number of invitations.

Invitations to Apply (ITA) are issued in the following order of priority:

  1. Candidates that have sponsorship from a Recognized Organization (RO)

  2. International Internship (Co-op)

  3. Young Professionals

  4. Working Holiday

When a candidate is selected, they are issued an Invitation to Apply (ITA).  Candidates have 10 days to accept the invitation, and an additional 20 days to submit a work permit application.  It is imperative to submit a complete application with all required documents before the deadline.  Failure to do so will result in refusal. If an application is refused, a candidate may have to wait until the following year to be invited to apply again.


If an application is approved, the foreign visa office will issue a letter of introduction (LOI).  This letter must be presented upon arrival in Canada, and a physical work permit will be issued.

While there is no process to permit an extension of the IEC work permit, citizens of certain countries are allowed to participate in the IEC program a second time.

Citizens from these countries are eligible for the IEC program.  Specific conditions for each country are outlined in the table below:

International Co-op






Recognized Organizations (RO)



AIESEC Canada is a non-profit organization that helps develop leadership in youth.

Types of work permits:

  • Young Professionals (employer-specific work permit) for career development

Target market: Youth aged 18 to 30

Eligible to: IEC countries/territories, Brazil, India

GO International

GO International
 is a Canadian organization that offers work and travel opportunities.

Types of work permits:

  • Working Holiday (open work permit)

Target market: Youth aged 18 to 35

Eligible to: IEC countries/territories, the United States


SWAP Working Holidays

SWAP Working Holidays
 helps with working holidays and young professional work and travel opportunities.

Types of work permits:

  • Working Holiday (open work permit)

  • Young Professionals (employer-specific work permit) for career development

Target market: Youth aged 18 to 35

Eligible to: IEC countries/territories, the United States


Need Help?

Contact us for more information about the Internation Experience Class (IEC) program or for assistance in preparing an application

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