Automation to speed up processing of International Experience Canada work permits

Ottawa, November 7, 2023—Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is improving how it processes International Experience Canada (IEC) work permits by expanding the use of automation technology. A new tool will help process IEC work permit applications by triaging applications based on their complexity and approving eligibility for routine applications. This will improve efficiency by making decisions faster for some applicants. It will also support the growth of IEC and facilitate work and travel for international youth in Canada.

Automated tools are part of IRCC’s commitment to using technology responsibly to build a stronger immigration system for all of our clients. IRCC reviews the tools regularly so they work as intended and results are consistent with applications that receive a full human review.

The triage function of the IEC work permit tool takes on most clerical and repetitive tasks related to sorting applications, allowing officers to focus their attention on assessing applications and making final decisions. The tool triages applications using rules developed by experienced IRCC officers, based on the legislative and regulatory criteria of the program. Files are directed to officers for further processing based on office capabilities and officer expertise.

The tool’s eligibility function identifies routine applications for streamlined processing, using criteria developed by officers. The file is then sent to an officer to determine whether the applicant is admissible to Canada and make the final decision. Applications whose eligibility is not approved automatically may still be manually approved following review by an officer. Only an IRCC officer can refuse an application; the automated tool does not refuse or recommend refusing applications.

IRCC is committed to responsibly developing and deploying data-driven technologies in line with privacy requirements and human rights protection. As part of this work and building from Canada’s Treasury Board Directive on Automated Decision-Making, an algorithmic impact assessment (AIA) has been completed to assess the tool used to process IEC work permit applications. The AIA categorized the impact level of the systems as moderate, and numerous measures are in place to mitigate possible risks. These measures include a review for potential discriminatory impacts, privacy and security elements built into the design of the tool, and the ability of officers to overturn the decision of the tool.

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