Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): International Experience Canada applicants

IEC participants outside of Canada

Last updated: May 20, 2020

Do International Experience Canada participants fall under the temporary foreign workers exemption?

Yes, the exemption includes International Experience Canada participants.

Effective May 8, 2020, applicants in the Working Holiday, Young Professional or International Co-op categories can come to Canada only if they:

We strongly advise participants to obtain written confirmation from their employer that their business, whether essential or not, is continuing to operate and that they will be able to start employment after a 14-day mandatory quarantine period.

This measure will be in effect until further notice. Continue to check our website for updates.

Are foreign youth who travel to Canada through a youth mobility agreement under IEC expected to quarantine for some time after entering Canada?

Yes. Public health authorities require that all travellers quarantine for 14 days after arriving in Canada. This is mandatory. Please see New Order Makes Self-Isolation Mandatory for Individuals Entering Canada.

Will IEC continue to draw from pools during the COVID-19 pandemic?

No, IEC will not be sending out new rounds of invitations at this time. They are on hold until further notice.

Will IEC be processing applications?

IRCC is continuing to accept submissions of profiles into IEC pools. However, due to service interruptions, applications are not being processed at this time.

No applications in process will be closed or refused due to a lack of documentation or inability to complete the application process in time, such as giving biometrics or completing a medical exam.

I have received a biometrics instruction letter asking me to give my biometrics as part of my IEC work permit application and I haven’t been able to give them yet. What should I do?

Please refer to the biometrics information on IRCC’s website available here.

Is health care insurance still required to come to Canada under the IEC program?

Yes, private health care insurance, which includes hospitalization and repatriation, is a mandatory requirement for International Experience Canada, unless you receive coverage from your employer or the province or territory where you will be working (limited to employer-specific work permits, and not in all cases).

It is up to a participant to ensure that they have adequate coverage. Health care coverage must be valid for the entire time you are in Canada. Having a valid provincial or territorial health card is not enough. Repatriation is not covered by provincial or territorial health insurance.

Canada border services officers will check for health care coverage at a port of entry. If you do not have sufficient coverage, you may be denied entry into Canada.

I have an employer-specific work permit and am participating in IEC through the young professional or international co-op Categories, and have an employment start date that cannot be met due to travel restrictions. Can I amend my start date to a later time?

You must check with your employer to ensure that they are still willing to honour their work contract with you. If your offer of employment is no longer valid, the employer can withdraw their offer of employment, as long as the work permit has not been issued, at which time you will be refunded your participation fee.

Under this scenario, this will not be counted as participation under IEC and if your situation changes, you may be eligible to reapply, but only once the program resumes sending invitations to apply.

I am required to undergo an immigration medical examination as part of my IEC work permit application and I cannot access a panel physician. Will my application be refused?

No application in process will be closed or refused due to a lack of documentation or inability to complete the application process in time, such as giving biometrics or completing a medical exam.

IEC participants already in Canada

How can I extend my work permit if it is about to expire?

IEC participants can extend their work permits under a limited number of circumstances. No additional conditions for extension (for example for Working Holiday category work permit holders) are permitted apart from those cited in the following website link.

Note that an IEC work permit cannot be extended beyond the maximum duration specified in each applicable youth mobility arrangement (varies by country/territory).

While we continue to serve our clients, service disruptions and restrictions due to COVID-19 may have an impact on processing times and the current posted processing times may not be accurate.

Fees are applicable.

My IEC work permit is expiring soon and I cannot find a flight out of Canada. What should I do?

You need to maintain legal status in Canada at all times. If your work permit is about to expire and you cannot return home, you need to apply to stay as a visitor. You need to apply for this status before your work permit expires.

Once you have submitted an application to change your status to “visitor”, you will have what is called implied status. This will allow you to continue to stay in Canada as a visitor until a decision is made on your application. You will not be able to work during this time unless you have the proper authorization (for example a valid work permit).

If your existing work permit has expired, you may apply to restore your status, but you need to apply within 90 days of the expiration date of your work permit.

Fees are applicable.

I am having difficulty arranging travel to return home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Is assistance available?

Please contact your country’s embassy or consulate directly for travel assistance.

I am an IEC candidate who has already landed in Canada and have a valid work permit, but I am currently outside the country for vacation or other purpose. Will I be allowed to return to Canada?

Temporary foreign workers, including IEC participants, who have a work permit are exempt from Canada’s travel restrictions. As long as you have a work permit and you are established in Canada, you may re-enter the country. However, all individuals re-entering Canada are required to quarantine for 14 days.

I am currently in Canada working under an employer-specific IEC work permit and the company I worked for has closed. Can I continue to stay in Canada and work?

IEC employer-specific work permit holders can amend their work permits under a limited number of circumstances.

Under the Young Professionals and International Co-op (Internship) Categories, you can only change your employer if you have a valid reason. Your new job must still meet the requirements of the Young Professionals or International Co-op Categories. An example of a valid reason to change employers includes the company that you were working for has closed. Note that an IEC work permit cannot be extended beyond the maximum duration specified in each applicable youth mobility arrangement (varies by country/territory).

Fees apply to both the applicant and the employer.

Can an IEC participant apply to receive the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) even if they are not citizen or permanent resident?

For an IEC participant who has stopped working because of COVID-19, the CERB may provide temporary income support as long as you meet the eligibility requirements. Information concerning the different types of support being offered as part of the Government of Canada’s approach to the COVID-19 outbreak can be found on the Government of Canada’s website.

Port of entry letter of introduction questions

I received a Port of Entry Letter of Introduction, but do not wish to come to a Canadian port of entry during the COVID-19 pandemic. Will my letter expire?

A Port of Entry Letter of Introduction is valid for one year after its date of issue. Once a letter is issued under the IEC program, it is considered a participation. An issued letter cannot be cancelled.

These letters may be extended upon request, via our Web form. Be sure to select “International Experience Canada” from the drop-down menu and include as many details as possible to support your case.

My Port of Entry Letter of Introduction expires in June or beyond. Can I apply for an extension, or do I have to wait?

Please only contact us if your letter expires in the next 30 days and you cannot travel due to disruptions caused by COVID-19. If your letter expires in 60 or 90 days or more, please wait until a month before it expires to contact us. As the COVID-19 situation evolves, we urge you to monitor IRCC’s website for updated information.

I submitted a Web form to ask for an extension on a Port of Entry Letter of Introduction but haven’t heard back. Is there something else I should do?

We’re now reviewing the requests submitted through the Web form. If you didn’t get a confirmation email from us, this does not mean we didn’t receive it. Keep checking your account for updates.

My Port of Entry Letter of Introduction expires soon and I am in Canada. What do I do? Can I travel to a Canadian port of entry to activate my work permit?

You should not travel to a port of entry to apply directly to a border services officer at this time. Travelling to a port of entry from inside Canada to get immigration services is not considered essential travel.

Please check the website regularly as procedures may be put in place to allow IEC participants to activate work permits from within Canada. In the interim, you must ensure that you maintain your current immigration status while in Canada.

I have a Port of Entry Letter of Introduction but my employer rescinded my job offer. Will I be able to get another participation?

Yes, if your employer has withdrawn their offer of employment, this will not be counted as an IEC participation. Your participation fee will be refunded. You will then be able to reapply for another participation once the program resumes sending invitations.

For Employers:

If you no longer wish to offer employment, you need to withdraw your offer through the Employer Portal.

Note, If the “Withdraw application” option isn’t available through the Employer Portal, view specific instructions for such cases here.

Updates and related links

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