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

Applying for IEC

IEC will not be sending out new rounds of invitations at this time. They are on hold until further notice.

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

Applications in process will not be closed or refused for lack of documentation or inability to complete the application process in time, such as giving biometrics or completing a medical exam.

IEC participants outside of Canada

If you want to enter Canada to activate your Port of Entry (POE) Letter of Introduction

As of May 8, 2020, if you’re taking part in the Working Holiday, Young Professional or International Co-op categories you can come to Canada if you have:

  • a valid job offer which includes a written note from your employer in Canada that says
  • a POE Letter of Introduction
  • proof of adequate health coverage

Health Insurance

Canadian 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. Having a valid provincial or territorial health card is not enough.

Your health care coverage (private or employer-based) must:

  • be valid for your entire stay in Canada
  • cover hospitalization and the cost of returning to your home country

If you have a work permit and want to re-enter Canada

You do not need to prove you have a valid job offer to re-enter Canada if you’re outside the country temporarily and you already:

  • landed in Canada
  • activated your POE Letter of Introduction, and
  • have a work permit

When you re-enter, you must quarantine for 14 days.

Expiring Port of Entry Letter of Introductions

A Port of Entry (POE) 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 and cannot be cancelled.

Contact us if your letter expires in the next 30 days, and you cannot travel due to disruptions caused by COVID-19.

You could be eligible for an extension of your current POE letter for up to 12 months.   

The length of your extension will depend on whether:

  • you have already received an extension on your POE letter, and
  • if applicable, your immigration medical examination on file can be reassessed and extended.
    • Decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of an immigration officer.

If your letter expires in 60 days or more, please wait until a month before expiry to contact us.

Extending your POE letter

You can ask to have your POE letters extended by using our Web form.

Select “International Experience Canada” from the drop-down menu and include as many details as possible to support your case.

If you don’t get a confirmation email from us, this does not mean we didn’t receive it. Keep checking your IRCC account for updates.

If you can’t start work in time

If you can’t start work in time due to travel restrictions, check with your employer to make sure that they’re still willing to honour their work contract with you.

If your employment offer is no longer valid, the employer can withdraw their offer of employment as long as the work permit hasn’t been issued.

If the employer withdraws your job offer, you’ll be refunded your participation fee and this will not count as a participation under IEC. Once your situation changes, you may be eligible to reapply when we start sending invitations again.

Information for employers

If you no longer want to hire the worker, you need to withdraw your offer through the Employer Portal.

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

IEC participants in Canada

You need to maintain legal status in Canada at all times.

Activating your work permit

You should not travel to a port of entry to apply directly to a border services officer at this time as this is not considered essential travel.

You can now activate your IEC work permit from inside Canada if

  • you’re a foreign national
  • you’ve been approved for an IEC work permit
  • you’ve received a POE letter of introduction, and
  • your application was processed outside of Canada

How to activate your IEC work permit

Extending or changing your work permit

You can only extend your work permit under a limited number of circumstances. There are no exceptions.

An IEC work permit cannot be extended past the maximum duration specified in each country or territory’s youth mobility arrangement.

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

Service disruptions and restrictions due to COVID-19 may impact processing times, and the current posted processing times may not be accurate.

Changing your employer

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 is if the company that you were working for has closed.

If you’re eligible to apply for a new work permit to change employers, you don’t need to wait until your new employer-specific work permit arrives. Follow these steps to start working after you apply for a work permit.

Both you and your employer will have to pay fees.

Applying to stay as a visitor

If your work permit is about to expire and you can’t return home or you’re not eligible to extend your work permit, you need to apply to stay as a visitor before your work permit expires.

Once you apply to change your status to “visitor”, and your work permit expires, you’ll have what is called implied status. It will let you stay in Canada until you get a decision on your application. Once your current work permit expires, you must stop working.

Financial Support

If you stopped working because of COVID-19, you might be eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). This may provide temporary income support, as long as you meet the eligibility requirements.

Returning to your home country

If you’re having trouble returning to your home country, contact your country’s embassy or consulate directly for help.

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