When advising American citizens of their immigration options to come to Canada, many, if not all are surprised to hear that they can apply for a open work permit without a Canadian job offer via the International Experience Program (IEC)
What is the International Experience Canada Program?
It is widely known that Canada has a reciprocal agreement with 35 countries which allow mobility for youth to travel to Canada and work with or without a job offer anywhere from 6 months to 2 years. This program is known as the International Experience Canada (IEC) program and is used by thousands people each year. Unfortunately, Canada does not have an agreement with The United States under the IEC.
However, what most people are not aware of is that Canada also has agreements with 9 private organization known as “Recognized Organization” (RO).
What is a Recognized Organization (RO)?
Each year, Canada allocates a certain number of IEC spots to each recognized organization. The RO’s then sell the working holiday or young professional to eligible applicants. Each RO caters towards different demographics and nationalities which also includes U.S citizens.
For the purposes of this article we will be only discussing two of these recognized organizations, Go International and SWAP as these are the two organizations that offer the program to U.S Citizens.
If successful, this allows U.S citizen to apply for a work permit and come to Canada for 12 months to work and travel.
Am I Eligible?
Applicants must meet the following minimum eligibility criteria before they apply to a recognized Organization;
- Be a Citizen of the United States
- Have a valid U.S passport
- Be between the ages of 18 and 35 (inclusive of 35)
- Possess sufficient funds to cover expenses in Canada for the first 3 months of the stay (CAD $2,500 )
- Have comprehensive health insurance coverage (including repatriation) valid for the whole duration of the stay (Canadian medical coverage not sufficient)
- Not be Criminally inadmissible to Canada
How do I participate?
After being accepted and paying the fee, each applicant will be issued a letter by the Recognized Organization. They will then need to create a “My CIC” on the IRCC website and create an IEC profile. Soon after, they will receive an invitation by Immigration Canada to apply for a work permit.
It is important to note that the recognized Organization are private companies and do not represent Immigration Canada. The main drawback from applying through a RO is that it is significantly more expensive compared to applicants from IEC participating countries who can apply directly to IRCC.
Please note that due to Covid-19, IRCC have temporarily paused issuing invitations to apply under the IEC. You will need to continuously check the IRCC website for updates on when the program may reopen.
Increase Your Permanent Residency Options
While this option allows for U.S citizens to explore and work in Canada, it also gives them the opportunity to gain skilled Canadian experience which will increase Express Entry points greatly enhancing the applicant’s ability to permanently immigrate to Canada.