international experience canada

IEC Program Now Open for Applications

Published on: January 10th, 2023

The International Experience Canada (IEC) program is now accepting applications for its 2023 pool. This opportunity will be extended to nearly 90,000 youths from 36 countries. 

The opening of the pool comes after an announcement in December outlining a 20% increase in the number of applicants that are able to apply this year. Up to 90,000 candidates will have the opportunity to live, work and travel in Canada in 2023. 

The IEC program helps youth from 36 partner countries explore new cultures, languages and societies, all while developing life skills and improving their job prospects for the future. According to the IRCC, the expansion of this program will further help fill labour needs in sectors most impacted, such as in tourism.

What is the IEC Program?

International Experience Canada (IEC) is a set of programs enabling young people from 36 participating countries to travel to Canada to live and work temporarily. Foreign nationals who are successful through one of the IEC programs will be authorizes to apply for a Canadian work permit without the need for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). IEC authorizes temporary stay in Canada, with the approval of work permits for a maximum of one year.

The aim of the program is to give youth, age range (18-29, 18-30, 0r 18-35 – depending on the nationality of the applicant) the opportunity to travel to Canada to live and work. There are three main streams for which applicants can apply to: 

It should be noted that while IEC encompasses these three programs, Canada has a unique relationship with each of the participating countries. For this reason, some participating countries may only offer one or two of the IEC programs, while others will offer all three options.

How to Apply

Foreign nationals interested in applying to an IEC program must follow a five step process:

Step One: Create an IEC profile Once a foreign national determines that their country participates in IEC and selects their preferred program, they may create an account on the IEC website. As long as they meet the eligibility requirements their account is automatically entered into the IEC pool of candidates.

Step Two: Receive an Invitation to Apply IEC regularly conducts random draws of IEC candidates. If a candidate is selected in a draw, they will be issued an Invitation to Apply, which enables them to move onto step three. Quotas vary by program and by country, so candidates should verify their country’s quotas to gain a better understanding of their probability of receiving an Invitation to Apply.

Step Three: Accept the Invitation to Apply If a candidate receives an Invitation to Apply, they are given 10 days to accept the invitation. After accepting, they are given 20 days to submit an online application for a work permit. If an applicant chooses to decline an invitation they will be returned to the pool of candidates and will continue being considered in future draws.

Step Four: Submit Work Permit Application After accepting an Invitation to Apply, a foreign national has 20 days to submit a work permit application online using the IRCC web portal. Applicants should review documentation requirements in advance so they can be sure they will have sufficient time to prepare the application.

Step Five: Receive Work Permit If an application is successful, the applicant will receive confirmation of their work permit and issued information about the validity period of their authorization to work in Canada.


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