The IEC visa is considered one of the easiest ways to travel and work in Canada on a legal working visa. IEC stands for International Experience Canada. It is considered a young persons working holiday, and while there are a limited number supplied to participating countries, it is pretty accessible if you are prepared in advance and apply as soon as the entry pools open.
For me, I have always known that I wanted to come and spend some time living in Canada, with Toronto being almost a home away from home for me from a young age. As time has gone on, and especially since my arrival in the country this time round, it’s starting to dawn on me that, if things go to plan, I could want to stay here for the rest of my life. Now, I’m sure that will be a far more difficult process. For now, my IEC visa allows me to live, work and travel in Canada for two years, which I think is a great jumping off point for myself personally, to see if I settle into life here and if I feasibly think I could make this my forever home.
For some people though, two years is all they want- just a taste of life in another country, and an extended period of time to explore all that Canada has to offer.
When the initial pools open (for example, the 2017 program opened on October 17, 2016) candidates can apply of consideration. All places will gradually be filled over the following months. In countries where the demand is high, the program will likely close in the spring or summer, with some countries exceeding the limit and filling up earlier.
I guess it is important to be prepared, apply as soon as possible and have everything in order to avoid disappointment. My first attempt at applying was at the end of summer 2015 and, as you can imagine, I was too late and missed my chance for that year.
A ‘pool’ is the new name given to the different country and category types that are on offer. There are currently three types of IEC Canada visa – the Working Holiday Visa, the Young Professional Visa, and the International Co-Op visa. You can be a member of as many different pools as you qualify for.
If successful, a candidate will receive a notification in their My CIC account (the platform through which you apply) known as an ITA, or invitation to apply. From there you can begin the process of submitting your personal details, including passport, resume and various family details. An application fee of CAD $150 is also required after a candidates ITA is received.
Applications must also secure a police certificate, basically a criminal record check, from their country’s police department.
Candidates are now selected at ‘random’ and not on a first come first served basis, meaning that all candidates who have applied on time have an equal chance of being considered for the IEC scheme.
If you are lucky enough to be accepted, you will receive a Port of Entry letter or POE, which will be required on your arrival into the country. This is not your visa and does not mean that you will necessarily be allowed straight into the country at immigration. That is up to the immigration officer granted that you have purchased two years of suitable insurance and have proof of CAD$2,500 funds on your arrival in Canada.
If you’re looking for more in-depth information about the entire process, visit moving2canada.com, which is a great resource site and has a wealth of information on everything to do with coming to Canada.