International Mobility Program: Canadian interests – Reciprocal employment – International Experience Canada – Recognized organizations for foreign youth

The International Experience Canada (IEC) program recognizes a number of organizations that provide support and facilitate travel and work abroad services between Canada and other countries, for a fee, to both Canadians going abroad and foreign nationals coming to Canada. Their services may include support in areas such as arranging transportation, assisting with finding employment or securing accommodations. These recognized organizations are either Canadian organizations that may have partners overseas or international organizations with a Canadian office.

Foreign nationals who are from a country that does not have an agreement or arrangement with Canada, and who wish to take advantage of IEC, must use one of the recognized organizations listed below.

The IEC Program has two categories of recognized organizations:

  • those that focus on employer-specific work permits; and
  • those that focus on open work permits for the Working Holiday category.

Note: Some recognized organizations fall under both categories.

IEC recognized organizations

Employer-specific work permit only

  • International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience (IAESTE)
  • Association for the International Exchange of Students in Economics and Commerce (AIESEC)
  • Academic Internship Council (AIC)
  • Mennonite Central Committee of Canada / International Volunteer Exchange Program (MCC/IVEP)
  • Canadian Host Family Association (CHFA) with Communicating for Agriculture Education Programs (CAEP)
  • International Rural Exchange (IRE)
  • University of Alberta
  • University of New Brunswick

Open work permit only (Working Holiday)

  • SWAP Working Holidays
  • Go International

Both categories (employer-specific and open work permits)

  • INTERNeX International Exchange
  • Stepwest

Each year, IEC assigns a portion of its global quota to these organizations to facilitate employer-specific travel and work opportunities with countries where no formal bilateral agreement or arrangement (i.e., treaties, memoranda of understanding and diplomatic exchanges) is in place. Application processing follows the same procedures as those for applicants under the bilateral agreements or arrangements, with an additional requirement that applicants provide a letter of confirmation from the recognized organization.

Employer-specific recognized organizations

Employer-specific recognized organizations help foreign participants come to Canada and Canadian youth go abroad when a job offer is in place. Applicants need a signed letter of offer or contract of employment from their employer when using an employer-specific recognized organization. Employer-specific recognized organizations receive a worldwide quota allocation from IEC that allows them to receive IEC participants from both IEC and non-IEC countries.

Participation of applicants from an IEC country with a bilateral agreement or arrangement with an employer-specific recognized organization is not included in

  • the bilateral country quota; and
  • the maximum number of participants allowed in the agreement or arrangement between Canada and their country of citizenship.

Before submitting their work permit application to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), applicants using an employer-specific recognized organization must have their Canadian employer

  • complete and submit the offer of employment to IRCC;
  • pay the employer compliance fee of $230.

Listed below are the 10 recognized organizations that offer their services to participants under employer-specific categories.

IAESTE

The IAESTE is an international exchange program that combines travel with technical, career-related jobs in Canada.

Country or territory Age Student status Type of work permit Maximum validity period
All countries and territories 18-35 Yes Employer-specific 18 months

AIESEC

The AIESEC is a student-run organization that provides students and recent graduates with the opportunity to live and work in Canada in the fields of management, information technology, education and development.

Country or territory Age Student status Type of work permit Maximum validity period
All countries and territories 18-30 Yes Employer-specific 18 months

CHFA with CAEP

The CHFA is a Canadian association that partners with the international organization CAEP and other overseas organizations to offer farm work placements in Canada and around the world related to agriculture, horticulture and home management.

Country or territory Age Student status Type of work permit Maximum validity period
All countries and territories 18-35 Yes Employer-specific 12 months

AIC

The AIC provides internships that contribute to professional and personal growth and a competitive advantage in the global work force.

Country or territory Age Student status Type of work permit Maximum validity period
All countries and territories 18-35 Yes Employer-specific 12 months

MCC/IVEP

The MCC/IVEP is a Canadian organization that collaborates closely with its American counterpart and has overseas partners in over 25 countries. While some work placements may be unpaid, the organization covers the travel and living expenses of its participants.

Note: An IEC applicant applying through the MCC/IVEP must provide proof (a standard proof of funds form completed and signed by the recognized organization) that the recognized organization will cover their expenses while they are in Canada. In such cases, the agent processing the work permit application should add a note in the Remarks section in the Global Case Management System (GCMS) indicating that the requirement to provide proof of funds has been satisfied.

Country or territory Age Student status Type of work permit Maximum validity period
All countries and territories 18-35 No Employer-specific 12 months

IRE

IRE is a Canadian organization with approximately 25 overseas partners that offers farm-work placements for youth in the fields of agriculture, horticulture, equine activities and oenology.

Country or territory Age Student status Type of work permit Maximum validity period
All countries and territories 18-35 No Employer-specific 12 months

University of Alberta

The University of Alberta provides internship opportunities for students and recent graduates.

Country or territory Age Student status Type of work permit Maximum validity period
All countries and territories 18-35 Yes Employer-specific 12 months

University of New Brunswick

Through Student Abroad Programs, the University of New Brunswick provides international opportunities to students.

Country or territory Age Student status Type of work permit Maximum validity period
All countries and territories 18-35 Yes Employer-specific 12 months

INTERNeX International Exchange

INTERNeX International Exchange provides work opportunities to youth seeking practical work experience.

Country or territory Age Student status Type of work permit Maximum validity period
All countries and territories [see note] 18-35 No Employer-specific 12 months

Note: These requirements apply to the employer-specific category of INTERNeX only.

Stepwest

Stepwest facilitates internships, professional placements and working holidays for Canadians and foreign nationals.

Country or territory Age Student status Type of work permit Maximum validity period
All countries and territories [see note] 18-35 No Employer-specific 12 months

Note: These requirements apply to the employer-specific category of Stepwest (e.g., Young Professionals).

Open work permit (Working Holiday) recognized organizations

Open work permit (Working Holiday) recognized organizations help foreign participants come to Canada and Canadian participants go abroad under IEC’s Working Holiday category. These recognized organizations can help participants with travel arrangements and finding employment in the country of destination.

Working Holiday recognized organizations send IEC participants to and receive them from both IEC and non-IEC countries.

Participation of applicants from an IEC country with a Working Holiday recognized organization will be

  • included in the bilateral country quota; and
  • subject to the terms and conditions of participation in the Youth Mobility Agreements with their country.

Inbound participation of applicants from a non-IEC country with a Working Holiday recognized organization will be

  • included in the country-specific recognized organization quota; and
  • subject to conditions of participation set out by the recognized organization.

Listed below are the four recognized organizations that offer services for participants under the Working Holiday category.

SWAP Working Holidays

SWAP Working Holidays facilitates working holidays for Canadians and foreign nationals. SWAP has partners in the countries listed in the table below. Participants must also be citizens of these countries.

The following requirements apply to the Working Holiday category for SWAP only.

Note: This list also includes Austria, where a Working Holiday category is not included in the bilateral agreements with Canada.

Country or territory Age Student status Type of work permit Maximum validity period
Argentina 18-35 No Open 12 months
Austria 18-35 No Open 12 months
Brazil 18-35 No Open 12 months
Finland 18-35 No Open 12 months
Malaysia 18-35 No Open 12 months
Singapore 18-35 No Open 12 months
Thailand 18-35 No Open 12 months
United States 18-35 No Open 12 months

GO International

GO International is a Canadian organization that offers working holidays to Canadian and foreign nationals. Go International also has partners in the countries listed below. Participants under Go International’s quota must be a citizen of a country listed in the table below. The following requirements apply to the Working Holiday category of Go International only.

Country or territory Age Student status Type of work permit Maximum validity period
Argentina 18-35 No Open 12 months
Brazil 18-35 No Open 12 months
Thailand 18-35 No Open 12 months
Finland 18-35 No Open 12 months
Malaysia 18-35 No Open 12 months

INTERNeX International Exchange

INTERNeX International Exchange provides work opportunities to youth in Canada and abroad tailored to fit the needs of participants seeking practical experience and those seeking to undertake a working holiday. Participants under INTERNeX’s Working Holiday quota must be a citizen of a country listed in the table below. The following requirements apply to the Working Holiday category of INTERNeX only.

Country or territory Age Student status Type of work permit Maximum validity period
Finland 18-35 No Open 12 months
Brazil 18-35 No Open 12 months
United States 18-35 No Open 12 months

Stepwest

Stepwest facilitates internships, professional placements and working holidays for Canadians and foreign nationals. The following requirements apply to the Working Holiday category of Stepwest only.

Country or territory Age Student status Type of work permit Maximum validity period
Argentina 18-35 No Open 12 months
Brazil 18-35 No Open 12 months
Malaysia 18-35 No Open 12 months
Thailand 18-35 No Open 12 months

Student status

Where student status is a requirement, candidates must be enrolled in full-time post-secondary study (inside or outside their home country or territory) at some point in the past 12 months. Students in their final year who are not returning to their studies are also eligible.

Repeat participation

Starting in 2016, applicants are eligible to participate through each recognized organization twice. Participations that occurred prior to the 2016 season do not count towards the two participations. When applicable, repeat categories are allowed. A previous participation under an IEC country that has an agreement or arrangement with Canada does not count as participation with a recognized organization, and vice versa.

Recognized organization acceptance letter

Applicants who choose to use the services of an IEC recognized organization and receive an Invitation to Apply should provide a copy of the confirmation letter from their recognized organization when submitting their work permit application to IRCC. This letter acts as proof that a recognized organization is helping the applicant plan their trip or find work in Canada.

Applicants who are also using the services of a recognized organization are required to check if a police certificate and a medical exam are required as part of their work permit application. Consult the sections on police certificates and medical exams in addition to the information found on Apply for a work permit – International Experience Canada.

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