IEC work permit

Can I extend my IEC work permit?

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Wondering if you can get an IEC work permit extension when your visa is up? Our article explains who’s eligible, and who’s not.

As the new International Experience Canada program for 2017 gets underway, immigration authorities have clarified when extensions can be granted for visa-holders.

For most participants, it’s not possible to increase what’s known as the “validity period” of your work permit. These are initially granted for periods of up to 24 months.

However, certain exceptions to this rule apply. Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) published a set of instructions on September 26 which outline when work permits can be extended beyond what was initially issued at the port of entry.

They have also clarified the rules on when these IEC work permits cannot be extended.

Scenario 1: Administrative errors were made relating to the validity period of the IEC work permit.

Occasionally, border officers may issue an IEC work permit with an incorrect expiry date.

Citizens from some countries, like Ireland and Australia, can receive IEC work permits that last for 24 months. This is so long as their passport and travel insurance is valid for the duration of this term.

Citizens from other countries, like Germany, can only receive an IEC work permit for up to 12 months.

Moving2Canada readers have told us of instances where they have received a 12-month IEC work permit, despite being eligible for a 24-month visa.

Where an example like this occurs, the visa-holder can apply for an extension, up to the maximum duration allowed from the date of entry.

“Under this scenario, the employer is not required to submit a new offer of employment and pay the employer compliance fee,” the IRCC explained in its instructional notes.

“The IEC client remains exempt from having to pay the work permit processing fees and participation fees.”

A paper application can be sent to the Case Processing Centre in Vegreville, using the instructions on Guide 5553.

Scenario 2: Validity period of the passport is shorter than the validity period of the offer of employment.

For participants whose passport expires before their 24 months elapses, they may have received an earlier expiry date on their IEC work permit to match the expiry date on their passport.

Where this occurs, and assuming all other eligibility criteria are met, the visa-holder can submit an application to amend their IEC work permit, up to the maximum permitted duration from the date of entry.

If applicable, the employer is required to submit a new offer of employment and pay the employer compliance fee. However, the participant will not have to pay IEC work permit processing and participation fees.

A paper application can be sent to the Case Processing Centre in Vegreville, using the instructions on Guide 5553.

Scenario 3: Validity period of the participant’s health insurance is shorter than the validity period of the offer of employment.

One of the rules of the IEC program is that you must have health insurance that will cover the duration of your stay in Canada.

Where the participant chooses to buy coverage that is shorter than the maximum permitted duration, border officers may issue an IEC work permit that matches the expiry date of the health insurance.

Participants will not be able to apply to amend the valid period of their work permit in this instance.

“The IEC participant cannot increase the validity period of their work permit,” IRCC explains.

“If they receive a work permit with a shorter validity period due to the length of their insurance coverage, they are not eligible to apply to increase the validity period of their work permit at a later date.”

However, if your country allows multiple IEC participations (two 12-month visas, for example), then you may be able to apply for your second visa if you still meet the qualifying criteria.

Failing that, you may have other permanent residency options available to you.

Scenario 4: Validity period of the offer of employment is shorter than the maximum duration allowed.

Note: This does not apply to Working Holiday Visa participants, as they receive an open work permit, not employer-specific work permits.

Where an offer of employment is shorter than the maximum permitted duration, the participant may receive an IEC work permit that expires on the same date of the offer of employment.

Participants may apply to extend the validity period of their work permit, if the foreign national receives a new offer of employment, for the same job, at the same location, from the same employer. The extension can be granted up to the maximum permitted duration from the date of entry.

It will be possible in this instance to purchase additional health insurance after arrival in Canada. Proof of this coverage will have to be submitted. An extension on this basis may only be granted once per IEC participation.

The employer will be required to submit a new offer of employment and pay the employer compliance fee. The visa-holder will not have to pay additional IEC work permit and participation fees.

A paper application can be sent to the Case Processing Centre in Vegreville, using the instructions on Guide 5553.

Scenario 5: Validity period of the offer of employment is shorter than the maximum duration allowed, with changes in working conditions.

Note: This does not apply to Working Holiday Visa participants, as they receive an open work permit, not employer-specific work permits.

This is similar to scenario four, but in this scenario, the new offer of employment is at a different address. The job and employer remain the same.

IRCC will not accept applications to extend the validity period of the IEC work permit in such cases.

“This is a change of condition in the IEC participation,” IRCC explains.

“Changing location but keeping the same employer and duties is seen as a new participation, as the IEC participant’s work permit is issued for a specific employer, at a specific location.”

However, if your country allows multiple IEC participations (two 12-month visas, for example), then you may be able to apply for your second visa if you still meet the qualifying criteria.

Failing that, you may have other permanent residency options available to you.

Where to next?

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