Every year, Canada welcomes thousands of ambitious young workers and graduates under the International Experience Canada (IEC) program. IEC participants come from more than 30 countries under one of three categories: Working Holiday, Young Professionals, and International Co-Op.
Naturally, many participants hope to remain in Canada beyond the duration allowed on their IEC work permit. How this may be achieved depends on one’s circumstances, and there is no single pathway to carry participants through to another status in Canada; there are many potential pathways. Circumstances may include the participant’s age, nationality, location, duration and skill level of Canadian work experience, whether or not a job has been offered and what the terms of that job offer may be, civil status, and more.
Prefer a video-explainer? Deanne Acres-Lans from Canada Abroad, one of our recommended immigration consultants, has put together video explaining everything you need to know about IEC permit extensions and implied status:
In a nutshell: If you are an IEC participant and have applied for a non-IEC work permit, you can continue to work under implied status as long as it is for the same employer under the same conditions.
So, what’s implied status?
If a worker, visitor, or student applies to extend his or her status in Canada at least 30 days before that status expires, he or she may legally remain in Canada until a decision is made on the application. In such a scenario, the person has implied status. The implied status remains until the government decides on your new work permit application.
This provision is not applicable in all cases. For example, the government of Canada states that ‘you may have come to Canada as a worker and then applied for a study permit. If so, you must stop working once your work permit expires. After that, you cannot work or study until you get a new permit.’
Which IEC participants may benefit from implied status?
You have implied status if, before your work permit expires, you apply:
- to extend your current IEC participation (applying for another IEC work permit is not the same as extending an existing work permit; you can only extend or make changes to your IEC work permit in very specific situations, outlined here);
- for another type of work permit that is not an IEC work permit, such as a bridging open work permit or an open work permit under the Family Class;
- to extend your stay as a student; or
- to extend your stay as a visitor.
You’re not eligible for implied status if you apply for a new IEC participation. If you want to stay in Canada while you wait for a decision on your new IEC participation, you must apply to extend your stay as a visitor before your work permit expires. However, you can’t continue working.
Who doesn’t have implied status?
You don’t have implied status if you:
- apply to extend your IEC participation after your work permit expires (in which case you must stop working on or before the day your work permit expires);
- apply for a new IEC participation;
- submitted your profile to an IEC pool and are waiting for an invitation to apply; or
- apply to extend your stay as a student or visitor after your work permit expires.
Find out what to do if your work permit expired before you applied to extend it.
Who can work under implied status
If you have implied status, you can keep working if you’ve applied to extend your stay in Canada as a worker. However, you can only keep working:
- for the same employer;
- under the same conditions and
- if you stay in Canada (note that if someone on implied status leaves and re-enters Canada, the period of implied status ends, regardless of whether the new work permit or study permit, as applicable, has been issued).
If you applied for a different type of permit, like a study permit, you can stay in Canada under implied status but you can’t keep working.
Applying for another IEC work permit
As is made clear above, you’re not eligible for implied status if you apply for a new IEC participation. In any event, only certain IEC participants may be eligible for repeat participation. Whether or not an IEC participant may apply for another IEC work permit depends on his or her country of citizenship and whether or not he or she is eligible under another category (learn more here).
So if I can’t repeat under IEC, which permit can I go for?
IEC participants may be eligible for another Canadian work permit outside the scope of the IEC program. Canada offers a wide variety of work permit options under two broad umbrella programs, namely the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) and the International Mobility Program (IMP, of which the IEC initiative is a part).
Work permits issued under the TFWP are supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), a document secured by a Canadian employer to show that no Canadian citizens and permanent residents are ready, willing, and able to perform a given position, and so the employer may hire a qualified foreign worker. The process of securing a LMIA typically involves a rigorous and often lengthy recruitment process, which involves the position being advertised widely and the payment of a $1,000 application fee.
Work permits issued under the IMP are exempt from the LMIA process. These include bridging open work permits, intra-company transfers, and more besides.
Moving from one work permit to another
Let’s hypothesise an IEC participant. She is not eligible, for whatever reason — such as those outlined above with respect to nationality and previous IEC participation — to obtain another IEC work permit. Her employer in Canada, however, wants her to continue working, and she also wishes to stay. At this point, she may not yet be eligible to secure permanent resident status, or she may be eligible but is struggling to meet the cut-off threshold in Express Entry draws. Suffice to say, both she and the employer are exploring alternative routes to keeping her in Canada on a temporary basis without her having to leave her position or the country.
Having reviewed their options, they decide to proceed with an application for a LMIA. However, it may be the case that the worker’s current IEC work permit may end before a decision is reached on the new work permit and LMIA applications.
This is just one example of where the worker may benefit from implied status.
If you are an IEC participant and have applied for a non-IEC work permit — such as an LMIA-supported work permit, as in the example above — you can continue to work under implied status as long as it is for the same employer under the same conditions.
See this from IEC Canada confirming the above information.
When a new work permit is issued, it typically includes a piece of text under ‘Remarks/Observations’ stating: ‘Temporary resident status maintained as per R183(6).’ This number denotes the relevant section of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), which guides government regulations on immigration matters. This section on implied status can be read in full here.
- The Moving2Canada IEC Facebook Forum is a vibrant discussion board where members not only discuss their work permit applications, but also their experience of Canada and the job market.
- IEC Frequently Asked Questions.
- IEC eligibility and application process.
- IEC News Hub – get the latest information for your pool.
- IEC participating countries list.
- IEC travel insurance: recommended vendors (note that insurance is mandatory for IEC participants).
- Canadian Permanent Residency: this section contains information about Express Entry, Provincial Nominee Programs, and Family Class programs.
- Register with Moving2Canada for regular IEC and immigration updates.
- If you and/or your employer have any outstanding questions or difficulties with the work permit process or permanent residence application process, Moving2Canada has a short list of recommended regulated immigration consultants who can provide crucial answers and guidance. If you choose to retain the services of a consultant, the cost of the initial consultation will be deducted from the balance of fees.
Our sources include the government of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA, the regulations governing Canadian immigration policy), trusted immigration representatives, and case study experiences.