The 2020 IEC season is closed. Due to COVID-19, no new invitations were issued after March 13. No plans have been announced regarding the 2021 season. For the latest details about how COVID-19 is impacting IEC, please refer to our Working Holiday Newshub.
Recognized organizations help eligible international youth to participate in the International Experience Canada (IEC) program. For people from countries that do not have a youth mobility agreement with Canada, this means that they can still get an IEC work permit for Canada through one of these private recognized organizations.
In addition, people who are from a country that has a youth mobility agreement with Canada and who have previously participated in the IEC program may be able to get another IEC work permit through a recognized organization, even if the youth mobility agreement between their home country states otherwise. However, this option typically costs more than the regular IEC route, from a few hundred dollars with some ROs (such as SWAP) to more than $4,000 with other ROs that provide more targeted services.
Most IEC participants arrive under the Working Holiday category, which allows participants to work for any employer in Canada and to switch jobs during their time in Canada. Other IEC categories include the Young Professionals and International Co-op categories, both of which require an eligible job offer in advance of participation.
Countries that have a Youth Mobility Agreement (YMA) with Canada
Australia, Austria, Belgium, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico,* Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Ukraine,* United Kingdom
*The youth mobility agreements between Canada and Ukraine & Mexico are currently under review. As a result, Invitations to Apply for an International Experience Canada permit are not being sent at this time.
Repeat participation in the IEC program through a recognized organization
So, you want to stay in Canada. Let’s find out if using a recognized organization is the way to go.
If you have used up the maximum allowable participations under the specific youth mobility agreement (YMA) between your home country and Canada, you may still be able to secure another IEC work permit through a recognized organization and, if still eligible, maximize the number of lifetime participations up to two more times.
In short, it is possible to live and work in Canada for longer, using a recognized organization, without having to pursue a non-IEC immigration option. The guidance was published by Immigration, Citizenship and Refugees Canada (IRCC) on July 31, 2019.
However, for these would-be repeat participants, only two of the nine recognized organizations (specifically: Stepwest and Go) are in a position to offer this option. Moreover, their respective packages are priced at CAD $4,000 or higher. So, you really have to want to stay in Canada and have limited other options in order for this to be an attractive option for you.
- Not sure of the details of your country’s agreement with Canada? Visit this page and scroll to the menu towards the bottom to select your country.
Repeat participation in IEC
Applicants are eligible to participate through recognized organizations twice in their lifetime. The 2 participations are cumulative among all present, past or future recognized organizations. When applicable, repeat categories are allowed.
Participations that occurred before the 2016 season do not count toward the 2 participations. A previous participation in an IEC country or territory that has a YMA with Canada does not count as a participation with a recognized organization. Therefore, if a foreign national youth has exhausted their allowable participations under the YMA with a specific country or territory, then they may apply through a recognized organization up to the maximum number of lifetime participations.
Unlike general IEC applicants, applicants nominated through a recognized organization are not subject to the discontinuance requirement.
There’s plenty to take in there, so let’s clarify a few things.
What’s a recognized organization?
Recognized organizations offer guidance and support to candidates who are hoping to live and work in Canada on an IEC work permit. They are private companies, authorized by the government, to provide these services. They are useful for those who feel they would benefit from additional help as they prepare their work permit application and become settled in Canada. They are also useful for those who initially came to Canada through the IEC program and now want to stay, provided their other options are limited.
Additionally, the participation of applicants from an IEC participating country with an employer-specific recognized organization is not included in that country’s quota. So, if a country has a quota of 1,000 spots for its citizens to participate in the IEC program, any citizens of that country who come to Canada using a recognized organization are not counted against that quota. This means that if your country has exceeded (or may soon exceed) its quota for work permits under any of the three IEC categories you may be eligible for, then a recognized organization may still be able to assist you.
- provide support services to Canadian and foreign youth for IEC work and travel experiences, including assisting with finding employment, arranging transportation, securing accommodations, and helping with other logistical supports;
- promote IEC to Canadian youth; and
- support greater Canadian youth participation abroad.
In exchange, recognized organizations receive a small number of IEC annual inbound quota spaces to nominate their clients for participation in the program, subject to admissibility requirements. As these are private companies, recognized organizations charge fees for their services. These fees are in addition to the program participation fees charged by the government of Canada.
Note that people wishing to apply through a recognized organization must still meet all IEC eligibility requirements, which include a minimum and maximum age requirement. Moreover, in the list of recognized organizations below you may notice that organizations may have a specific mandate to assist workers in specific industries or internship programs. If you wish to take part in a Working Holiday (and therefore enjoy an open work permit), take note below of which organizations help with this type of work permit and do not specify particular industries or internships, as these organizations are more likely to be able to assist you in your objective.
What’s the discontinuance requirement, and who is affected by it?
Some youth mobility agreements include a discontinuance requirement, though most do not (you can check the requirement for your country here). People from countries that have this requirement need to wait a defined period from the expiration of their previous IEC work permit before being eligible to apply again.
Unlike some applicants who apply exclusively through an IEC program (without the assistance of a recognized organization), those who wish to apply for a repeat participation through a recognized organization are not subject to to the discontinuance requirement (even if the details for their country in the page linked in the paragraph above say that such a requirement exists). In essence, this means that there is no waiting period required from the expiration of your previous IEC work permit before being eligible to apply for a repeat participation with a recognized organization.
How can I participate again in the IEC program using a recognized organization?
Step 1: Identify a recognized organization that could potentially help you, based on the details per organization in the tables below. Currently, only Go and Stepwest are offer repeat participation for those from IEC-eligible countries who previously obtain an IEC work permit.
Step 2: Reach out directly to the given recognized organization for details on eligibility and process. A link to each organization’s website is placed above each table below.
Step 3: This may depend on the situation. Variables may include: your country of citizenship, the IEC category you intend to apply under, and the recognized organization assisting you. If you have any difficulty navigating the process, Moving2Canada offers:
- An IEC community forum
- For Facebook users, an IEC group
- A list of recommended immigration consultants who may assist you with your questions
You may be able to apply for a work permit without needing a recognized organization
If you are from one of these countries, aged between 18 and 35, and have never previously applied for an IEC work permit, you can save around $4,000 by applying to the program directly, rather than with the assistance of a recognized organization: Australia, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Greenland, Faroe Islands, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan.
The same opportunity is available if you are from one of these countries, aged between 18 and 30, and have never previously applied for an IEC work permit: Austria, Belgium, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, South Korea, Sweden, United Kingdom.
Sure, recognized organizations can help with job opportunities, application preparation, and orientation after landing in Canada, but if you feel (as many do) that this does not justify the price tag, we encourage you to head over to our IEC section to get moving on your application, no recognized organization required.
Recognized organizations for countries that don't have a YMA with Canada
If your country is not one of the IEC participating countries, then a recognized organization may be able to help you participate in the program as they can utilize their own private quota of work permits. Some recognized organizations receive applications from citizens of specific countries, including the United States, Brazil, India, China, Ecuador, Iceland, Singapore, and Pakistan. Updated information is below.
The nine recognized organizations that offer their services to participants under specific IEC categories are listed below. All recognized organizations offer services to and from countries and territories that have a youth mobility agreement (YMA) with Canada. Conditions listed below are for IEC participation in Canada. In some cases, recognized organizations have been granted nomination quotas for work permit categories that are not part of the negotiated youth mobility agreements. In these cases, the maximum validity period for a participation is 24 months.
AIESEC Canada is a non-profit organization that develops leadership in youth through international exchanges.