Do you need IEC health insurance?
Do you need IEC health insurance?
One of the International Experience Canada (IEC) categories of work permits is known as ‘International Co-Op’. It allows young people from certain countries (listed below) to live and work in Canada. The maximum validity of the permit is 12 months, with some exceptions for participants from Australia, Portugal and Switzerland.
The 2023 IEC season opened on January 9. Check if you’re eligible for IEC by taking our free Canadian Immigration Quiz.
It is designed for students who wish to obtain work experience in Canada related to their field of study.
IEC International Co-Op candidates will need to have a valid job offer in Canada prior to their arrival, and participants will need to work for the same employer, in the same location, during their stay in Canada.
The IEC International Co-Op work permit offers a number of advantages compared to the IEC Working Holiday Visa in Canada.
- Demand for these permits in many countries does not usually exceed supply, meaning eligible candidates enjoy a high chance of obtaining one.
- In some countries, a second participation in IEC is allowed, so long as it’s in the Young Professionals or International Co-Op category. This means former IEC Working Holiday participants can avail of additional time in Canada.
Who can apply?
Citizens of the countries below can create a profile to be considered for an IEC International Co-Op work permit. Age eligibility and maximum validity varies from country to country.
|Country||Age eligibility||Maximum validity|
|Australia||18-30||24 months (unless it is the applicant's second participation since 2015, in which case, 12 months)|
|Costa Rica||18–35||12 months|
|Czech Republic||18-35||12 months|
|Italy||18-35||24 months (Total of up to two IEC participations)|
|Switzerland||18-35||18 months (Total of up to two IEC participations)|
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How to get a permit
Interested candidates will first need to complete the ‘Come to Canada’ questionnaire on the official Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website. This will give an initial indication of eligibility for an IEC International Co-Op work permit.
You may then create a profile, and choose to be entered into the IEC International Co-Op pool for your country.
IRCC will select candidates at random from the pool, and provide them with an ‘Invitation to Apply’, or ITA, for a work permit.
At this stage, applicants will need to upload all supporting documentation. For International Co-Op applicants, this includes a letter from your current educational institution which proves the applicant is currently enrolled there. An internship agreement, signed by the applicant, their employer, and their training centre, is also required. The agreement must show:
- The position title,
- A description of tasks to be performed by the student,
- Exact start and end dates of the internship,
- The complete address of the internship site, and
- Contact information for the employer.
The applicant will need to pay the IEC participation fee. In recent years, this fee has been CAD $150. Employers will also need to pay a C$230 Employer Compliance fee through their online Employer Portal. Once this is paid, they’ll receive an Offer of Employment number, which the applicant will then need to supply along with their application.
Once you submit your application, staff at IRCC will spend approximately eight weeks assessing it, and may request additional documents during this process.
To be eligible for an IEC International Co-Op work permit, candidates must:
- Be a student, registered at a post-secondary institution
- Have a signed letter proving a job offer, or a contract of employment, for a work placement or internship in Canada. The internship must be linked to the applicant’s field of study, and classified as having a National Occupational Classification (NOC) code of skill level 0, A, or B. NOC skill type C positions may be considered in certain circumstances.
- Demonstrate that the work placement or internship is required in order to complete their studies.
- Be a citizen (passport holder) of one of the 21 countries that participate in IEC and have an International Co-Op pool.
- Have a valid passport for the duration of their stay in Canada (the work permit issued will not be longer than the validity of the passport).
- Be between the ages of 18 and 30 or 35 (inclusive) at the time of application. The upper age limit depends on the applicant’s country of citizenship, as outlined in the ‘Who can apply?’ section above.
- Have the equivalent of at least CAD$2,500 on landing to help cover initial expenses.
- Be able to take out health insurance for the full duration of their IEC permit (participants may have to present evidence of this insurance at the point of entry in Canada). View providers and get quotes on our health insurance for Canada
- Be admissible to Canada.
- Have, prior to departure, a round-trip ticket or the financial resources to purchase a departure ticket for the end of their authorized stay in Canada.
- Not be accompanied by dependants.
- Pay the appropriate fees.
- Citizens of certain countries are also required to be resident in their country of citizenship at the time they apply for their IEC work permit. See residence requirements here.
Further help with your IEC work permit application
Please explore our many resources to help you plan your application. Research is crucial as you plan for success in Canada.
- Read our FAQ guide for IEC permits
- Find out which documents you need for your IEC application
- Learn about 5 avoidable mistakes IEC applicants make
- Visit our full IEC portal for more articles
- Where to buy your health insurance for Canada (note: this is a mandatory IEC requirement).
- For construction and engineering jobs, visit our Outpost Recruitment agency
- How to adapt to the resume format in Canada (or ‘CV’)