Skip to content

Advertisement

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 2024 IEC season is open as of December 11, 2023. The first invitation rounds have taken place during the week of January 8, 2024. Check if you’re eligible for the 2024 IEC program by taking our free Canadian Immigration Quiz.

 

What ie IEC International Co-Op?

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.

CountryAge eligibilityMaximum validity
Australia18-3024 months (unless it is the applicant's second participation since 2015, in which case, 12 months)
Austria18–356 months
Chile18-3512 months
Costa Rica18–3512 months
Croatia18-3512 months
Czech Republic18-3512 months
Estonia18-3512 months
France18-3512 months
Germany18-3512 months
Greece18-3512 months
Ireland18-3512 months
Italy18-3524 months (Total of up to two IEC participations)
Latvia18-3512 months
Lithuania18-3512 months
Luxembourg18-3012 months
Norway18-3512 months
Poland18-3512 months
Portugal18-3524 months
Slovakia18-3512 months
Slovenia18-3512 months
Spain18-3512 months
Sweden18-3012 months
Switzerland18-3518 months (Total of up to two IEC participations)
Taiwan18-3512 months

How to get a work 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 $172. 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.

Advertisement

Eligibility

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) TEER category of 0, 1, 2, or 3. NOC skill type 4 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.

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.

IEC Health Insurance

Articles

Facebook

Employment tips

About the author

Rebecca Major profile picture
RCIC logo

Rebecca Major

She/Her
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
Rebecca Major is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (R511564) with nearly 15 years of licenced Canadian Immigration experience, gained after graduating with a Bachelor of Laws in the UK. She specializes in Canadian immigration at Moving2Canada.
Read more about Rebecca Major
Citation "IEC International Co-Op work permits." Moving2Canada. . Copy for Citation