So, you’ve decided to move to Canada on an IEC working holiday. Great, it’s a wonderful country with so much to offer. From the wild and rugged west coast to the massive metropolises of Toronto and Montreal, you will be able to plot a Canadian path that best suits your professional and personal needs. However, before you can fully enjoy Canada, you need to make sure to avoid any of the following mistakes commonly made by IEC Working Holiday applicants.
1. Not landing within 12 months of receiving your Port of Entry (POE) Letter of Introduction
You may have already applied for, or received, a document called a POE Letter of Introduction. If so, congratulations! This is your golden ticket to Canada, as you’ll need to present it on arrival in order to receive your work permit. However, what you may not know is that in almost all situations you have to land in Canada within 12 months of receiving the POE Letter of Introduction. Many applicants move to Canada as soon as they get this letter, but others may want to complete a study program, wrap up work, or build up their bank balance before arriving in Canada. But if you wait too long, your Canadian dream may be over before it even begins – you simply must arrive within 12 months. Give yourself plenty of time to prepare for your move once your POE Letter of Introduction arrives.
2. Not knowing that the Port of Entry Letter of Introduction counts as participation on the IEC Program
As well as being your golden ticket to live and work in Canada, it is important to be aware that your POE Letter of Introduction also counts as proof of participation on an IEC program. This means that when you receive your POE Letter of Introduction, you are deemed to have participated in the IEC program, irrespective of whether you actually made it to Canada or not. We have received many queries in recent years from would-be IEC applicants who are shocked to find that they are not eligible for their desired program on a subsequent occasion because they had been issued a POE Letter of Introduction previously without actually moving to Canada. Don’t make this mistake!
3. Taking out a shorter insurance policy, or no policy at all, for your move to Canada
Another error that we see far too often from IEC applicants is the decision to take out an insurance policy that doesn’t cover the total duration of time in Canada they would otherwise be entitled to. So for example, if you’re from a country that has a 24-month working holiday agreement with Canada — such as Australia, Ireland, or the UK — but your insurance policy covers, say, 18 months, then your work permit validity may only be for 18 months, rather than 24, meaning you’re throwing away six months of time to live in, work in, and explore Canada.
Worse than that, we have also encountered individuals who have decided to take out no insurance policy whatsoever. The rules on this are clear – you must show a travel insurance policy covering the full duration of your work permit if you want to stay for up to 12 or 24 months, depending on your country of citizenship and category. If you fail to purchase an insurance policy then you run the risk of not being given a work permit at all. Similarly, if you decide to purchase a policy that doesn’t cover the duration of your stay then you may be issued a work permit to match your insurance policy, rather than the eligible work permit duration outlined in the agreement between Canada and your home country.
Key resource: Travel insurance is mandatory for IEC participants. To view your options and get the right deal for you, see our travel insurance page.