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As of January 9, 2023, if your International Experience Canada (IEC) application was approved but you didn’t go to Canada it does not count as a participation, according to the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)’s website.

IEC candidates only get a certain number of participations, depending on their country. Now, a participation only counts if you arrive in Canada and receive your work permit.

In the past, getting a port of entry (POE) letter of introduction counted as a participation. However, Canada changed the definition of a participation to help people who could not come to Canada before their POE letter expired.

If you applied before January 9, 2023 and have not used all your participations (i.e. activated your IEC work permit in Canada) you can create a new profile if you are still eligible.

Basically, if you had your POE letter and you were unable to come to Canada during the pandemic (or earlier) you may be able to apply for IEC again. In order to apply again, you must still meet the eligibility requirements of your country, and have not already used your participation by coming to Canada and receiving your work permit.

Citizens of countries are able to participate more than once, but not all. Refer to the table below to see the rules for your country.

How to work in Canada in 2023

International Experience Canada (IEC) opened for the year on January 9. International youth between the ages of 18-35 (depending on your country) can now submit their profiles to the IEC pool of candidates for a chance to work in Canada.

There are three IEC programs:

  1. Working Holiday: participants get an open work permit to work anywhere in Canada, no job offer required.
  2. International Co-op (Internship): student participants receive an employer-specific work permit that allows them to gain targeted experience in their field of study. This program requires a valid job offer.
  3. Young Professionals: participants get an employer-specific work permit to gain targeted, professional work experience in their field of study or career path. A valid job offer is required.

There are 36 participating IEC countries.

CountryInternational Experience Canada CategoryAge eligibilityType of work permitMaximum validityParticipation frequency in International Experience CanadaMedical Exam needed?
AndorraWorking Holiday18-30Open12 monthsOne participationNo
AustraliaWorking Holiday18-35Open24 monthsTwo participations maximum in IEC. A participation of 24 months in either Working Holiday or Young Professionals; a second participation of 12 months in International Co-op. These two participations can be carried out in the order of the applicant's choice.
Exception: If you participated in IEC one or more times before 2015, you might be eligible for a final participation of up to 24 months in the category of your choice.
No
Young Professionals (Graduates)18-35Employer-specific24 monthsNo
International Co-op18-35Employer-specific24 months (unless it is the applicant's second participation since 2015, in which case, 12 months)No
AustriaWorking Holiday18-30Open12 monthsApplicants are allowed 3 participations in total. No repeat categories are allowed.No
Young Professionals18-35Employer-specific12 monthsNo
International Co-op18-35Employer-specific Internship or work placement must be in forestry, agriculture, or tourism6 monthsMust be a resident of Austria and must be registered as a student in forestry, agriculture or tourism or have graduated in 1 of those fields within the past 12 months.No
BelgiumWorking Holiday18-30Open12 monthsOne participationNo
ChileWorking Holiday18-35Open12 monthsTwo participations – Repeat category is permittedNo
Young Professionals (Supplementary graduate training)18-35Employer-specific12 monthsNo
International Co-op (Young worker exchange program)18-35Employer-specific12 monthsNo
Costa RicaWorking Holiday18-35Open12 monthsTwo International Experience Canada participations. Repeat category is not permittedNo
Young Professionals18-35Employer-specific12 monthsNo
International Co-op (Internship)18-35Employer-specific12 monthsNo
CroatiaWorking Holiday18-35Open12 monthsTwo International Experience Canada participations. Repeat category is permitted.No
Young Professionals18-35Employer-specific12 monthsNo
International Co-op (Internship)18-35Employer-specific12 monthsNo
Czech RepublicWorking Holiday18-35Open12 monthsTwo participations. Repeat category is not permittedNo
Young Professionals18-35Employer-specific12 monthsNo
International Co-op (Internship)18-35Employer-specific12 monthsNo
Denmark (Danish citizens who reside in Greenland and the Faroe Islands are also eligible)Working Holiday18-35Open12 monthsOne participationNo
EstoniaWorking Holiday18-35Open12 monthsTwo International Experience Canada participations. Repeat category is not permittedNo
Young Professionals18-35Employer-specific12 monthsNo
International Co-op  (Internship)18-35Employer-specific12 monthsNo
FinlandWorking Holiday18-35Open12 monthsOne participationTBA
Young Professionals18-35Employer-specific12 months
Young Professionals18-35Employer-specific12 months
FranceWorking Holiday18-35Open24 monthsMaximum of two participations.
A participation of 24 months in either Working Holiday or Young Professionals or Young Professionals (VIE); a second participation of 12 months in International Co-op. Applicant can choose the order of these two participations.
Exception: French citizens who participated prior to the 2015 quota year are eligible for one final participation in the category of their choosing. An applicant is considered to have participated prior to 2015 if their application(s) was submitted to any quota year prior to the launch of the 2015 quota year which took place on February 21, 2015. Those who have participated in IEC more than once before 2015 are no longer eligible.
No
Young Professionals18-35Employer-specific24 monthsNo
Young Professionals - VIE18-35Employer-specific24 monthsNo
International Co-op (Internship)18-35Employer-specific12 monthsEnrolment in a training centre in France is acceptable.No
GermanyWorking Holiday18-35Open12 monthsTwo times. Repeat category is not permitted.No
Young Professionals18-35Employer-specific12 monthsNo
International Co-op (Internship)18-35Employer-specific12 monthsNo
GreeceWorking Holiday18-35Open12 monthsTwo International Experience Canada participations. Repeat category is not permittedNo
Young Professionals18-35Employer-specific12 monthsNo
International Co-op (Internship)18-35Employer-specific12 monthsNo
Hong KongWorking Holiday18-30Open12 monthsOne participationYes
IcelandWorking Holiday18-30Open24 months12-month participation can be renewed one for a total of two participationsTBA
IrelandWorking Holiday18-35Open24 monthsTo avail of two International Experience Canada participations, one must be under the International Co-op (Internship) category.No
Young Professionals18-35Employer-specific24 monthsNo
International Co-op (Internship)18-35Employer-specific12 monthsNo
ItalyWorking Holiday18-35Open24 months (Total of two permits combined.)No
Young Professionals18-35Employer-specific24 months (Total of two permits combined.)No
International Co-op (Internship)18-35Employer-specific24 months (Total of two permits combined.)No
JapanWorking Holiday18-30Open12 monthsOne participationNo
LatviaWorking Holiday18-35Open12 monthsTwo participations. Repeat category is not permittedYes
Young Professionals18-35Employer-specific12 monthsYes
International Co-op (Internship)18-35Employer-specific12 monthsYes
LithuaniaWorking Holiday18-35Open12 monthsTwo participations. Repeat category is not permittedYes
Young Professionals18-35Employer-specific12 monthsYes
International Co-op  (Internship)18-35Employer-specific12 monthsYes
LuxembourgWorking Holiday18-30Open12 monthsAwaiting details.No
Young Professionals18-30Employer-specific12 monthsNo
International Co-op  (Internship)18-30Employer-specific12 monthsNo
MexicoThe youth mobility agreement between Canada and Mexico is currently under review. As a result Invitations to Apply for an International Experience Canada permit are not being sent at this time.No
NetherlandsWorking Holiday18-30Open12 monthsTwo participations. Repeat category is not permittedNo
Young Professionals18-30Employer-specific12 monthsNo
New ZealandWorking Holiday18-35Open23 monthsOne participation (if you participated in IEC before April 2, 2015, you are no longer eligible to apply)No
NorwayWorking Holiday18-35Open12 monthsTwo participations. Repeat category is not permittedNo
Young Professionals18-35Employer-specific12 monthsNo
International Co-op (Internship)18-35Employer-specific12 monthsNo
PolandWorking Holiday18-35Open12 monthsTwo participations. Repeat category is not permittedNo
Young Professionals18-35Employer-specific12 monthsNo
International Co-op (Internship)18-35Employer-specific12 monthsNo
PortugalWorking Holiday18-35Open24 monthsOne participationNo
Young Professionals18-35Employer-specific24 monthsNo
International Co-op (Internship)18-35Employer-specific24 monthsNo
San MarinoWorking Holiday18-35Open12 monthsTwo participationsNo
SlovakiaWorking Holiday18-35Open12 monthsTwo participations. Repeat category is not permittedNo
Young Professionals18-35Employer-specific12 monthsNo
International Co-op (Internship)18-35Employer-specific12 monthsNo
SloveniaWorking Holiday18-35Open12 monthsTwo participations. Repeat category is not permittedNo
Young Professionals18-35Employer-specific12 monthsNo
International Co-op (Internship)18-35Employer-specific12 monthsNo
South KoreaWorking Holiday18-35Open24 monthsTwo participations.Yes
Young Professionals18-35Employer-specific24 monthsYes
International Co-op (Internship)18-35Employer-specific24 monthsYes
SpainWorking Holiday18-35Open12 monthsTwo participations. Repeat category is not permittedNo
Young Professionals18-35Employer-specific12 monthsNo
International Co-op (Internship)18-35Employer-specific12 monthsNo
SwedenWorking Holiday18-30Open12 monthsTwo participations. Repeat category is not permittedNo
Young Professionals18-30Employer-specific12 monthsNo
International Co-op (Internship)18-30Employer-specific12 monthsNo
SwitzerlandYoung Professionals18-35Employer-specific18 months (Total duration of the two permits combined cannot exceed 18 months)Two participations. Repeat category is permitted if the sum of the two participations is within the 18-month total limit.No
International Co-op (Internship)18-35Employer-specificNo
TaiwanWorking Holiday18-35Open12 monthsOne participationYes
Young Professionals18-35Employer-specific12 monthsYes
International Co-op (Internship)18-35Employer-specific12 monthsYes
UkraineThe youth mobility agreement between Canada and Ukraine is currently under review. As a result Invitations to Apply for an International Experience Canada permit are not being sent at this time.Yes
United KingdomWorking Holiday18-35Open36 monthsTwo participationsNo
Young Professionals18-35Employer-specific36 monthsTwo participationsNo
International Co-op (Internship)18-35Employer-specific36 monthsTwo participationsNo

If you would like to learn more about how to prepare for the 2023 IEC season, check out Moving2Canada’s comprehensive IEC guide.

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About the author

Shelby Thevenot

Shelby Thevenot

They/Them
Canadian Immigration Writer
Shelby is a journalist, freelance writer, and expert news analyst with more than five years of experience in writing about Canadian immigration.
Read more about Shelby Thevenot
Citation "IEC participations now only count if you arrive in Canada." Moving2Canada. . Copy for Citation

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