Working Holiday Canada News
The IEC 2020 season is now closed.
IEC 2020 season closed on Thursday, November 12: The closure to the 2020 IEC season was confirmed on the IRCC website. All profiles in the IEC pools have been removed. Candidates hoping to apply for IEC will have to wait until the 2021 season at which point they will have to create and submit new profiles. As of this time there has been no indication as to when the 2021 IEC season may take place.
Canada has not conducted any official rounds of IEC invitations or processed any IEC applications since March 13, when COVID-19 forced Canada’s borders closed.
IEC applications submitted before the COVID-19 travel restrictions: IRCC has not provided an update regarding IEC hopefuls who had received invitations and submitted their applications, but had not received a decision on their work permits prior to the COVID-19 travel restrictions coming into effect. At this point in time, IRCC has not made any indication that these applications would be cancelled, but they also have not provided any timeline for resuming processing.
Canada’s international travel ban in place until at least November 30: Canada had extended the emergency order banning the entry of most foreign nationals until at least November 30 (Source: Order in Council). The extension of the emergency order continues the same restrictions and exemptions as have been in place for the last several months. Please note, this ban covers all countries except the United States which has a separate travel ban in place until at least December 21.
Confirmation of entry requirements for IEC participants: IEC participants are exempt from travel restrictions and able to enter Canada if they meet one of these two scenarios.
- IEC participants who have not yet activated their work permits must have a valid job offer in order to enter, this job offer does not need to be in an essential sector (Source: IRCC); or
- IEC participants who have already activated their work permits and were outside the country temporarily do not require a valid job offer in order to re-enter (Source: IRCC; note that anecdotal reports suggest airline staff and border agents may deny entry to Canada without proof of connection to Canada, like employment, housing, or family, when boarding).
How is COVID-19 impacting IEC and the Working Holiday program?
Canada’s immigration authorities are implementing some measures for certain individuals impacted by COVID-19. These measures provide some leniency to certain immigration applications. It should also be noted that Canada now mandates people arriving in the country to self-quarantine for 14 days. This is mandatory, and penalties apply for those found not to be obeying.
Here are the most common questions about IEC and COVID-19. Full details can be found on the Canadian government guidelines.
Is IEC still processing applications?
No. IEC applications are not being processed at this time.
IRCC has not provided an update regarding IEC hopefuls who had received invitations and submitted their applications, but had not received a decision on their work permits prior to the COVID-19 travel restrictions coming into effect. At this point in time, IRCC has not made any indication that these applications would be cancelled, but they also have not provided any timeline for resuming processing.
Is IEC still issuing invitations?
No. The 2020 IEC season closed on November 12, 2020.
Can I still enter Canada using my POE letter?
IEC participants with a valid POE letter can still enter Canada and activate their work permits as long as they have a valid job offer from a Canadian employer. Such a job offer is not normally required for IEC, but the requirement has been introduced in response to COVID-19.
To confirm this information please refer to the IRCC webpage on the topic.
What do I need to include in my job offer letter to get into Canada?
IRCC hasn’t issued detailed guidelines on what needs to be included in the job offer letter (Source: IRCC). It seems that it depends a little on the airline staff and border officer you end up speaking with. Many of our community members were admitted to Canada with a simple job offer on letterhead, or even with offers for unpaid workaway positions. However, in a few cases, airline staff have requested more information about job offers, in the form of an official work contract.
If you can get something on letterhead with the position, job description, start date, hours, compensation, and a comment saying they are still operating through COVID-19, then you will likely be alright, although the final decision depends on the discretion of whoever you end up speaking with during your travel.
What do I do if my POE letter is going to expire?
If your POE letter of introduction is going to expire you can submit a request for an extension using IRCC’s online web form. IRCC has requested that participants only do this if your expiry date is within the next 30 days.
Initially, IRCC was only issuing extensions for periods of up to 90 days at a time. However, participants are now eligible to apply for an extension of up to 12 months (Source: IRCC).
IEC participants can request POE letter extensions by using IRCC’s Web form. Select “International Experience Canada” from the drop-down menu and include as many details as possible to support your case. If you don’t get a confirmation email from IRCC, this does not mean they didn’t receive it. Keep checking your IRCC account for updates.
I activated my work permit but had to leave Canada. Can I extend it?
Not at this time. IEC has not released any statement about work permit extensions for IEC participants who have already activated their work permits.
I am stuck inside Canada and my work permit is going to expire. Can I extend it?
You cannot extend your work permit unless you meet one of a handful of rare exceptions.
However, if you are stuck inside Canada and cannot leave due to travel restrictions, you should ensure that you apply to extend your stay before your status expires. The most common way of doing this is to apply to extend your stay as a visitor.
I am inside Canada but I haven't activated my IEC work permit. How do I activate it?
Individuals who are inside Canada and have been approved for their IEC work permit (i.e. have a POE letter) have a new process enabling them to activate their work permit from inside Canada. Individuals in this situation may activate their work permit by submitting a IRCC web form and including the exact message outlined on this IRCC page. If the individual meets the criteria, their permit will be mailed to them.
You should not travel to a port of entry to activate your work permit. Flagpoling is not considered essential travel and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has announced that they will not provide this type of immigration service at POEs at this time.
I am an IEC participant in Canada. Am I eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)?
The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) ended in October. If you qualify, you may be eligible for one of Canada’s new expanded Employment Insurance (EI) benefits.
As coronavirus is a developing story with updates expected regularly, Moving2Canada has launched a coronavirus newsfeed with the latest information available about COVID-19 and travel to Canada. Please refer to that page for the latest updates and detailed information regarding COVID-19 and how Coronavirus may impact your IEC Working Holiday.
People planning their move to Canada through IEC can get personalized guidance about how to succeed, as well as resources on how to make the most of your experience in Canada by using Moving2Canada GO.
Full details about invitations, quotas, and spots left for all participating countries are listed below.
What is Moving2Canada GO?
Moving2Canada is changing the way we deliver information and advice to our community of ambitious, adventure-seeking newcomers to Canada and those on the way over soon. Moving2Canada GO is an interactive tool that enables you to organize your move and settle in Canada simply, while avoiding potentially costly errors along the way.
With a personalized list of tasks and and articles tailored for your needs and goals, Moving2Canada GO puts you at the heart of everything.
What is the IEC program?
The IEC program allows international youth from more than 30 countries aged 18 to 35 (or in some cases, 18 to 30) to live and work in Canada for up to 24 months.
Invitation History – IEC 2020 season
Most recent update: March 13, 2020
The final invitation round of the 2020 IEC season took place on March 13, 2020, as the season was paused thereafter in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The table below shows invitation history for each pool in the IEC 2020 season. We’ll update this table over the course of the season, typically on Fridays, to bring you the latest details for each pool and your chances of receiving an invitation in the next round.