The International Experience Program (IEC) is a fantastic opportunity for young individuals to gain valuable work experience abroad. For British citizens, there is great news! Starting with the 2024 IEC season, the UK has implemented new rules that provide even more opportunities for UK visa holders. In this article, we will explore the new age requirements, participation limits, and the three categories of the IEC program. Whether you’re a young professional seeking career growth or a student looking for an international internship, the new UK rules open doors for you. Let’s dive in!

Age Requirements and Participation Limits

Under the newly announced UK agreement, the age requirement for the IEC program has been raised from 30 to 35 years, inclusive. This means that as a British citizen, you can now participate in the IEC program until you turn 36 years old. The age limit is determined at the time of receiving an invitation, so even if you turn 36 after receiving the invitation, you are still eligible to participate.

The new rules also provide participants with the opportunity for two IEC participations. The first participation allows for a period of 24 months under any category, while the second participation allows for 12 months under any category. However, if your first participation was for 12 months before 2015, you are eligible for a second participation of up to 24 months in any category. It’s important to note that if you have already participated in the IEC program twice, you are no longer eligible to apply.

The Three IEC Categories

The IEC program offers three categories for participants: Working Holiday, Young Professionals, and International Co-op (Internship). Each category has its own unique features and requirements. Let’s take a closer look at each category:

 1. Working Holiday

Participants in the Working Holiday category receive an “open work permit,” which provides flexibility and freedom in choosing employment opportunities. Here are some key points about the Working Holiday category:

  • You don’t need a job offer to participate.
  • You have the freedom to choose where you want to work in Canada.
  • You can work for more than one employer during your stay.

 2. Young Professionals

The Young Professionals category offers participants a “closed work permit” or an “employer-specific work permit.” This category is ideal for individuals seeking professional development opportunities. Here’s what you need to know about the Young Professionals category:

  • You can only work for one employer in the same location.
  • The job offered must be a skilled job in TEER categories 0, 1, 2, or 3.
  • The job must contribute to your professional development.
  • The employer is required to pay a $230 compliance fee.

3. International Co-op (Internship)

The International Co-op (Internship) category also provides participants with a “closed work permit” or an “employer-specific work permit.” This category is designed for enrolled students in post-secondary educational institutions seeking internships as part of their academic curriculum. Here are the key points about the International Co-op (Internship) category:

  • You can only work for one employer in the same location.
  • You must be an enrolled student in a post-secondary educational institution in your home country.
  • The internship must be part of your academic curriculum.
  • The employer is required to pay a $230 compliance fee.

It’s important to note that with an “employer-specific work permit,” you can only work for the employer specified on your work permit. You cannot have other part-time jobs or side gigs under this work permit.

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Applying for the IEC Program

Now that you have an understanding of the new UK rules and the three categories of the IEC program, let’s explore the application process and some important considerations.

Applying for Another Participation

If you are currently under your first 2-year participation in Canada or have already participated once, you can now apply for another 12-month participation. It’s important to note that you cannot apply to extend your current participation. To participate again, you must go through the new application process, create a new profile, and wait for the invitation. Make sure to submit all necessary documents and fees again.

Creating a Profile

To apply for the IEC program, you need to create a profile using the GCKey account. Log into your GCKey account and choose the option “Apply to come to Canada.” It’s crucial to answer the questions accurately to ensure you are placed in the correct category.

Invitations and Pool Selection

Once you have created your profile, you will enter a pool of applicants. It’s important to note that if you have a job and want to apply for the Working Holiday category, answer “NO” to the question about the job offer. This will prevent your profile from being placed in the Young Professionals pool.

Passport and Biometrics

If your passport is going to expire during your planned second IEC participation, apply with your old passport and renew it before traveling to Canada or the USA border to activate your work permit. Make sure to show the copy of your old passport and the new passport to the immigration officer. Additionally, if you provided biometrics for your first participation, you do not need to provide them again. The system will automatically assign your biometrics to your new profile.

Police Certificates and Medical Exam

If you provided police certificates from other countries in your first IEC application, they do not need to be updated unless you have returned to that country since your last application. Additionally, if you wish to work in child care, health care, or elderly care, you will need to retake the medical exam, as the previous exam is valid for only 12 months.

Health Insurance and Maintained Status

It is mandatory to provide health insurance for the entire duration of your stay in Canada. If your insurance policy is valid for less than your expected stay, your work permit will expire at the same time as your insurance, and you will not be able to extend it. Provincial health care or employer benefits are not sufficient to activate the new IEC work permit.

Activating your Canadian Work Permit

To activate the new work permit from inside Canada, you can flagpole at the USA border or activate it at the immigration office at the airport if you exit Canada for a vacation and return.

Conclusion: Seize the Opportunity!

The new UK rules for the IEC program provide exciting opportunities for British nationals between the ages of 18 and 35. With the chance to participate twice, you can now experience a total of 36 months in Canada under the bilateral agreement. Whether you’re looking to gain professional experience, enhance your skills, or explore a new culture, the IEC program is the perfect avenue for you. Take advantage of this opportunity to broaden your horizons and potentially pave the way for permanent residency in Canada.

Our immigration services help find out if you are eligible for the program or how this extra year can be strategically used to maximize your PR  prospects. Book your consultation today — your international adventure awaits!