The following are common questions about lnternational Experience Canada as well as traveling and working in Canada. If you have any other questions, please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: Is the number of places limited? What is the quota?
A: There is a limit of 200 places for 2012, assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.
Q: How old must I be to be eligible?
A: International Experience Canada (IEC) is open to people aged 18 to 30. If you are about to turn 18, or will soon turn 31, please note that the age criteria are assessed as of the date your application was stamped as received by the Consulate General of Canada in Hong Kong.
Q: My IEC application has been approved, but I will soon turn 31. Do I have to enter Canada before my birthday? Will my birthday limit the validity of my work permit?
A: No to both questions. Your Letter of Introduction is valid for presentation at a Canadian port of entry for one year from the date of issue and is not affected if you turn 31 within its validity period
Q: How long does my passport have to be valid for, in order to apply?
A: You must hold a valid passport at the time you submit your application. If you have been accepted as a participant and you are preparing to enter Canada through IEC, the validity period of your passport should cover the whole time you plan to stay in Canada (up to one year). The validity period of your work permit may not extend beyond the validity period of your passport.
Q: How long does it take for approval of my application?
A: It normally takes about eight weeks to process your application package from the time you first submit it. To avoid delays, please ensure you undergo the medical examination and obtain your police certificate in a timely fashion following the notification from Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
Q: Do I need to have a job lined up in Canada before I apply?
A:That depends. If you are applying under the Working Holiday category, you do not need to have a job lined up in Canada before you apply.
The Consulate General of Canada in Hong Kong cannot help you locate prospective employers in Canada. You can find an employer through travel and work abroad organizations, recruitment agencies, Internet job sites or newspapers. You can also consult Working in Canada.
Q: What type of insurance must I subscribe to before leaving for Canada?
A: IEC requires you to buy and maintain health-care insurance (covering medical care, hospitalization and repatriation) for the entire duration of your stay in Canada. We recommend that you buy this insurance only after you have received your Letter of Introduction, confirming that your IEC application was successful.
You may be refused entry if you do not have insurance. If your insurance policy is valid for less than 12 months, you may be issued a work permit that expires at the same time as your insurance. In this case, you are not eligible to apply for an extension of your work permit at a later date
Q:I do not have a passport from Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Is there a working holiday arrangement for me?
A: You can visit International Experience Canada to see whether your country of citizenship (that is, the country that issued your passport) is covered by a similar arrangement.
Q: Can I participate in the Canada IEC initiative more than once?
A: You are only eligible to participate in the IEC under the Canada-Hong Kong youth mobility arrangement once.
Q: If I am issued an IEC Letter of Introduction but do not use it, will I get back the program participation fee? Can I apply again in subsequent years?
A: No. Fees are non-reimbursable once the Letter of Introduction is issued, and each individual can only participate under the agreement once. You are deemed a participant once you are issued a Letter of Introduction.
Q: Can I include my family members (my spouse, my common-law partner, my child) on my application?
A: None of your family members may be included on your IEC application. If your family members wish to stay longer than six months as tourists, they must submit separate applications through Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Your spouse or common-law partner may submit a separate IEC application package if he or she is eligible. School age children require study permits. For pre-school children an application for temporary resident visa is required.
For pre-school children:
Q: Can I fill out my application form by hand?
A: You are asked to complete the form on a computer. However, if this is impossible, you may fill in the remaining fields by writing legibly.
Q: Do I have to include my medical examination results in my IEC application package? How can I go about having my medical examination done?
A: You do not have to include medical examination results in your IEC application package. The Visa and Immigration section of the Consulate General of Canada in Hong Kong will send you instructions on how to get your medical examination done once they have received your work permit application. See “Work Permit Application Status” for more information on this two-stage process.
Note that you undergo the medical examination at your own expense and at your own risk. Completing a medical examination does not guarantee that a visa will be issued.
Q: Why should I participate? What’s in it for me?
A: What you learn from other cultures and the self-reliance you gain from living and working abroad are highly marketable assets in a global economy. Companies with international operations often seek individuals who are able to communicate effectively in more than one language, and who can understand the nuances of a different culture and its values. An international experience in Canada can help you build these skills and more!
Q: Is my home country participating in these programs?
A: IEC is available in several countries and we are adding new ones all the time. Please see the list of all participating countries on the International Experience Canada website.
Q: Do you provide financial assistance?
A: A travel and work year in Canada can be a very rewarding experience, but it can be expensive. Plan accordingly. International Experience Canada does not provide any financial assistance. You are responsible for your own journey including your travel arrangements, airfare, participation fee, accommodation costs and finding employment in Canada.
Q: What kind of jobs can I find in Canada?
A: All kinds! It depends on what you want to do and how hard you want to look for employment. Many of our participants find work in the tourism and hospitality industries (for example, in restaurants, pubs, hotels), where Canadian employers are willing to offer temporary work. You can also get work experience in a variety of other fields such as science, law, education, commerce, or administration.
Q: I am not a student. Can I still participate?
A: Of course! International Experience Canada is open to students and non-students aged between 18 and 30 who want to travel and work in Canada.
Q: What is a Letter of Introduction?
A: A Letter of Introduction is a document issued by the Visa and Immigration Section of the Consulate General of Canada in Hong Kong, confirming that your application for a work permit has been approved. It notifies you that you may leave for Canada in order to work.
The Letter of Introduction is not a work permit in itself. You must present your letter, along with other required documents, to a border service officer at a Canadian port of entry (airport, land crossing). The officer will then issue the work permit.
Q: What is the difference between a work permit obtained through IEC and any other kind of work permit?
A: A work permit (Code C-21) obtained through IEC is only issued to persons who meet the specific IEC eligibility criteria and who are admissible to Canada. For other work permits you require an offer of employment in Canada. In most cases, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada must also provide a Labour Market Opinion.
Q: I have replaced the passport under which my Letter of Introduction was issued (because it was damaged/ lost/ stolen/ I got married) and am about to travel to Canada. May I still use the Letter of Introduction to obtain my work permit?
A: Yes, as long as the validity period of the Letter of Introduction has not expired. When entering Canada, you must notify the border service officer of this change so that your work permit may be issued in accordance with your current passport information. We recommend that you bring a photocopy of your previous passport along with your current valid passport for presentation at the port of entry. If you changed your passport because you got married, please also bring a copy of your marriage certificate.
Q: Can I volunteer while in Canada?
A: Yes. You may volunteer during your stay in Canada under the Working Holiday category. However, participants in the Young Professionals and International Co-op (Internship) categories, should be careful because they do not have “open” work permits and some types of volunteer work may not be allowed. If you have any concerns, you can call Citizenship and Immigration Canada at 1 888 242 2100 to discuss your options.
Q: I currently have a valid IEC work permit. Can it be extended?
A: No, your current work permit obtained through IEC cannot be extended, nor can you apply for a new work permit under the same IEC category.
Q: Is it possible to enrol in a course during my stay in Canada while participating in the IEC initiative?
A: Yes, but the course (or courses) must be completed within a six-month period. You may not sign up for a course that is part of a program lasting more than six months (such as a two-year program or four-year degree). In this case, a separate study permit would be required. The working holiday experiences through International Experience Canada may not be combined with formal studies. For more information about studying in Canada and work opportunities as a student, visit the Council of Ministers of Education website, and for scholarships, visit the International Scholarship website.
Q: I am currently in Canada with a work permit issued under the IEC initiative. My employer would like me to continue working after the permit expires. Is this possible under IEC? What should I do?
A: A Canada-Hong Kong IEC work permit cannot be renewed or extended. You must go to the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website or call 1-888-242-2100 to check the requirements for changing the conditions of your work permit or extending your stay in Canada. You should make your inquiries after entry to Canada, while your document is still valid.
Q: Can I change my status (from worker to visitor; from worker to student, from student to worker, from IEC participant to another category of temporary worker through CIC ) while I am in Canada?
A: You must go to the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website or call 1-888-242-2100 to check the requirements for changing the conditions of your work permit or extending your stay in Canada. You should make your inquiries after entry to Canada, while your document is still valid.
Q: Does the time on my work permit go “on hold” if I temporarily leave Canada?
A: No, the time on your permit continues to run out. The time cannot be put on hold.