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:
Q: Is the number of places limited? What is the quota?
A: There is a limit of 2500 places for 2013, 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 35. If you are about to turn 18, or will soon turn 36, please note that the age criteria are assessed as of the date your application was stamped as received by the High Commission of Canada in New Zealand.
Q: My IEC application has been approved, but I will soon turn 36. 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 36 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. You must leave Canada before the expiry of your Work Permit or the expiry of your passport, whichever comes first. As such, we advise that you renew your passport before applying for the Working Holiday if it is due to expire before you intend to leave Canada. We recommend that your passport have a minimum validity of 24 months from the date that you lodge your application.
Q: Can I apply for the IEC Working Holiday if I am not in New Zealand?
A: Yes. You will need to send your application form, along with all other required documentation, to a responsible friend or family member in New Zealand. This person will need to obtain the participation fee on your behalf, and then submit your complete application to the High Commission of Canada in Wellington. If your application is successful, your Letter of Introduction will be emailed directly to you, the applicant, to the email address provided on your application form.
Q: How long does it take for approval of my application?
A: It normally takes about eight (8) weeks to process a regular application package from the time the High Commission of Canada receives your complete, correct application. Applications that include criminal conviction information, or where applicants require a medical, will take longer to process. To avoid delays, please ensure you undergo the medical examination (if required) in a timely fashion following the notification from the Consulate General of Canada in Sydney, Australia.
Q: Do I need to have a job lined up in Canada before I apply?
A: Under the Working Holiday category, you do not need to have a job lined up in Canada before you apply.
The High Commission of Canada in New Zealand 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 buy before leaving for Canada?
A: IEC requires you to buy and maintain comprehensive travel medical insurance for the entire duration of your stay in Canada. Neither the Government of Canada nor the provincial or territorial government in the Canadian province or territory in which you will be staying can be held liable for any medical fees and expenses that you incur. Please purchase this insurance only after you have received your Letter of Introduction informing you that you are successful in your Working Holiday application. You must be able to provide proof of this insurance to the Port of Entry Officer upon your entry to Canada.
Your insurance policy must cover you for health care, hospitalization and repatriation; specify Canada as the country in your coverage or include Canada as one of the countries in your coverage if you are traveling to other countries; and cover you for the entire duration of your intended stay in Canada. 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.
Please be advised that the IEC Sections at the High Commission of Canada in Wellington and at the Consulate General of Canada in Sydney do not have the mandate of providing a list of insurers and cannot provide further advice on insurance matters.
Q: I do not have a New Zealand passport. 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 Canadian IEC initiative more than once?
A: No, you may only participate in the IEC initiative once under the Canada-New Zealand youth mobility agreement.
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: Fees are not refundable once the Letter of Introduction is issued. As well, each individual may participate in the IEC initiative only once under the Canada-New Zealand youth mobility agreement. You are deemed a participant once you are issued a Letter of Introduction.
Note: If you obtained a Letter of Introduction 2009 or earlier and did not present it at a Canadian port of entry, you may still be able to submit another application under the Working Holiday category. Please contact the High Commission of Canada.
Q: Is the IEC Working Holiday year specific? Do I have to wait until next year to apply?
A: You may apply under the current year’s IEC program even if you plan to enter Canada the following year. The Working Holiday work permit is not restricted to the year in which you make your application. If your application to IEC is successful, you will receive a Letter of Introduction that is valid for one year from the date of issue (note that this is not your actual work permit). For example, if you were issued a Letter of Introduction on June 15, 2013, you would have until the June 14, 2014 to enter Canada. On presenting your valid Letter of Introduction to a port of entry officer you will be issued with a work permit that will be valid for up to 12 months from the date you enter Canada.
Q: Can I include my family members (my spouse, my common-law partner, my child) on my IEC 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-aged children require study permits. Pre-school children may require temporary resident visas.
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 employees 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 kinds 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 and 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 35 who want to travel and work in Canada.
Q: What is a Letter of Introduction?
A: A Letter of Introduction is a document sent from a visa office to confirm approval of:
Q: What is the difference between a work permit issued through IEC and any other kind of work permit? Is there any other way I can work in Canada?
A: A work permit (code C-21) obtained through IEC is issued only 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. Further information is available through the Consulate General of Canada in Sydney, which is our regional visa and immigration office. Please visit their website.
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 can 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 enter Canada with my Letter of Introduction on a one-way ticket?
A: No. You cannot enter Canada on a one way ticket. For holders of a Letter of Introduction issued under IEC you must be able to provide evidence of return or onward travel. This may be by plane, train, bus or boat to anywhere outside of Canada.
Q: What are some common reasons applications are rejected?
A: These are some common reasons an application will be rejected:
Q: Can I volunteer while in Canada?
A: Yes. You may volunteer during your stay in Canada under the Working Holiday category. 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 Working Holiday work permit obtained through IEC cannot be extended
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 Scholarships 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 work permit cannot be renewed or extended under IEC.
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 Citizenship and Immigration Canada) 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.