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Frequently Asked Questions

The following are common questions about lnternational Experience Canada as well as traveling and working in Canada.

FAQ common to all IEC countries | Kompass account FAQ

FAQ Specific to the United Kingdom

Applications and Funds

Work and Study

Passports and Immigration

FAQ Specific to the United Kingdom

1. Is the number of places limited? What is the quota?

There is a limit of 5,350 places for 2014, assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.

2. How old should I be to be eligible?

The International Experience Canada (IEC) is open to people aged 18 to 30. Please note you must be aged 18 to 30 on the date your complete IEC application is received in Kompass.

3. 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?

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.

4. Do I need to have a job lined up in Canada before I apply?

Under the Working Holiday category, you do not need to have a job lined up in Canada before you apply.

You may source an employer through travel and work abroad organizations, recruitment agencies, internet job sites or newspapers. You may also wish to consult Working in Canada.

5. I do not have an U.K. passport. Is there a working holiday arrangement for me?

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.

6. May I participate in the IEC initiative more than once?

Yes, you may participate in the IEC initiative twice under the Canada-United Kingdom youth mobility arrangement.

7. If I am issued a Letter of Introduction but do not use it, will I get back the program participation fee? May I apply again in other years?

Fees are non-refundable once the Letter of Introduction is issued. As well, each individual may participate in the IEC initiative only twice. You are deemed a participant once you are issued a Letter of Introduction.

8. I would like to take advantage of IEC to travel within Canada in 2014. What are the criteria?

Information on the 2014 IEC will be posted toward the end of 2013.

Applications and Funds

1. I am applying as a citizen of Northern Ireland. To which IEC initiative should I apply?

Citizens of Northern Ireland who hold a valid U.K. passport should apply to the U.K. IEC initiative. Citizens of Northern Ireland who hold a valid Irish passport should apply to the Ireland IEC initiative.

2. What address should I use for my “mailing address”, “residential address” and “permanent address” on my IEC application form?

The “mailing address” is the address where you wish to receive any correspondence from International Experience Canada during or after the application process. Your mailing and residential addresses can be the same.

The “residential address” on the IEC application is the address where you are currently living. For example, if you are currently in Canada participating in the IEC and are submitting a new application, we recommend that you put your Canadian residential address in this field. The “permanent address” is the address where you live on permanent basis. This should be a U.K. address.

3. What do I need to show as proof of funds upon arrival in Canada?

You must have a statement from your bank account that must have been issued no more than one (1) week before your departure for Canada. It must clearly indicate that you have sufficient funds in your account to support yourself financially for the first three months of your stay in Canada (C$2,500).

4. I am preparing to depart for Canada, but I do not currently have sufficient funds to support myself for my first three months in Canada as per the eligibility criteria of the IEC. What will happen when I arrive at the port of entry?

If you do not have a bank account statement that confirms you have sufficient funds to support yourself for the first three months of your stay in Canada (C$2,500), you no longer meet the eligibility criteria to participate in the IEC initiative. The border services officer who examines your documentation may not issue your work permit and may refuse your entry to Canada. It is therefore critical that you have this important statement with you when you first arrive in Canada.

5. My banking institution has informed me they will not provide a bank statement before my departure to Canada. What may I present as a substitute when I arrive at the port of entry?

If your banking institution will not provide you with a bank statement that demonstrates you have sufficient funds in your bank account to support yourself financially for the first three months of your stay in Canada (C$2,500), you may submit the following as proof of funds:

A letter on official letterhead from your banking institution issued no more than one (1) week before your departure for Canada. This letter must clearly show your account balance and it must be signed, dated, and preferably stamped.

Please note you must submit the original letter provided to you by your banking institution, not a photocopy.

6. I am already in Canada under the IEC initiative and am applying as a repeat participant. I am employed, but I do not have sufficient funds in my account as per the eligibility criteria of the IEC. Will a letter from my employer be enough to demonstrate I can support myself financially?

No. Assuming your new application to the IEC initiative is successful and you present yourself at a Canadian port of entry to obtain a new work permit, you must have a bank account statement that clearly shows you have sufficient funds in your bank account to support yourself financially for three months (C$2,500). A letter from your employer is not sufficient and will not be accepted.

7. What is the residency requirement?

Please note that the residency requirement for U.K. applicants has changed. Applicants are no longer required to demonstrate that they have lived continuously in the United Kingdom for the past three years.

8. I am in Canada/in another country. May I participate to the IEC initiative without coming back to the United Kingdom?

If your usual place of residence is the United Kingdom and you are temporarily out of the country, you may apply from the country where you are. If your application is accepted, you will receive your Letter of Introduction by email. If you are already in Canada, you must exit Canada and re-enter with your Letter of Introduction in order to have your work permit issued. Re-entry may occur through any Canadian port of entry.

9. I am currently in Canada on Working Holiday status and would like to apply to participate again next year. When may I submit a new application to the IEC?

You may submit an application to the IEC at any time we are accepting applications for an upcoming year. Note that you cannot be issued a new temporary work permit until your current permit expires, and the new Letter of Introduction you would be issued is valid for 12 months from the date of issue.

Work and Study

1. What kinds of jobs may I hold with the work permit issued under IEC? Are there restrictions on the duration of the employment contracts, the language of the workplace, the location or the number of employers I may have?

No. The work permit issued under the IEC initiative is valid for any type of job. There are no restrictions on the duration of the contract (within the 12-month period), the language or the location. Nor are there any restrictions on the total number of employers for whom you may work within the 12-month period.

Note that if you wish to work in certain fields - clinical laboratory workers, patient attendants in nursing and geriatric homes, teachers of primary or secondary schools or other teachers of small children, domestic work, workers who give in-home care to children/elderly/disabled persons, or day nursery workers - you will be required to have a medical examination and submit a medical report to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) as part of your application. If this is the case, you will be contacted by CIC when they review your application. You will need to allow for additional processing time.

2. Are there any restrictions on the type of employment I may hold in Canada?

No. However, certain professions in Canada are regulated.

3. I would like to do an internship in Canada as a requirement for my studies in the United Kingdom. Is this possible?

Yes. As a participant under IEC’s Working Holiday category, you will receive an “open” work permit. This means that any employer can offer you a contract of employment, including an internship.

4. I currently have a valid study permit. Is it possible to have a work permit within the framework of the IEC initiative at the same time?

No. Under the IEC initiative, you are not allowed to have two valid permits in progress at the same time. You may apply for a work permit, since a request for a permit does not cancel an ongoing permit. However, if you are accepted to participate in the IEC initiative, you will have to surrender your study permit to the border services officer at the port of entry before obtaining your work permit.

5. 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? What should I do?

You may not work in Canada without holding a valid work permit.  A work permit issued under the IEC initiative cannot be renewed or extended. Sometimes it is possible to obtain a work permit under the Temporary Foreign Workers program.

If you wish to extend your stay in Canada under Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s Temporary Foreign Workers Program, you must apply for a work permit at least 30 days before the expiry date of your current work permit under IEC.

Go to Citizenship and Immigration Canada or call 1-888-242-2100 to check the requirements for changing the conditions of your permit or extending your stay in Canada. You should make your inquiries after entry to Canada, while your current work permit is still valid.

6. My employment is starting soon, but my application for a work permit is currently being processed. May I go to Canada before I receive my Letter of Introduction?

We strongly recommend that you wait until you receive your Letter of Introduction before you book or pay for any travel to Canada, buy comprehensive health care insurance for your stay in Canada or make any commitments to employers, landlords, or roommates.

You may not begin working in Canada until you have been issued a work permit.

If you leave for Canada before receiving your Letter of Introduction, you will not receive a work permit when you arrive. It will be up to the officer at the Canadian port of entry to determine whether you will be admitted as a visitor (tourist). As a visitor, you will not be permitted to work.

If you are in Canada when you receive your Letter of Introduction by email, must exit Canada and re-enter with your Letter of Introduction in order to obtain your work permit. Re-entry may occur through any Canadian port of entry.

Passports and Immigration

1. What kind of passport is accepted under IEC?

IEC applicants must have a U.K. passport with British citizenship that will remain valid throughout the period of their stay in Canada. U.K. passport holders without British right of abode are not permitted to apply.

2. I am currently renewing my passport. May I submit my application with a photocopy of my previous passport and a letter stating that my passport is being renewed?

No. You must submit a photocopy of the appropriate pages of your new passport, otherwise your application will be considered incomplete.

3. Do I need a machine-readable and/or a biometric passport to enter Canada?

No, a machine-readable or biometric passport is not required to enter Canada.

4. Where do I find the passport number that I have to put on my IEC application form?

In a U.K. passport, the passport number is located in the top right-hand corner of page 2.

5. I have obtained my work permit. May I leave Canada during its validity?

Yes. During the validity of your work permit, you may leave and re-enter Canada as many times as you wish. However, you must ensure that you meet the entrance requirements of the country you plan to visit.

6. May I stay in Canada as a tourist after my temporary work permit expires?

You can apply to change your status in Canada by following the instructions at Application to Change Conditions or Extend Your Stay in Canada as a Worker at Application to Change Conditions or Extend Your Stay in Canada as a Worker. Your request may be granted.

7. I participated in the IEC initiative and now wish to apply for permanent residence status in Canada. How do I go about doing this?

To learn more about how to apply for permanent residence status in Canada, please consult Frequently Asked Questions at the website of the High Commission of Canada to the United Kingdom.

8. I have applied for permanent residence status and I’m waiting for my file to be processed. May I go to Canada in the meantime under the IEC initiative?

The IEC initiative is not designed to provide work permits to those waiting for permanent residence status. However, if you meet the eligibility criteria of the initiative, you are welcome to submit an application to participate.

9. What is the difference between a visa and a permit?

A visa is a piece of paper or a stamp placed in a passport or travel document that allows certain foreign nationals to travel to Canada. A permit is a document that confirms that the foreign national is authorized to work or study in Canada. One or both may be required, and one cannot be substituted for the other. As a U.K. citizen applying to the IEC initiative, you are applying for a work permit and not a visa or study permit.

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Date Modified:
2013-12-16