The International Experience Canada Program and Its Eligibility Requirements

International Experience Canada (IEC) is a program wherein you can apply for work permits under three broad categories –

  • Working Holiday
  • Young Professionals
  • International Co-Op Internship

Each category has its own set of eligibility standards and may vary from country to country. However, there are certain general requirements to be met with to apply under this pool.

  1. Age – An applicant must be roughly between 18-30 (18-35 for some countries).
  2. Valid Passport – An applicant must have a valid passport to travel abroad.
  3. Financial Stability – An applicant must be able to demonstrate that they are financially independent and would not become a burden for Canada.
  4. Health Insurance – An applicant is required to obtain a health insurance before he/she travel to Canada which must be valid for the full duration of the applicant’s stay in Canada.
  5. Admissibility Checks – There are various admissibility checks overseen by various departments of Canada like the CBSA and ESDC. You must be found admissible by each of these designed authorities.

The process (IEC): The first thing you do is to create an online profile and provide your personal and background information. Submitting an online profile does not get you a work permit. For that purpose, you need an invitation to apply for a work permit application. So when you submit your online information, you are assessed along with many other applications for your eligibility. If there is a requirement and you are found apt, you will receive an Invitation to Apply for the work permit. In case you fail to receive an Invitation to Apply, then you must provide verifiable documents to the IRCC to support the information you stated in your profile. Any additional information on your education, work experience, training and language ability might also be required.

Canada’s Start Up Program for Aspiring Entrepreneur: The Entrepreneur Start up Visa category under Business Immigration to Canada Program allows an applicant to immigrate to Canada as a permanent resident. This program is specially designed to guide, support and give assistance to aspiring entrepreneurial applicants for establishing their business in Canada. The applicants must fulfil the minimum eligibility criteria in order to benefit from this provision. Initially, Canada floated the Start-Up Visa Program as a five-year plan to analyse the success of the program among the entrepreneurs looking for new opportunities for business expansion and re-settlement in Canada. This program targeted skilled foreign entrepreneurs who had the potential to foster Canadian economy and contribute to the growing global reputation of Canada.  It also aimed at giving boost to those businesses that would train Canadian nationals in acquiring new skills and provide them with employment opportunities. Despite its slow start, the program soon gained attention of the foreign investors wanting to settle in Canada permanently, and was therefore, established in 2017 as a permanent program.

Eligibility Criteria: There are four parameters to assess the eligibility of an entrepreneur wanting to settle in Canada –

    1. Business Supported by a Designated Organization: Designated organizations are government-approved bodies authorised by the Canadian government to invest in and support new businesses and start-ups. There are 3 kinds organizations each for a different kind of trade – venture capital funds, angel investor groups and business incubators. Under this, the applicant is required to obtain a letter of support from a designated organization in Canada that guarantees continuous interest and investment in the applicant’s business. The applicant must then co-ordinate with a business group which has shown interest in the proposed business idea and is ready to take it further in a formal manner. With that done, the designated organization will also have to provide a Certificate of Commitment to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) along with a summary of the commitment, and the terms and conditions of the deal. An application without a letter of support will be rejected. Each designated organization had a unique set of requirements and procedures which must understood before making an application.
    2. Meet the Requirements of Business Ownership: The applicant must show a minimum investment – as mentioned in the latest guidelines issued by the Canadian immigration office – solicited from a designated organization capital fund or from a designated angel investor group. As per the program, there can be up to five owners of one business. Each owner applying under the program must have at least 10% voting rights. All clients applying together must hold at least 50% of the voting rights.
    3. Language Proficiency in either English or French:The applicant must meet the minimum level of language proficiency in either English or French determined as per the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) in all 4 skills including reading, writing, listening and speaking. An applicant can take the language test multiple times as required to get the desired result which is 5 in either language. The test must be taken from an authorised agency such as the IELTS or the CELPIP.
    4. Financial Stability: The applicant must be able to demonstrate his/her settlement funds right at the time of applying. This is done to ensure that the applicant is in the financial position to settle in Canada as a permanent resident. The minimum settlement fund requirement is subject to change from the Canadian government and must be checked when making settlement plans. The minimum settlement funds are also based on the number of accompanying family members of the principle applicant. You would need to ensure that the funds in your name are transferable, in liquid form, and that there is no outstanding debt in your name disabling you from using the funds. Apart from these qualifications, the applicant should be able to furnish a full authorized record that validates his/her medical fitness and also establishes that he/she does not have any criminal record. A thorough investigation of an applicant’s background record will be made to  confirm the safety and security of Canadian nationals.