Hiring international mobile youth is a good alternative to address your labour needs. The Canadian government has bilateral reciprocal agreements with countries around the world to allow exchange of youth to work and/or study abroad. There are three types of work permits for international young workers: Working Holiday Program (WHP), Young Professional (YP) and International Co-op.
These work permits do not require a Labour Market Impact Assessment. Youth can apply for a work permit online, in many cases without any employer involvement. Many tourism employers have recruited staff, especially for seasonal positions, using one of the youth mobility programs and have enjoyed the benefits and convenience of these programs.
There are three types of permits that are collectively part of International Experiences Canada: Working Holiday Permit (WHP), Young Professional Permit (YPP) and International Co-op Permit (ICP).
- Working Holiday Permit offers a limited number of temporary work permits through Canadian embassies each year for foreigners, between the ages of 18 and 30 or 35. Young people from the affiliated countries may participate in the program typically one or two times, depending on their nationality. These permits are ‘open’, meaning they are not employer specific, and are issued for 12-24 month periods. They can be a great way for employers to fill peak season labour demands.
- Young Professionals Permit is issued for a 12-24 month period for young professionals aged 18-30 or 35 who are interested in gaining international professional work experience in their field. Applicants are required to hold a signed offer of employment or contract made by a Canadian employer before applying for the permit. Employment must typically be in the workers area of expertise (degree or work experience related). Young Professional Permits are employer-specific, meaning the applicant may only work for the specified employer. As such, the Canadian employer must submit an online ‘Offer of Employment to a Foreign National Exempt from an LMIA’ through the Employer Portal, and pay the associated $230 fee.
- International Co-op Permit (Internship) offers qualifying students currently enrolled in a foreign post-secondary institution the opportunity to gain valuable international work experience related to their field of study. Permits are employer-specific and issued for 6-24 months depending on the applicant’s nationality.
Applicants must first enter some background information into an online portal, to create their profile. Once submitted, they will remain in the pool of applicants. If chosen and offered one of the quota spaces for their country of nationality, they will be sent an Invitation to Apply (ITA). The applicant has 10 days to accept the ITA, and then 20 days to submit their application online for the work permit.
Each country has a specific quota noting how many work permits they can issue in a given year. The ‘pool’ typically opens to applicants the fall prior to the year the applicant would apply for. Youth interested in this program can check the pool opening dates, draws and quota numbers on IRCC’s website. Rules and requirements vary by country, can be found here.
Note that due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the IEC program is not sending out invitations and applications are not being processed at this time.
Information provided by Katie Van Nostrand, an employment lawyer with Mathews Dinsdale & Clark LLP. The information provided in this article is necessarily of a general nature and must not be regarded as legal advice. For more information about Mathews Dinsdale & Clark LLP, please visit www.mathewsdinsdale.com.