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Increasing the validity period of IEC work permits

International Mobility Program: Canadian interests – Reciprocal employment – Increasing the validity period of work permits under the International Experience Canada Program

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada staff. It is posted on the Department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

As a rule, no work permit extensions are authorized under the International Experience Canada (IEC) Program. However, there are instances where Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) may allow IEC clients to increase the validity period of their work permit to reach the maximum validity period allowed within a specific category.

It should be noted that each country or territory has a unique bilateral agreement or arrangement with Canada. Some countries, territories and recognized organizations (ROs) allow participation in the program more than once. If the country, territory or RO’s agreement or arrangement allows participation more than once, the client has to apply for a new participation (not an extension of the current participation) from outside Canada.

The validity period for an IEC work permit may not exceed the maximum length of stay authorized under the bilateral agreement or arrangement. The clients may, however, be able to create a new IEC profile for a second participation if

  • their country of citizenship allows multiple participation’s; and
  • they still meet IEC eligibility criteria.

For example, under the Young Professionals category, Australians may be eligible for a work permit for up to 24 months. There are instances where Australians may correct or increase the validity period of their work permit to reach the maximum duration allowed (24 months) under this category. However, once an increase in the validity period of their work permit is granted, the total cumulative time allowed cannot exceed 24 months.

Reasons for issuing a work permit valid for a shorter time than the validity period allowed under a bilateral agreement or arrangement are as follows:

  • under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR), officers cannot issue a work permit or grant temporary resident status beyond the validity of the passport—exceptions to this are noted in subsection R52(1);
  • health insurance validity is shorter than the letter of offer from the employer;
  • the duration of the offer of employment is shorter than the maximum duration allowed; or
  • an administrative error was made.

The following are scenarios that describe when IEC participants can or cannot increase the validity period of their work permits beyond what was initially granted to them by the border services officer at a port of entry.

Scenario 1 – Administrative errors were made relating to the validity period of the work permit

Remarks in the Global Case Management System (GCMS) indicate the work permit is to be issued for a certain period of time (e.g., 24 months), but the officer at the port of entry issued a work permit for a shorter period than what was indicated in the GCMS remarks. The Passport office can get you a validity covers the entire period (24 months), and the client has health insurance coverage for the entire period and has met all medical requirements.

  • IRCC will allow the client to submit an application to amend the validity period of their work permit up to the maximum duration allowed under the bilateral agreement or arrangement.
  • Applicants should be instructed to send a paper application to the Case Processing Centre in Vegreville (CPC-V) to change conditions/extend your stay as a worker.

Note: Under this scenario, the employer is not required to submit a new offer of employment and pay the employer compliance fee. The IEC client remains exempt from having to pay the work permit processing fees and participation fees.

If the new work permit application is approved, the validity date should not go beyond the maximum duration allowed from the date of entry.

Scenario 2 – Validity period of the passport is shorter than the validity period of the offer of employment

The validity period of the offer of employment is 24 months, and the health insurance covers the 24 months, but the foreign national was issued a work permit of shorter duration to match the validity period of the passport.

  • IRCC will allow the client to submit an application to amend the validity period of their work permit up to the maximum duration allowed under the bilateral agreement or arrangement on presentation of a new passport.
  • Applicants should be instructed to send a paper application to the CPC-V to change conditions/extend your stay as a worker.

Note: Under this scenario the employer is required to submit a new offer of employment and pay the employer compliance fee. The IEC client remains exempt from having to pay the work permit processing fees and participation fees.

If the new work permit application is approved, the validity date should not go beyond the maximum duration allowed from date of entry.

Scenario 3 – Validity period of the client’s health insurance is shorter than the validity period of the offer of employment

The foreign national was issued a work permit with a validity period that matches the validity period of their health insurance, which is shorter than the validity period in the offer of employment or, in the case of an open work permit issued under the Working Holiday category, shorter than the duration indicated in the GCMS remarks.

Note: Under this scenario, it is the IEC participant’s choice not to seek health insurance to cover the validity period of the offer of employment or, in the case of an open work permit issued under the Working Holiday category, their anticipated stay in Canada.

  • IRCC will not allow the client to submit an application to amend the validity period of their work permit up to the maximum duration allowed under the bilateral agreement or arrangement.
  • The applicant failed to obtain travel insurance that fully covers their anticipated stay, as stipulated in their letter of introduction; therefore, their work permit application will automatically be denied.
  • The IEC participant cannot increase the validity period of their work permit. If they receive a work permit with a shorter validity period due to the length of their insurance coverage, they are not eligible to apply to increase the validity period of their work permit at a later date.
  • They may be able to create a new IEC profile for a second participation if
    • their country of citizenship allows multiple participation; and
    • they still meet IEC eligibility criteria.
  • The client may also be able to apply for a work permit outside the IEC Program. If they do apply for a new work permit under another program (Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)-required or LMIA-exempt), they should apply at least 30 days before their IEC work permit expires in order to apply from within Canada.

Scenario 4 – Validity period of the offer of employment is shorter than the maximum duration allowed (same employer and employment)

The validity period of the offer of employment is shorter than the maximum duration allowed under the bilateral agreement or arrangement. The foreign national was issued a work permit with a duration that corresponds with the offer of employment.

The foreign national receives a new offer of employment from the same employer for the same location and same duties to extend their employer-specific work permit (same conditions of the initial offer of employment) to reach the maximum validity period allowed in the bilateral agreement or arrangement.

  • This is an application for an increase in the length of validity of the client’s work permit allowed under the bilateral agreement or arrangement.
  • IRCC will allow the client to submit an application to amend the validity period of their work permit up to the maximum duration allowed under the bilateral agreement or arrangement.
  • Applicants should be instructed to send a paper application to the CPC-Vegreville to Change Conditions as a Worker.

Note: The employer is required to submit a new offer of employment and pay the employer compliance fee. The IEC client remains exempt from having to pay work permit fees and participation fees.

  • The IEC participant is permitted to increase the validity period of their work permit to the maximum validity period allowed under the bilateral agreement or arrangement only onceper participation.
  • The IEC participant must provide proof that they have full health insurance coverage for the entire duration that they are applying for(this additional coverage can be purchased after arrival).
  • The IEC participant can increase the validity period of their work permit if they stay with the same employer to reach the maximum duration allowed under the bilateral agreement or arrangement.
  • This is an extension within the participation and counts as the same participation.
  • Any new participation must be applied for in the regular manner by submitting a profile to the pool and waiting for an Invitation to Apply.

The applicant is responsible for restoring their status, if required, and paying the appropriate processing fees.

Scenario 5 – Validity period of the offer of employment is shorter than the maximum duration allowed with changes in working conditions

The validity period of the offer of employment is shorter than the maximum duration allowed under the bilateral agreement or arrangement. The foreign national was issued a work permit with a duration that corresponds with the offer of employment.

The foreign national receives a new offer of employment from the same employer but to work at a different address (office) or in a different city, province or territory, and wants to extend their employer-specific work permit (with the same duties and company but at a different address) to reach the maximum validity period allowed in the bilateral agreement or arrangement.

  • IRCC will not allow the client to submit an application to amend the validity period of their work permit up to the maximum duration allowed under the bilateral agreement or arrangement.
  • This is a change of condition in the IEC participation. Changing location but keeping the same employer and duties is seen as a new participation, as the IEC participant’s work permit is issued for a specific employer, at a specific location.
  • The client may be able to create a new IEC profile for a second participation if
    • their country of citizenship allows multiple participations; and
    • they still meet IEC eligibility criteria.
  • The client may also be able to apply for a work permit outside the IEC Program. If they do apply for a new work permit under another program (LMIA-required or LMIA-exempt), they should apply at least 30 days before their IEC work permit expires in order to apply from within Canada.

Note: If the foreign national applied for a new LMIA-exempt work permit, the new employer is required to submit a new offer of employment and pay the employer compliance fee. The foreign national must pay the applicable work permit processing fees if they applied for a work permit application outside the IEC Program.

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