From: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

News release

On June 10, 2020, Canada and Andorra, signed a new bilateral Youth Mobility, via a virtual signing ceremony.

This arrangement allows Young Canadians and Andorrans, who are between the ages of 18 and 30, to live and work in their respective countries, through the International Experience Canada (IEC) Program. This program allows the youths to work and travel for up to one year through the Working Holiday stream of IEC, a program managed by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Applicants may work for the same employer for the duration of their stay. Currently, there are temporary travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic; however, the program is set to open as soon as these are lifted and IRCC is able to start processing.

With the addition of Andorra, Canada now has formal youth mobility arrangements with 36 countries and foreign territories. This is the first youth mobility arrangement that Andorra has signed with any country.

Under the IEC Program, Canadians and foreign youthshave the opportunity to work while they travel, through a bilateral exchange program. The Program’s goal has three purposes. Firstly, it fosters people-to-people ties; second, it strengthens relationships between Canada and its partner countries and, third, it creates a competitive global workforce that contributes to Canada’s economic success.Canada and Andorra are also both members of La Francophonie and this new agreement will create stronger strong bonds between the two countries.

Marco Mendicino, the Minister of Immigration in Canada, is quoted as saying: “I am pleased that we have reached this arrangement with Andorra…we recognize that the pandemic poses some challenges and that travel may not be possible at the moment, we hope that Andorran youth will use this time to plan their future adventures in Canada. Our country has much to offer, and we look forward to welcoming you when we can.”

Mendicino has continuously upheld his commitment to bringing in new immigrants; although his plans have been curtailed with the COVID-19 pandemic. This indicates that once the travel restrictions are lifted, there will be a tremendous push to meet immigration goals.

IEC Applications in Process

Canada is continuing to accept submissions of profiles into IEC pools. However, due to service interruptions as a result of the pandemic, invitations and applications are not being processed at this time, so no applications will receive final decisions until further notice.

On a more positive note, IRCC is not closing or denying any applications in process due to a lack of documentation or inability to complete the application process in time.While timelines for when normal operations may resume are still unknown, they will reflect public health guidelines.

IEC Applicants with a Port of Entry Letter

IEC participants who hold a valid POE letter and a job offer in Canada (even in a non-essential sector), a written note from the employer is continuing to work and valid health insurance, are exempt from Canada’s travel restrictions, even if the job is a non-essential sector.

What Are the Options After the IEC to Remain In Canada

Once your IEC expires, you have several options:

  1. Extend your IEC for another year
  2. Apply for a Temporary Work Permit with an Employer who is willing to hire you
  3. Apply for a Visitor Visa which is valid for six months
  4. Obtain a Study Permit
  5. Apply Under the Express Entry to Stay Permanently in Canada after you have 1 year of work experience.

The IEC is an amazing program, especially since it provides you a pathway to permanent residency. If you are interested in the IEC program, or remaining in Canada after your IEC is completed, please contact us for additional information.