This article was authored by Ilene Solomon, Canadian Immigration Lawyer, Ilene Solomon Immigration Law.
International Experience Canada (IEC) provides open (Working Holiday) and employer-specific (Young Professional) Work Permits to youth aged 18 to 30 or 18 to 35 from various countries. Citizens of France, UK, Australia and 33 other countries (IEC countries) commonly use these Work Permits to come to Canada and acquire work experience paving the way towards permanent residency. What is perhaps less well known is that citizens of India and Brazil also have this option, facilitated by a Registered Organization (RO) called AIESEC Canada.
Eligibility Criteria and Application Process
AIESEC Canada is a non-profit organization that facilitates IEC Young Professional Work Permits through its Global Talent Program for foreign nationals from most IEC countries, India, and Brazil. Eligibility criteria for applicants are:
- Citizenship of an IEC country, India, or Brazil;
- Between the ages of 18-30, inclusive;
- A job offer from a CRA-registered Canadian employer for a NOC 0, A or B position in one of six fields: Business Development, Business Administration, Marketing, Finance, Engineering, or Information Technology. There is no educational or prior work experience requirement;
- Salary of at least $2,500 per month by a Canadian employer; and
- Proof of valid health insurance for the full duration of stay and proof of funds totalling $2,500, to be presented on arrival in Canada at the port-of-entry.
Immigration practitioners assisting Canadian companies that have already identified the foreign national they seek to hire can suggest that the company partner with AIESEC and pursue a “direct match” scenario. AIESEC advertises the job, the foreign national applies and is hired, and AIESEC facilitates the Work Permit. AIESEC also assists Canadian companies in recruiting from India and Brazil (a service that is built into the partnership fee), but this is less relevant to immigration practitioners.
Immigration practitioners assisting Indian and Brazilian individuals hoping to work in Canada, but lacking job prospects, can point them to the job ads on AIESEC’s website. The employers behind these ads are purposefully recruiting in India and Brazil, have already engaged with AIESEC, and are planning on supporting the foreign national with a Work Permit. Examples of positions in Canada currently being advertised on AIESEC’s website include: Junior Software Developer, Android Developer, Software Engineer, UI/UX Developer, Junior Mechanical Engineer in training, Environmental Technician, and Fashion Business Analyst.
Once a match between a foreign national and a Canadian company is made, both sign contracts with AIESEC and pay their respective participation fees ($2,000 for the company and approximately $200-$330 for Indian and Brazilian nationals). The company then submits the Offer of Employment and the foreign national submits the Work Permit application. The Work Permit application is processed by the Operations Support Centre in Ottawa and transferred to the Visa Office responsible for the foreign national’s country of citizenship for finalization. The bulk of the processing time is therefore country-specific. Once approved, a letter of introduction valid for one year yields a Work Permit valid for one year. Foreign nationals can apply a second time for a Work Permit, valid for one additional year.
Creating Path to Permanent Residence
The benefits of this type of Work Permit are far reaching. Working with AIESEC provides a valuable, less onerous, and cheaper alternative to the LMIA process. Furthermore, since the IEC Young Professional Work Permit is under the reciprocal employment category, once the foreign national has reached one year of full-time work and obtains a valid job offer, they can be awarded 50 Arranged Employment points under Express Entry.
Alternative to Working Holiday Visa
While this article focuses on the Global Talent Program’s applicability to Indian and Brazilian nationals, it is worth reiterating that the program also applies to all IEC countries except Mexico and Ukraine (which have not yet signed bilateral agreements). AIESEC makes the Young Professional Work Permit an option for foreign nationals from IEC countries that only offer the Working Holiday option through IRCC (UK, Hong Kong SAR, Italy, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Denmark, Belgium, Andorra, and San Marino). If a citizen of one of these countries is eligible, they can pursue the Young Professional Work Permit through AIESEC instead of waiting in a large and uncertain IEC Working Holiday pool hoping for an invitation to apply. AIESEC also facilitates volunteer opportunities through its Global Volunteer Program and teaching opportunities through its Global Teacher Program.
Beyond facilitating a Work Permit, AIESEC provides a number of benefits to the foreign national before and upon arrival to Canada, such as support with finding accommodations, transportation assistance, and invitations to AIESEC events.
While immigration practitioners may not necessarily play a big role in IEC Work Permit processing, it is always useful to know that alternative options may exist for our corporate clients who would like to attract talent that may not fit under other Work Permit categories. It is also helpful to be aware that these LMIA-exempt AIESEC options exist when consulting with individual clients from certain parts of the world who may be looking for guidance with respect to temporary work and future permanent residence options in Canada.
If you would like to learn more about AIESEC, Alex Antoniewicz, National Vice President of Operations of AIESEC Canada would be happy to discuss. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 647-868-2126.