IEC visa holders can now come to Canada

Effective May 8, 2020, some International Experience Canada (IEC) visa holders are exempt from Canada’s coronavirus travel restrictions.

Only IEC participants who have a valid job offer can immigrate to Canada, according to Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

EC participants with a job offer should take note that they are legally required to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arriving to Canada and need to provide authorities with a self-quarantine plan. 

Only four Canadian airports are currently receiving international flights: Vancouver (YVR), Calgary (YYC), Montreal (YUL), and Toronto (YYZ). 

The IEC enables youth, generally between the ages of 18-35, to obtain open work permits in Canada for between 1-2 years. 

These youth are citizens of Canada’s peer countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Costa Rica, most European Union member states, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea. 

Since travel restrictions were introduced on March 18, IRCC has held eight program-specific draws focusing specifically on PNP and Canadian Experience Class applicants.


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Both categories of applicants are most likely to be already in Canada than those coming through other Express entry programs, which means they will not be impacted by the current travel restrictions.

Before the pandemic, the vast majority of draws included candidates from all programs managed under the Express Entry system.

The last time an all-program draw was held was March 4, 2020. That draw, saw 3,900 candidates receive invitations with a minimum CRS score of 471.

The Express Entry system is Canada’s principal source of skilled foreign workers. It manages the profiles of candidates for Canada’s three Federal High Skilled economic class immigration programs — the Federal Skilled Worker Class, the Federal Skilled Trades Class, and the Canadian Experience Class

Eligible candidates are entered into the Express Entry pool and are ranked based on a CRS score that considers factors such as age, education, skilled work experience and proficiency in English or French.

A set number of the highest-ranked candidates are issued an invitation to apply for Canadian permanent residence through regular draws from the Express Entry pool.


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