Portugal is the newest country to have an agreement with Canada under the International Experience Canada (IEC) program. This opens further channels of exchange between Canadian and Portuguese youth by providing an opportunity for Portuguese youth to work and travel in Canada, while Canadian youth may work and travel in Portugal.
Earlier this year, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, and the Secretary of State of Portuguese Communities Abroad, signed the new bilateral Youth Mobility Arrangement between Canada and Portugal. That agreement has now been finalized.
As part of this agreement, foreign nationals from Portugal may participate in all 3 of IEC’s programs – working holiday, international co-op and young professionals – when the 2019 season opens.
The IEC Program allows youth to gain valuable international work experience and travel abroad. With the addition of Portugal, Canada now has formal Youth Mobility Arrangements with 34 countries and territories where Canadian youth are allowed to work while they travel. Young people from these same countries and territories are also able to come to Canada to work and travel.
Canada and Portugal enjoy a strong relationship, founded on common values, deep and significant people-to-people bonds, and mutually beneficial commercial relations. Canada is home to a vibrant Portuguese-Canadian community with more than 480,000 Canadians of Portuguese origin.
Each year, approximately 20,000 Canadians take advantage of the work and travel experiences to be gained through the IEC program annually, and many return to Canada with life-changing experiences valuable to both their personal and professional lives.
Each country or territory may call their categories or work permits by a different name, but the type of work permit Canadians can apply for will either be an open work permit (an individual can work for any employer) or an employer-specific work permit (an individual can only work for one employer).
For foreign youth, there are 3 categories of participation under the IEC program:
- Working Holiday participants receive open work permits that allow them to work anywhere in the host country, to support their travels.
- International Co-op participants receive employer-specific work permits that allow students to gain targeted experience in their field of study.
- Young Professionals participants receive an employer-specific work permit to gain targeted, professional work experience that is within their field of study or chosen career path.