Maintain Your Immigration Status – IEC Canada (COVID-19)

March 25, 2020
Posted in How To Guide, Recognized Organization (RO)


With the status of the current COVID-19 pandemic, temporary residents in Canada with a work or study permit have been told to maintain valid status while in Canada. This can be done by applying for an extension before your current permit expires.

For IEC work permit holders, please keep in mind that if your IEC work permit expires, you cannot restore your status as a worker under International Experience Canada. We highly recommend that before making any assumptions, if your permit has already expired, check your specific situation with an immigration consultant to make sure you follow the right steps to restore your status. 

Maintain Your Immigration Status in Canada

Due to the COVID-19 situation, many International Experience Canada (IEC) participants are struggling to figure out what to do if they cannot return back to their home countries, but their IEC work permits are about to expire. What do you do in this situation?

The most common mistake we come across among IEC participants is thinking that if you come from a country that does not require a visa to enter Canada as a visitor, many people tend to believe that they can just remain in Canada as a visitor with a valid ETA (Electronic Travel Authorization) after their Working Holiday, Young Professional or International Co-Op work permit expires – this is a MISTAKE!  You MUST apply for an extension, otherwise, you will remain in Canada illegally. An ETA is not an authorization to remain in Canada after your IEC work permit expires. An ETA is an authorization to enter Canada by flight, just that! Don’t confuse your visitor status with an ETA.

Be sure you do NOT overstay in Canada after your International Experience Canada work permit expires. Even now, during the COVID-19 situation, the regulation is the same.

IRCC makes it very easy for you to do this online through your MyCIC account, you just need to follow their instructions to avoid any future problems when you try to apply for another permit or even entering Canada in the future. Do things right!

IMPORTANT: This also applies to you if you are in Canada and you have a new IEC work permit application currently in progress. This new IEC application will NOT provide you with implied status. International Experience Canada applications are NOT eligible for implied status. If you have submitted your profile into the Recognized Organization IEC pool and are currently waiting for an invitation to apply, you are NOT on implied status either.

Example: If you are currently on a Working Holiday in Canada and are applying for a new Young Professional permit under RO status (Recognized Organization), you MUST apply for an extension as a visitor. The RO work permit application will not provide you with implied status or allow you to remain in Canada. 

Apply for an extension as a visitor if you cannot leave Canada.

If you are currently on an International Experience Canada work permit: Working Holiday, Young Professional or International Co-op category, that is about to expire, and you are not planning on leaving Canada due to the COVID-19 situation, then you should apply online to extend your stay in Canada. Once you do so, you will be allowed to remain in Canada until a decision is made on your new application, in other words, this is also known as “Implied Status”.

Important facts:

  • COVID -19 situation will not be an excuse to overstay in Canada.
  • IRCC will not be waiving extension fees due to COVID-19. The visitor extension cost is CAD 100.
  • You can apply for an extension as a visitor, as long as the work permit has not expired.

You can find the instructions to apply online for an extension as a visitor on IRCC website, here you have the link with all the instructions.

Do NOT Flagpole to active your IEC work permit

Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) has advised on their website not to travel during this COVID-19 crisis to the Canada-U.S. border in order to update your immigration status in Canada until provided with further notice by the Government of Canada. You can learn more here. They consider this as non-essential travel, so do not consider flagpoleto activate your IEC Working Holiday or Young Professional permits during the COVID-19 situation. Make sure you follow the IRCC website and CBSA website for updates if the situation changes later on.

Still Have Doubts? Connect with an Immigration Professional!

We get it, not everyone will be comfortable applying on their own for an extension as a visitor in Canada. We highly recommend that you check the information from IRCC website at all times to find the requirements that are needed to apply for an extension as a visitor. But if you still have doubts, make sure you reach out to an Immigration Professional.

ICCRC maintains a registry of Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) to identify the professionals it regulates, so make sure that you verify any consultant before paying for any such immigration services. You will be able to verify any registered Immigration Professional by clicking here in this link. We all know that it can be quite pricey at times, but if you do not how to process your application, then you will want to make sure that you are in the right hands.

Considering a College Program to Study and Work in Canada?

Have you considered the possibility of studying and working in Canada after your IEC work permit? Then you should apply to our Study and Work Programs in Vancouver! These programs are commonly known as College Co-Op Programs (Diplomas or Certificates). You will be able to work part-time and study during the first half of your experience and just work full-time during the second half!

If English is not your first language and you would like to improve your communication skills and get a College Co-Op Diploma in Canada, focused on Business or Hospitality Management, this is the way for you to extend your stay in Canada. Through this opportunity, you will be able to get professional experience by improving your business communication skills in English at an affordable price from 6 months onward!

Fill in the form below to organize a FREE consultation and get your study and work experience in Canada started!

Disclaimer: No Legal Advice Provided.

The material on our website and on this webpage is intended to provide only general information and comment to our clients and the public. Although we make our best efforts to ensure that the information found on our website is accurate and timely, do not, under any circumstances, rely on information found on our website as legal or immigration advice. Nor do we guarantee the accuracy of any information contained on websites to which our website provides links. For assistance with your specific inquiry or problem, please contact a lawyer or an immigration consultant.