Whether you want to gain experience in hospitality or engineering, work for a non-profit or tech start-up – and everything in-between – doing an international co-op in Canada will make you stand out in today’s globally competitive market and open valuable doors in your future career. So, if you’re thinking about doing an internship in Canada, read on to learn how to apply for an international co-op visa in Canada.
In order to secure an international co-op in Canada, you will need to apply for an internship visa, called the IEC international co-op work permit. This work permit allows young students from specific countries to obtain work experience in Canada for up to 12 months (depending on the country). It is also mandatory, even if your internship is unpaid or for a short period of time.
The international co-op visa for Canada is employer-specific, which means that it is only valid for you to complete your internship at your employer in Canada. As a result, you are not allowed to work on the side.
Please note that each IEC country has its own specific requirements, but in general, you must:
Once you have found an internship, otherwise known as your international co-op in Canada, it is important to explain to the potential host company the steps they will need to complete so that you can apply for your international co-op visa.
IMPORTANT: Ensure that your employer pays the Employer Compliance Fee and submits your internship offer through the Employer Portal before you submit your application for an internship work permit in Canada.
Some companies require their legal department to complete this step, so make sure you give the host company enough time to check all the requirements to complete this step. The fact that internships can be unpaid – as it is part of your studies back home to gain credits – requires companies to do things properly as otherwise unpaid internships are not legal in Canada and companies can face serious consequences.
As with other IEC permits, candidates are accepted into ‘pools(s)’ and will wait to be drawn to receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA).
Once you receive your invitation, you will have ten days to accept your Invitation to Apply (ITA) before it expires. Once you accept, you will then have 20 days to submit your work permit application.
Your employer must provide you with an employment ID number that you will need to complete your international co-op visa application.
Now it’s time to complete your personal details on your IEC Profile, which includes the following:
Among the required documents you will need to upload:
Time to submit your application for your international co-op in Canada! The fees are as follows:
You must complete biometrics at any of the visa application centers, even if your country of citizenship does not have one or if it is far from your town, biometrics are mandatory.
Please note that your application will only be processed after you complete biometrics, and you will have 30 days to get them done.
As mentioned, an international co-op for Canada takes time. This varies from six to eight weeks from when you complete your biometrics. This means that if you are planning to do an internship in Canada in June 2023, you should start working on finding your internship no later than January 2023, so that you have enough time to complete all the necessary steps.
Once you get your approval letter or Port of Entry Letter (POE), you can travel to Canada!
You will not be entering as a visitor, therefore you must come ready to go through immigration and collect your international co-op permit upon arrival.
To receive your internship permit upon arrival you must present:
Interested in applying for an international co-op in Canada? On our Internship Programs, we will guarantee your dream internship in Canada, provide step-by-step support on applying for the international co-op visa, and a whole lot more! Get in touch to learn more about how we can help you.
“My adventure with Stepwest was just perfect! If you want a good experience in Canada you should go with them. They were very helpful in getting me to Whistler. I am very happy and I really thank them!”
“Potentially the nicest people on the planet! I was never left to worry during any step of my progress... You feel like they really genuinely care about you going on your adventures :)”
“If it wasn't for Stepwest I wouldn't be in Canada right now, they helped me with everything from getting my visa application started to getting a job here in Canada...”
“Fantastic experience with Stepwest ... they were extremely friendly, quick to respond and offered very helpful advice throughout the whole process. Thank you!!”
“My experience with Stepwest was amazing... I would recommend Stepwest to anyone that wants to have a great experience in Canada.”
“One of the best decisions of my life. They have made everything easy and clear. I am very grateful to the entire team for their attention and dedication. I would absolutely recommend them!”