IEC 2021 Recognized Organization – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

April 2021: We have now reached the maximum number of applications that we can process due to the limitations on the quota for Recognized Organizations. 

IEC 2021 is here, and since Canada presently has travel restrictions in place, IEC has done their best to continue the program while following current regulations to enter Canada. Due to current travel restrictions, Working Holiday candidates will have to provide proof of a valid job offer to receive an invitation to apply for the regular IEC season and the RO IEC 2021 season.

We know that the job offer requirements will be a game-changer for many applicants that were hoping to apply for a “regular” working holiday permit. We know for a fact that IEC has made a huge effort to open the season, even with the difficult circumstances. IEC could have easily been canceled for 2021, but now many applicants that have an employer in Canada will be able to benefit from this new season.

As every year, our quota is limited, so unfortunately we will not be able to help all the applicants that apply for our RO program. For this reason, we are putting in place a very straightforward process to apply to be considered for our RO program during IEC 2021.

Please make sure that you read the following information BEFORE you submit an application.

Submitting an application and receiving a confirmation email does NOT mean that you have secured an invitation. Once we have received your application, we will carefully review it and contact you to organize an online meeting to go over the details. Only after that meeting and after providing a valid job offer you will receive official confirmation of acceptance into the program.

Who can apply to our RO Program during IEC 2021?

You will be eligible to submit your application to be considered if:

  • You currently have an eligible job offer in Canada.
  • Your country of nationality has open during the IEC 2021 season.  
  • For participants within Canada – you MUST have a valid status in Canada at the time of the application and during your application.

IMPORTANT: We won’t be able to help participants from the following countries as pools are not open yet: Austria, Croatia, Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland or Slovenia.

Application process for RO IEC 2021

Make sure you read all the instructions BEFORE submitting an application. DO NOT submit multiple applications. We will filter applicants by their latest submission, so if you apply several times, you will be moving your application down on the list. Make sure you have ALL the information with you before you apply.


1. Gather information about your job offer.

You do NOT need the actual job offer to get started applying for our RO Program, but you need to share with us as much information as possible about your employer and your position through our application form.

For your RO Application you will need to provide a valid job offer. These are some of the details you will need to provide through your job offer:

  1. Business’s legal name and business’ operating name
  2. You Job title at the company.
  3. Physical job location (complete address)
  4. Main duties of your role at the company
  5. Expected start date of employment
  6. Expected duration of employment
  7. Employer’s primary contact information (email, phone number, website)
  8. Wage and expected hours of work.


2. Update your Resume

Make sure you provide your most updated resume through our application form. Make sure you include:

  1. Current address (including city and country)
  2. Most updated education and work experiences. Please include the countries – Indicate any stays of 6 months or more outside your home country so that we can help you identify any additional Police Certificates required for your application.
  3. Contact details (email, phone number)


3. Complete our application form on

Make sure you complete your application form selecting the RIGHT program:

  • RO Working Holiday: for Working Holiday work permit category.
  • RO Hospitality Job: for Young Professional work permit category.

Do NOT select any other option from our program list if you want to be considered for our Recognized Organization Program, as we won’t be able to find your application.

During IEC 2021 we will be giving priority to participants with job offers at this time. Please keep in mind that we will not consider an incomplete application.


4. Confirmation email – Wait for our response

Due to the high volume of applications, we are unable to contact each applicant individually regarding the status of their application, so please bear with us. As a Recognized Organization of International Experience Canada, and following the IEC overall goal to facilitate work and travel in Canada for international youth – at Stepwest we aim to support as many applicants as possible, but unfortunately, the quota is very limited.

Every participant that has worked with us before knows how seriously we take the process with our applicants, we spend the necessary time to make sure that our clients are eligible for the program and match the final purpose of the International Experience Canada program: work and travel in Canada.

IMPORTANT: Submitting an application and receiving a confirmation email does NOT mean that you have secured an invitation. Once we have received your application, we will carefully review it and contact you to organize an online meeting to go over the details. Only after that meeting and after providing a valid job offer will you receive official confirmation of acceptance into the program.



Is my country open to participate under RO IEC 2021 season?

You can check it here. Please note that not all the IEC countries have confirmed yet their participation this year. IEC works as a bilateral agreement, so both countries must agree on the opening. So far, only confirmed countries opening on March 01st, 2021 will be allowed to participate under RO status.

My work permit is about to expire, can I speed up my registration?

NO, everyone is equally as important so we will be reviewing applications in order.

If you are currently on an IEC work permit that is about to expire, you MUST apply for an extension as a visitor to remain in Canada. Please remember that IEC work permits can NOT be extended: An IEC work permit cannot be extended past the maximum duration specified in each country or territory’s youth mobility arrangement.

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.

Does the Job Offer need to be in essential services?

NO, no need for the job position to be one as an essential worker. The offer of employment will not limit the type of job as long as the company has its location in Canada and is eager to offer you a FULL-TIME position.

No worries, for the Working Holiday work permit category as your job does NOT need to be NOC 0 (zero), A, or B. This requirement will be only necessary if you apply for the Young Professional work permit category.

Please note that we can NOT accept as valid job offer, the following options:

  • Unpaid positions
  • Volunteer work
  • Freelance or Contractor
  • Caregiver (unless you work for a Business in Canada)

What are the requirements for an employer to provide a Job Offer?

Your employer in Canada MUST be a registered company in Canada and offer you a full-time position in Canada.

You will need to provide the contact details of your employer. Your employer could be contacted anytime by IRCC during your work permit process or after you get approved and activate your work permit to verify that the information submitted was correct.

If a job is required to apply for a Working Holiday, will I get an open work permit?

YES, it will be an open work permit, but you will require a job offer not only to receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) but also to enter Canada, if you are travelling from outside Canada at this time.

The new requirement from IEC is built so that you are expected to work for the employer that will provide you with a job offer to get invited to apply for the work permit. Your host company details will be received and reviewed by IEC.

Will the length of my Job Offer match the duration of my RO IEC work permit?

No, the duration of your work permit will not be connected to the length of your job offer, but instead the maximum duration allowed under the YMA rules of your country of origin, or for the length of time your insurance coverage.

Example: You are from Sweden and you received a Job Offer to work in Whistler for 6 months and you are applying for a Working Holiday permit under our RO program.

As long as you can provide valid insurance for 12 months at the moment you want to activate your work permit (webform from within Canada or landing in Canada from abroad), you should receive a 12 months working holiday permit as that’s the max. duration under the youth mobility agreement between Sweden and Canada. You can verify the max. duration of each country here (scroll all the way down!).

Would I still have 12 months to activate the work permit if needed?

Yes, but your employer MUST agree on your new start date so you can receive an updated Job Offer letter that matches the new dates. The expiry date of your POE will clearly be marked in your letter once your IEC work permit is approved, as under regular IEC.

Can I book my spot now and get a job offer later or travel in 2022?

No, at this time we will give priority to participants that have a current valid job offer in Canada. For now we will be focused on applicants that are ready to start working in the near future.


Martin from Slovakia

Could I get an Invitation first and submit a Job Offer through my IEC work permit application?

No, in order to be eligible to receive an Invitation to Apply through a Recognized Organization, you MUST have a job Offer at the time of application. As a final step, we will send your details for a nomination along with your Job Offer to be reviewed by IEC. If successful you will receive your Invitation to Apply under our RO program.

I have a job offer in Canada, when should I enter the RO pool?

Only after you have been accepted in the program. Once you are officially accepted in the program you will be able to create your IEC profile following the instructions here. We will need you to send us the “Welcome to the Pool Letter” you will receive after submission, so we can get your Application Number.

An IEC application profile number starts with a “W” followed by 9 digits and can be found on the letter you received from International Experience Canada when you submitted your profile into the RO Stepwest pool.

Please note that if you have not been accepted under the RO program through us, being in the RO Pool will not make a difference.

If I apply under RO during IEC 2021 but I change my plan and decide not to travel to Canada, can I extend my POE?

We can not confirm this at this time. IEC is opening this year for those applicants that have a valid job offer in Canada for the near future. If you are not planning to travel during 2021, you might want to be cautious to not use your participation this year, as we can not guarantee that POEs issued during 2021 will be extended.

I am 31, but the age limit for my country is 30, can I use a RO?

YES, under a Recognized Organization you will be eligible until the day you turn 36 years old, no matter your country of nationality. Please remember that you will still need to have a job offer to be eligible to participate under the IEC 2021 Season.

Will Stepwest offer Young Professional under RO IEC 2021?

Yes, we do offer the Young Professional work permit category, even if your country does not offer this category under regular IEC.

Example: If you are from the UK, under the regular IEC you would not be allowed to apply for a Young Professional permit, whereas if you apply under RO status, you will have access to that work permit category and the duration will be up to 24 months max.

Can I apply if I participated under regular IEC already?

Yes, you could participate if you have used up the options under the regular IEC agreement of your country of citizenship. If you participated already under a Recognized Organization, you could be considered, but during the first round, we will give priority to participants that have never used a RO before.

I received my POE a few years ago but I never travelled to Canada, am I considered repeat participation?

Yes, once IEC issues a POE if you don’t use it to activate your work permit traveling to Canada, that’s considered already a participation.

Same if you got to travel to Canada, activated your IEC work permit but left after a few months only. That’s also considered a previous participation. Remember that after you receive the work permit, you can not stop or pause the length of your permit, not even during COVID times.

Can I apply if I have a job offer, but I am outside Canada?

Yes, you can. Please keep in mind that after your POE is issued to travel to Canada you will need to comply with all the requirements to be allowed to enter. You can check the latest update about travel restrictions for Canada for IEC POE holders.

What if I am in Canada as a worker, visitor or student? Do I need a job offer if I am already in Canada?

Yes, as long as you have a valid status in Canada you can participate under our RO IEC 2021 program. And YES, you do need a job offer as well, it does not matter that you are currently in Canada.

I applied for an extension as a visitor before my IEC work permit expired, can I apply?

Yes, that’s totally fine! As long as you have a submission confirmation letter to prove that you applied for an extension as a visitor before your IEC work permit expired, you will be fine. Remember that an IEC RO work permit application through us will not give you implied status, that’s why it is so important that you maintain your status while you wait for your new RO IEC work permit to be processed.

Gabriel - Grotto Canyon Trail

@gabomurillofer from Costa Rica

I applied for an extension of my IEC permit, can I participate?

An IEC work permit cannot be extended past the maximum duration specified in each country or territory’s youth mobility arrangement.

Any applicant that applies for an extension as a worker will most likely receive a denial letter and be asked to leave the country or apply for a restoration of status as soon as possible. This step means you lost your status in Canada and will need to be restored.

Please note that IRCC will not activate IEC work permits within Canada for applicants that applied for restoration of status until an applicant receives the resolution of that application, this could take months delaying the process for a very long time.

My passport is about to expire in the next months, can I apply?

Yes, you can apply for the RO programs, BUT we highly recommend you to get a new passport BEFORE you submit your work permit application. If that’s not possible you will need to follow the instructions from IEC before activating your work permit so you can get the full duration of your work permit. Please check the process here.

Would IEC open this year spots for participants with no job offer?

We have no details about any future openings but if things change we will update our website with the latest updates.

?@kajajich from the Czech Republic

Our RO Quota is limited for IEC 2021

April 2021: We have now reached the maximum number of applications that we can process due to the limitations on the quota for Recognized Organizations.

Thank you so much!

Disclaimer: No Legal Advice Provided.

The material on our website and on this webpage is intended to provide only general information to our clients. 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. We can not answer client-specific immigration-related questions or provide any immigration advice. For assistance with your specific inquiry, please contact IEC directly through the IRCC website or contact a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC).