International Experience Canada – RO FAQs

Feb 24th 2021 – IEC UPDATE: even though IEC 2021 announced that they will be opening soon, we are NOT accepting applications for our RO programs in Canada (repeat participation) under RO.

Since 2015, Stepwest has been a Recognized Organization (RO) under International Experience Canada (IEC); a status given by Canada’s Department of Citizenship and Immigration. Please read the following information for further details about this program.

Since the last IEC 2019 season, we have been able to help participants that hold a passport from any of the IEC countries that currently have a Youth Mobility Agreement with Canada. We can assist participants to secure a new work permit under IEC, even if the participant has already used up all other work permit categories under the regular IEC agreement with their country of citizenship (i.e Working Holiday and Young Professional), check the details here.

We are also able to help you secure a work permit if you are over the age limit for your country of citizenship (i.e UK or Japan where the limit is 30 years old, with our RO status, the limit is now 35 years old). We can also help you secure your Working Holiday permit for Canada if your country of citizenship has a higher demand for this permit category than the number of available spots.

RO Eligibility Requirements with Stepwest

The requirements to participate will be the same as regular IEC. We will only register participants after we organize a one-on-one meeting together. We want to be sure your chances of getting your permit approved are very high before you pay for your program fee. We also want to be sure that there is nothing that could potentially jeopardize your work permit application under RO status!

To be eligible for the program you must:

  • Hold a valid passport from any of the IEC countries.
  • Be between ages 18 and 35 years old (inclusive)
  • Complete an individual consultation with our team to make sure we can help.

RO IEC Work Permit Categories & Duration

We will be offering the following categories under RO status:

  • Working Holiday – Open work permit
  • Young Professional – Employer-specific work permit.

Please keep in mind that the duration of your work permit under RO status will follow the Youth Mobility Agreement with your country of citizenship and Canada.

For example, regular IEC offers a 24-month Working Holiday Permit for Australian citizens. This means if an Australian citizen applies for an RO Working Holiday with Stepwest, they will secure a 24-month work permit. A citizen from Italy, where the Youth Mobility Agreement between countries is for 6 months, will secure a 6-month RO Working Holiday Permit.

IMPORTANT: If your insurance policy is valid for less than your expected stay upon arrival, you will be issued an IEC work permit that will expire at the same time as your insurance. If this happens, you will not be able to apply to change the conditions of your work permit at a later date and Stepwest as a Recognized Organization will not be responsible for this. We cannot emphasize enough the importance of your insurance duration when travelling under an International Experience Canada. You can read more about this here.

Frequently Asked Questions

I have already used up the number of participations under International Experience Canada for my country of citizenship, can I participate again with a Recognized Organization?

YES. Let’s say you are from Australia and you had already used up your Working Holiday permit, you could still apply through a Recognized Organization up to two additional times under the Working Holiday or Young Professional category* (Young Professional applies ONLY if you have a current valid job offer).

I was granted a Working Holiday Permit through IEC but never got to activate my work permit, can I secure a new Working Holiday under RO status?

Yes, you can! Your previous participations under regular International Experience Canada will not count towards RO participation. Remember, you will be able to participate under International Experience Canada up to two times with a Recognized Organization (this includes any RO – not limited to only Stepwest, but any Recognized Organization).

Where in Canada can I work if I get a Working Holiday permit with a Recognized Organization?

Anywhere in Canada. Your work permit will be an open work permit and not limited to a specific area of Canada if you apply under the Working Holiday category. Your new permit will be the same as a regular working holiday permit.

If you apply under the Young Professional category, you will be permitted to work ONLY at the location provided by your employer that is tied to the work permit, which is exactly as how the permit works with a regular International Experience Canada Young Professional Application

Can someone from a country where the age limit is 30 years old apply under RO status for an IEC work permit if the are 35 years old or under?

Yes, Stepwest as a Recognized Organization can secure IEC work permits under RO status if the applicant is 35 years old or under. For example, a citizen from the UK, Sweden, Austria, Japan, where the age limit is 30 years, will be able to apply under RO status for a Working Holiday permit as long as they are 35 years old or under.

I am currently in Canada with a Working Holiday permit that is about to expire, can Stepwest help me secure a new Working Holiday or Young Professional permit before my current permit runs out?

NO. If your current IEC work permit is about to expire, please keep in mind that to apply from within Canada, you MUST have a valid status, otherwise we will not be able to help. If your current permit is about to expire, then we highly recommend you complete the process from your home country or make sure that you do not overstay in Canada.

We CANNOT guarantee exactly when you will be receiving your new IEC work permit under RO status, but as a general reference, the regular processing times are 8 weeks after submission and completion of Biometrics. If your work permit application is halted because IEC request any extra documents, that processing time will resume only once the requested document has been provided.

So that means that if I apply for an IEC work permit under RO status, am I applying for an extension of my current IEC work permit?

NO! IEC permits cannot be extended and an RO work permit application will not give you maintained status either.

This process will be a brand new permit under International Experience Canada, so if you are currently in Canada, you must maintain a valid status during the application process and prove it in order to participate under RO. After your work permit has been approved under RO, you will also have 12 months to activate your new work permit.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I complete Biometrics before I get the Biometrics Request Letter to save some time?

No, to complete Biometrics you MUST have a Biometrics Request letter with your details on it so that you can complete this step. Please keep in mind that from the moment you receive the letter you will have 30 days to complete it.

Can Biometrics be completed in Canada for International Experience Canada work permit applications?

YES! Biometrics must be completed within 30 days of receiving the Biometric Instruction Letter at any visa application centres (VACs) around the world or in Canada from December 03rd, 2019 at a designated Service Canada location.

IMPORTANT: you MUST book an appointment in order to get this step done, you should no do walk-in anymore! Play safe and book your appointment as soon as you get your Biometrics Request Letter.

There is no a center to complete Biometrics in my country, will this be mandatory for my IEC work permit application under RO?

YES! Biometrics are mandatory, no matter where you are located. There are different Visa Application Centre (VAC) and these can be located in your country of citizenship or adjacent countries/territories to your home country. You must wait until you receive your Biometric Instruction Letter before booking an appointment at a VAC. Don’t make travel plans until you have:

1) Your Biometric Instruction Letter

2) Your appointment confirmed at a VAC

At this point, you will be good to book any required trip to complete Biometrics. Remember that the step must be completed within 30 days from the day that you receive the letter. Not completing Biometrics will result in a visa denied

What documents will be requested under a RO IEC work permit application?

The exact same documents as regular IEC. Even though we will secure your invitation to apply (ITA), you still need to submit the correct documents and complete your application following IEC regulation and timeline.

Remember that your application will still be assessed by an immigration officer, so you need to make sure to submit the requested documents in a timely manner, just like any other application.

I already have my old Police Certificates from my previous IEC application, can I use the same ones for my RO work permit application?

It depends. For any IEC work permit application, you will need to present a police certificate from every country where you have lived for more than 6 months since you were 18 years old.

Normally police certificates should be issued within the last 6 months before you submit your work permit application. An exception might apply if you are presenting a police certificate from a country where you lived more than 6 months but did not return to after the Police Certificate was issued.

Example: If you are from Germany and you did a Working Holiday experience in Australia for 12 months, let’s say from June 2015 until June 2016, your Australian National Police Certificate must be issued after you left the country. If you did not return to Australia since that date, and you have your valid police certificate issued after you left, then this certificate would still be considered valid.

PLEASE NOTE: You may also be requested to provide “special considerations” documents in addition to the police certificates. Please view the following example:

Example: The same rules would apply with the “special considerations” documents requested as part of your police certificates. Let’s say your working holiday experience was in Queensland, you will also need to provide a Traffic History issued by the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads dated after you left the country. If you lived in Victoria, you will need a full licence history search from Victoria and you can apply online through VicRoads.

In both cases, even if you never held a driving license, this is how IRCC explains it: you must provide a letter issued by the Queensland and/or Victoria roads authority with your police certificate to confirm that you’ve never held a driver’s licence in that state.

Make sure to check all the details per country here (CIC website).

Our RO Quota is limited for IEC 2020

Please keep in mind that our quota is limited, so we are currently not accepting registrations under the RO status (repeat participation) at this time for IEC 2020.  

We are fully committed to the applicants who complete registration with us and unfortunately we will not be able to help every single applicant interested in applying under RO status.

We highly recommend every interested applicant to check with different Recognized Organizations; you can check the most updated list of Recognized Organization list here.


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).