On October 5, Citizenship and Immigration Canada announced its plans to double the number of Irish youth who come to Canada through the International Experience Canada (IEC) program. Starting in 2013, the number of spaces allocated to Irish youth applicants will increase by 1,000 to 6,350. By 2014, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Jason Kenney, hopes to double the current quota of 5,000 to nearly 10,000.
In support of his plans, the Minister made a trip to Ireland in the beginning of the month, in order to promote Canada as the destination for young, educated Irish citizens struggling to establish themselves economically in their home country, due to the UK’s poor economy.
The IEC program was implemented to allow young non-Canadians from participating countries, between the ages of 18 and 35, to travel and work in Canada for up to one year under an open work permit, or “working holiday visa”. Canada currently has reciprocal working holiday agreements with 29 countries including: Australia, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, Sweden, and Taiwan.
Currently, the IEC program allows Irish youth to apply twice for a working holiday visa for up to 12 months each time. In order to make the program even more appealing to these young Brits, the Minister announced, on October 5, changes to the structure of the working holiday category. Beginning in 2013, Irish youth will be able to apply only once, but will be able to stay for a continuous two years.
The change is being made to eliminate the inconveniences participants now face when they are required to disrupt their employment and leave the country in order to apply again.
Watch the Minister on Ireland’s Late Late Show, as he talks about Canada’s strong economy and the increasing number of skilled-labour positions the county has to offer to Ireland’s youth, aged 18-35, in industries like construction, the trades, engineering, service, IT, video game production, and software development.