Home Immigration Canada, U.K. sign new youth mobility agreement to enhance opportunities for young workers

Canada, U.K. sign new youth mobility agreement to enhance opportunities for young workers

by HR Law Canada

In a joint effort to empower Canadian and British youth with enriching work opportunities, the Canadian Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, the Honourable Sean Fraser, and the UK Minister of State for Immigration, the Right Honourable Robert Jenrick, have announced the signing of a new Canada-United Kingdom (UK) Youth Mobility Arrangement.

The signing ceremony took place in the presence of Her Excellency Susannah Goshko, British High Commissioner to Canada.

This new agreement builds on a longstanding partnership in international youth mobility between Canada and the UK, which was initially established in 2008. The enhanced arrangement includes several key improvements that aim to foster greater cultural exchange and personal development:

  1. The age limit for eligibility has been expanded from 18 to 30 to now encompass individuals between the ages of 18 and 35.
  2. Two new streams, namely International Co-op (Internship) and Young Professionals, have been added to complement the existing Working Holiday category. These new streams will provide additional opportunities for UK nationals visiting Canada.
  3. Participants will now be able to stay for a total period of three years, an increase from the previous two-year limit.

International Experience Canada (IEC), a reciprocal program facilitating youth work and travel experiences in both countries, will be the foundation of this new initiative. The program comprises three categories, offering different work permits based on participants’ goals:

  1. Working Holiday participants receive open work permits, allowing them to work anywhere in the host country to support their travels.
  2. International Co-op (internship) participants receive employer-specific work permits, providing students with targeted experience in their field of study.
  3. Young Professional participants receive employer-specific work permits for targeted, professional work experience within their chosen field of study or career path.

Youth mobility programs like IEC not only enable young people to explore diverse cultures and languages but also facilitate personal growth and enhance their future job prospects. The signing of this new arrangement between Canada and the UK seeks to make these opportunities even more accessible for young individuals from both nations.

The Right Honourable Robert Jenrick, Minister of State for Immigration, shared his enthusiasm for the expanded partnership, stating, “As close Commonwealth partners, the ties between the UK and Canada are historic and deep. We are proud to welcome so many Canadians to the UK under the Youth Mobility scheme, while thousands of Brits have similarly benefited from the opportunity overseas.”

The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, encouraged the youth from both countries to seize the potential offered by this program, saying, “This new arrangement makes it more accessible for Canadian and British youth to work and travel in each other’s country, while enjoying the benefits of international youth mobility. I encourage youth from both countries to embrace the opportunities this program offers and explore new cultures, learn new skills and gain international experience and perspectives.”

With the implementation of the new arrangement anticipated in 2024, Canadian and British youth can look forward to an extended and enriching cross-cultural experience that will contribute to their personal and professional growth.

Quick Facts:

  1. Canada has established youth mobility agreements or arrangements with 37 countries and foreign territories.
  2. For the 2023 season, nearly 90,000 international youth from partner countries and territories will have the opportunity to participate in International Experience Canada (IEC), aiding Canadian employers in addressing labor shortages.
  3. Since its inception in 2008, more than 240,000 Canadians have participated in IEC, returning to Canada with valuable experiences that positively impact their personal and professional lives.
  4. Young Canadians seeking guidance for their IEC experiences may consider reputable recognized organizations, offering work and travel support.
  5. As of 2021, there were 8.5 million people aged between 18 and 35 in Canada, accounting for nearly one in four Canadians.

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