This is one of the most common questions asked by people who have a Working Holiday Visa and wish to extend their stay. Canada is a welcoming and friendly country that offers endless opportunities to immigrants working there. Thus, most people who visit Canada on an IEC visa end up wanting to stay longer.

However, while Canada is an immigrant-friendly country, it is also very strict about its immigration rules and regulations. Thus, even thinking about doing something outside of the law is a bad idea!

You cannot stay in Canada after your IEC work permit expires. Thus, if the validity of your visa is going to end soon and you want to stay longer, you should start exploring all the options that allow you to further your stay legally. This is what this article is going to be about!

Today, we are going to talk about several legal ways to extend your stay in Canada after your Working Holiday Visa has expired. If your IEC Visa is expiring soon and you are not ready to say goodbye to this amazing country yet, we have got you covered! Read on to see all the options available to you.

How to stay in Canadaafter IEC?

The International Experience Canada, popularly known as IEC, is a popular program run by the Government of Canada. The program allows the youth from 18-35 years of age (30 in some countries) to work in Canada. Generally, the work permit is valid between 6 to 24 months, depending on the participant’s country of citizenship.

Canada, as one of the most immigrant-friendly countries, has almost 100 different visa programs to enable foreign citizens to stay or work there. So, even if your Working Holiday Visa is nearing its end, you don’t necessarily have to leave this beautiful country. There are several options that you can consider to continue staying in Canada after finishing your IEC visa.

Before we talk about the various options to stay in Canada after IEC, it’s important to know that IEC participants must have a valid reason for extending their stay in the country. The work permits are only extended under exceptional circumstances. So, this is something you cannot decide in a day or two. Thus, it’s essential to plan ahead and explore your options.

With that said, let’s talk about how you can stay in Canada after the expiration of your Work Visa.

Re-apply for an IEC visa

After your IEC ends, you can opt for round two of the International Experience Canada program. However, whether or not you can re-apply for the program depends on your country of citizenship.

If you belong to a partner country of the International Experience Canada program and your country allows you to participate in IEC twice, you can re-apply through your country’s Youth Mobility Agreement with Canada.

However, if you belong to the countries including Mexico, Poland, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Spain, there are certain terms and conditions.

For starters, you will have to go through a waiting period of one year after the expiration of your IEC work permit before you can re-apply. Secondly, you will not be allowed to stay in Canada after your first work permit expires. You can only apply to return to the country at a later date.

Extend your stay in Canada as a visitor

This is one of the most popular choices for people who wish to stay in Canada after IEC. To extend their stay as a visitor, immigrants have to apply for a Visitor Visa. This will enable you to continue living in Canada for up to 6 months after your IEC work permit expires.

The only downside of this option is that you will no longer be eligible to work in Canada on a Visitor Visa. However, you can continue living and traveling in the country without any issue.

As the second-largest country in the world, Canada has a lot to offer. From gorgeous national parks to stupendous mountains, you can do several things in the Great White North. So, if you want to take a break and have a good time exploring the wonders of this amazing country, this option would be perfect for you.

If you want to opt for this option, ensure that you apply for the Visitor Visa at least 30 days before the expiry of your Work Visa.

Get an employee-specificWork Permit

If you want to continue working in Canada, then the Visitor Visa won’t be useful to you. In this case, you can try to extend your stay in Canada with the support of an employer.

You can leverage your knowledge and skills to apply for jobs in Canada. If you are able to secure a job offer from a Canadian employer, you can apply for the Employee-Specific Work Permit. This will allow you to stay and work in Canada for 6 months or longer as per the requirements of your contract.

However, obtaining an Employee-Specific Work Permit can be a time-consuming and challenging process. You will also need the support of your employer during the whole process.

Your Canadian employer will need to help you in obtaining a Labour Market Impact Assessment, also known as a LMIA. This basically means that they will have to advertise the job position and prove that no Canadian citizen or permanent resident was willing or able to take the job.

While obtaining an Employee-Specific Work Permit is indeed challenging, it has certain benefits. For instance, the valuable experience you will gain while working in Canada will have a positive impact on your permanent residency point if you decide to apply for it in the future.

Get an education in Canada

How does studying in the Great White North sound?

Canada is home to some of the most renowned schools and universities in the world. With affordable tuition, a student-friendly atmosphere, and quality education, Canada has been one of the top choices of many students all around the globe.

So, if you are wondering how to stay in Canada after IEC, getting a student visa can be an excellent choice. The best thing is that getting a student visa in Canada is much simpler than all the other options mentioned above.

All you have to do is select your preferred university from the list of designated learning institutions (DLI’s) and the program of your choice to apply for the student visa. Following a successful application, you will receive an acceptance letter from the university or college you have applied to. Just remember that you must choose a program with a duration of at least 8-months to be eligible for the student visa.

Moreover, if you want to become a permanent Canadian resident in the future, getting a Canadian study permit and completing your post-secondary education in the country is an excellent step in that direction.

Not only this, but the student visa will also allow you to work part-time during school term and full-time during designated school breaks, while studying in Canada. So, it’s a win-win for you!

Become a Canadian Permanent Resident

Here’s the final and the most lucrative option on our list - permanent residency in Canada! If you have chosen Canada to be your permanent home, applying directly for a permanent resident status is the best option.

The Canadian permanent resident status will allow you to stay and work in the country for as long as you want. You can work for any employer and from any location of your choice. Sounds like a dream, doesn't it?

Applying to become a permanent resident can be less challenging too. If you have all of your documents and fulfill certain conditions, you can complete the entire process in as little as 6 months!

If permanent residency in Canada sounds like something you’re interested in, there are several ways to get the ball rolling. Here are the most common ones.

1. The Express Entry System

Express Entry is a popular immigration system that allows skilled foreign nationals to move to Canada. It is one of the quickest ways to obtain permanent residency in Canada. If you are lucky, the whole process could be completed within 6 months!

However, it is important to note that not everyone is eligible for the Express Entry system. It is a point based-portal and you need to fulfill certain qualification criteria to receive your invitation.

Here are the major qualification criteria for the Express Entry System:

  • At least 12 months of full-time skilled work experience (within or outside Canada). Brownie points if you have previously worked in Canada. The main requirement to be eligible for the Canadian Experience Class is having obtained the 12 months of skilled work experience from inside Canada
  • Level of education (within or outside Canada). The only program from the three streams that require an education level is the Federal Skilled Worker program. However, if you would like to rank higher in the comprehensive ranking system (CRS), then an earned education would help you to do this. Again, you will get extra points if you have completed your post-secondary education at a Canadian university
  • Proficiency in English or French. The minimum proficiency level requirement changes across all three programs of the Express Entry system
  • A valid job offer if applying under the Federal Skilled Trades program and you don’t have a certificate of qualification in your skilled trade issued by a Canadian provincial, territorial or Federal authority
  • Credentials and residential status of your significant other
  • Provincial Nomination Achieved

So, if you have post-secondary education, good work experience, a job offer from a Canadian employer, and native-level proficiency in English or French, it becomes significantly easier to get invited through the Express Entry system.

2. Immigration for Spouse/ Family

Is your partner classed, in the context of an application to IRCC, as your spouse, common-law or conjugal partner? Are the two of you legally married or live together in a common-law relationship for a minimum of 12 months? Do you meet the definition of conjugal partners? Are they a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada?

If your answer to the questions is yes, we have good news for you! Your significant other may be able to sponsor your permanent residency in Canada.

Things to know before staying in Canada

Canada is indeed an incredible country with endless opportunities for skilled and talented foreign nationals. If you have decided to stay there for longer or go for a permanent residency, here are certain things you must know about this gorgeous country.

1. Living in Canada is expensive

If you have stayed in Canada on a Work Visa, you’d already know that it isn’t exactly cheap.

In fact, Canada ranked as the 25th most expensive country to live in. From the cost of transportation to rent, everything in the country is expensive. Even cellphone services are costlier in Canada than in several other parts of the world.

2. World-Class Healthcare System

The higher cost of living in Canada doesn't come without benefits.

For instance, permanent residents get the advantage of an excellent healthcare system that is publicly funded. So, you can visit a doctor at no cost! However, you will have to pay for the medicines at the pharmacy.

Moreover, the publicly-funded medical system doesn’t cover facilities like eye care, dental care, ambulance cost, etc.

3. Outstanding quality of education

If you have been staying in Canada on a Work Visa, you might not have had the chance to experience the Canadian education system. Trust us, you will be pleasantly surprised!

Canadians take education very seriously. Thus, you will have the opportunity to study at some of the best universities and colleges in the world. This is the reason thousands of international students come to the country every year!

The Bottom Line

There you go! That was the answer to “how to stay in Canada after IEC?” We hope you found this post helpful and found what you were looking for.

As we discussed, there are several ways to extend your stay in Canada after IEC. However, you need to have a solid plan of action and you must decide which option you want to go for in advance. It is also a smart idea to have a plan B in place in case something goes south.

Make sure to carefully analyze all of the above-mentioned options, check their eligibility criteria, and prepare all the necessary documentation. Don't forget to fill in the application forms carefully and seek professional advice if you need it. Good Luck!