Creating Economic Opportunities for Canadian and Irish Youth

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Dublin, October 5, 2012 — Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced today that Canada will seek to double the number of Irish youth that arrive annually through the International Experience Canada (IEC) program.

Beginning in 2013, Citizenship and Immigration Canada will increase the number of spaces available for Irish youth in the program by 1,000 to 6,350 and will seek to nearly double the current quota to 10,000 beginning in 2014.

“Our government is focused on creating a proactive, nimble immigration system that helps us grow Canada’s economy,” said the Minister.

The IEC provides opportunities for Irish citizens between the ages of 18 and 35 to travel and work in Canada for up to one year. In exchange, young Canadians can likewise travel to and work in Ireland. Young people who come to Canada as part of their working holiday are given an open work permit, allowing them to work for any Canadian employer.

The Minister also announced changes to how the working holiday category is structured. Currently, Irish citizens can participate twice in the IEC for a maximum of 12 months each time. Beginning in 2013, Irish youth will be eligible to participate in the IEC only once but for a period of up to two years. The change will eliminate the need for people, who are already residing and working in Canada, to disrupt their employment and leave the country in order to apply again.

“Relations between Ireland and Canada are already close, based on family ties, historically rooted cultural affinities, and shared democratic political traditions,” said Minister Kenney. “The expansion of the Canada-Ireland working holiday agreement will not only help build a stronger Canada but will also strengthen the ties between the two countries.”

Mr. Eamon Gilmore, Irish Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade stated: “I had the opportunity last March to visit Toronto and to meet with some of the participants of the IEC program, as well as with some of the companies seeking to hire Irish workers. At that time, it was clear that the program could be enhanced to better meet the needs of participants and prospective employers. I am delighted that we were able to bring forward these changes that will benefit both our countries in the coming years.”

The significant expansion of the Canada-Ireland IEC program complements the transformational changes the Government of Canada has announced to Canada’s immigration system in recent months. These changes will lead to a fast and flexible system that is focused on economic growth and creating jobs in Canada.

Among the recent changes are regulatory reforms proposed for the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), which is Canada’s fastest growing economic immigration program. The proposed changes would make the program more flexible for applicants who are working in Canada under international agreements, such as the IEC.

Minister Kenney concluded by saying: “The proposed changes to the CEC will make the program more flexible and give many people who are temporarily working in Canada with a more realistic chance of staying as permanent residents and eventually citizens, if they so choose. That includes many young people who are in Canada as part of their working holiday, who may have found a good job and want to stay and build a new life here.”

More information on the proposed changes to the here.

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Photo of Minister Kenney will be available later today at:

For further information (media only), please contact:

Alexis Pavlich
Minister’s Office
Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Media Relations
Communications Branch
Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Building a stronger Canada: Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) strengthens Canada’s economic, social and cultural prosperity, helping ensure Canadian safety and security while managing one of the largest and most generous immigration programs in the world.

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