On 14 July 2023, an announcement was made regarding a new Canada-United Kingdom (UK) Youth Mobility Arrangement, signaling a significant development in the relationship between the two countries.
Expected to come into effect in 2024, this enhanced agreement brings forth several improvements compared to the existing youth mobility arrangement:
- The age range for eligibility has been widened, allowing individuals between 18 and 35 years to participate.
- Two additional streams have been included, providing UK nationals more opportunities to relocate to Canada.
- The visa duration has been extended to three years, providing participants with an extended timeframe for their experience.
Previously established in 2008, the youth mobility agreement aimed to foster reciprocal work opportunities between Canada and the UK. Youth mobility agreements operate under the Canadian government’s International Experience Canada (IEC) program. The IEC program encompasses three categories:
- Working Holiday: Participants under this category can obtain open work permits, granting them the freedom to work for any employer in Canada.
- International Co-op (Internship): Participants in this category can acquire employer-specific work permits, enabling them to gain relevant work experience related to their studies.
- Young Professionals: Individuals falling under this category can obtain employer-specific work permits to acquire targeted work experience that aligns with their studies or career path.
Canada has established youth mobility agreements with a total of 37 countries. In 2023, nearly 90,000 young individuals worldwide will be offered the opportunity to participate in the IEC program, contributing to the Canadian government’s goal of addressing labor shortages. Since its inception, over 240,000 Canadians have participated in the IEC program.
It is worth noting that UK youth who relocate to Canada through the IEC program have favorable prospects of transitioning to Canadian permanent residence. Canada aims to welcome 500,000 new permanent residents annually by 2025, with over 437,000 immigrants being welcomed last year, an all-time high.
The rationale behind Canada’s robust immigration levels is to support its economic and fiscal well-being, notably as it anticipates over 9 million baby boomers reaching retirement age within the next decade.
The majority of immigrants to Canada fall under the economic class. Immigration in Canada is a shared responsibility between the federal and provincial governments, with both levels of government encouraging individuals with Canadian work experience to pursue permanent residence.
This encouragement is based on Canadian government research indicating that domestic work experience significantly contributes to positive labor market outcomes upon transitioning to permanent residence.
Federal and provincial economic class programs evaluate candidates based on various human capital criteria, including age, education, language proficiency, work experience, and other factors such as Canadian work and study experience and having close family ties in the country.
Therefore, UK youth who opt to participate in the IEC program and move to Canada are in a favorable position to transition to permanent residence due to their young age, fluency in English, and Canadian work experience.
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