Length of working holiday work permit for Swiss Citizens

Maximum length of RO IEC Canadian working holiday visa (work permit) for Swiss Citizens: 18 months

Swiss citizens are eligible for the IEC Young Professionals program as agreed in the youth mobility agreement between Switzerland and Canada. However, Swiss citizens are not eligible for an IEC Working Holiday work permit unless they go through a Recognized Organization (RO). The length of the RO IEC Working Holiday work permit for a Swiss citizen is not made public, so I emailed the IRCC Immigration Representative Mailbox for clarification. (IRCC allows immigration representatives to ask non-file specific clarification on how different programs work via the Immigration Representative Mailbox.) I was informed that in cases where an RO has negotiated an agreement to expand IEC eligibility for citizens of a certain country, the duration of the work permit under that newly expanded program through the RO remains the same as the duration of the IEC work permit that is stated in the youth mobility agreement (YMA) for that country. Let’s use Switzerland as an example. Switzerland and Canada’s bilateral youth mobility agreement (YMA, the agreement that creates the “normal” IEC pathways) says that Swiss citizens are eligible for IEC Young Professionals work permits with a duration of 18 months. Switzerland’s YMA does not provide for IEC Working Holiday work permits. Recognized Organizations, including IREC, have subsequently negotiated agreements with IRCC that allow Swiss citizens to participate in the IEC Working Holiday program, if they apply through an RO. The IRCC Immigration Representative Mailbox confirmed that because Switzerland’s YMA states that the duration for an IEC work permit is 18 months, that 18-month duration applies to all Swiss IEC work permits, regardless of whether it is IEC Young Professionals or IEC Working Holiday, and regardless of whether it is through an RO or not. In summary, Swiss citizens get 18-month Working Holiday work permits. 

Below is a screenshot of my email exchange with IRCC’s Immigration Representative Mailbox, in case you’re interested:


There have been a small number of stories of CBSA granting IEC work permits for the incorrect duration (eg. 24 months for a Swiss citizen), but the correct duration is 18 months for Swiss citizens.

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