Quota system, selection process and application period
Every year, the Government of Canada set a WHP quota for each partner country. The number of WHP released varies greatly from one country to another.
How are WHP applicant selected?
As we mentioned above, applicants aren’t selected based on their work experience, professional background, education or WHP project. Before 2016, WHP were issued on a “first come, first served” basis until the quota was filled. Basically, you had to be among the first to apply as soon as the permits were released for best chances to secure a spot.
Eventually, the WHP became more and more popular and the process had to be completely redesigned. Now, if you want to apply for a WHP, you have to create a free online IEC profile and submit it to a pool. There is one pool of eligible candidates per country and per permit category. The Government of Canada regularly draws profiles at random and issues invitations to candidates in the IEC pools during the IEC season. If your profile is drawn, you receive an Invitation to Apply for a work permit. There are several rounds of invitations during each season and your profile will stay in the pool until the end of the season.
Keep in mind that Canada is a popular destination for WHP applicants. Therefore:
- You could have to wait for several months before receiving an Invitation to Apply
- You may not receive an invitation at all since there are usually more applicants than WHP available
When should I submit a profile? When does the IEC season starts?
There used to be specific dates to apply but now, you can submit a profile to the pool anytime before the last round of invitation. The program runs in year-long “seasons,” usually from winter to fall.
- 2022 IEC season: the pools are now closed.
- 2023 IEC season: the pools are not open yet.
Basically, you can almost apply anytime during the calendar year.
However, it’s important to know when the season starts and ends because all the profiles are removed from the pools at the end of the season. Therefore, if you didn’t receive an Invitation to Apply and if you’re still interested in applying for a WHP, you will have to submit your profile to the pool again when the next season starts.
Should I wait to submit my profile to the pool?
Logically, the earlier you submit the profile to the pool, the higher your chances are to receive an Invitation to Apply since you will go through several rounds of invitation. That said, it’s still just luck! Sometimes, candidates enter at the last minutes and are drawn right away.
That said, in a few cases, you shouldn’t apply too early. For instance:
- If you’re planning to travel to Canada in more than a year from the date of the beginning of the IEC season. Your Port of Entry Letter of Introduction (i.e. the letter informing you the WHP was approved) is valid for 12 months. You must come to Canada before the date written in the “Permit validity” box, otherwise your POE Letter of Introduction will expire. If you receive an Invitation to Apply too early, it’s best to decline it. To avoid this issue, you probably shouldn’t submit your profile to the pool too early.
- If you don’t have a valid passport.
- If you haven’t turned 18 yet.
Only submit your profile if you’re sure you can go to Canada in the 12 months to come!
How much does a WHP application cost?
In total, application fees are CAD346:
- You have to pay the IEC participation fee (CAD161)
- You also have to pay the open work permit holder fee (CAD100)
- Biometric fee (CAD85)
Note that there are no fees to submit a profile to an IEC pool—fees are due when you submit an online work permit application, if you receive an Invitation to Apply. The fees can be refunded if your work permit application is refused (unless you submitted false information) or if you withdraw your work permit application before the port of entry (POE) letter of introduction is issued.