Step-By-Step Guide to IEC Canada Work Permits — International Co-op, Young Professionals and Working Holiday Applications

Chapter 12: Receiving an Invitation to Apply

Published: 19-12-2022



Receiving an Invitation to Apply

You submitted your profile to a pool of candidates and you’re looking forward to receiving an Invitation to Apply.

A few reminders

Remember that:

  • In the Working Holiday category, there are often more candidates than work permits available (one exception—an unlimited number of Working Holiday work permits are granted to Australian citizens). For instance, applicants from the UK are drawn randomly from these pools at “regular intervals” and there is no guarantee they will receive an Invitation to Apply.
  • There are usually fewer applicants in the International Co-op and Young Professionals categories, so you should receive an Invitation to Apply in one of the next round of invitations scheduled after you submit your profile. However, do check the number of spots left before you submit your profile to the pool, especially if you’re a citizen of a country for which only a small quota of work permits is allocated.

Deciphering Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada messages

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada may send you one of these two types of emails:

  • “Your application (Wxxxxxxxx) has been updated”: this email may indicate a status change or could be a glitch in the system (explanation here, in French). This message doesn’t mean you’ve been invited to apply.
  • “You have a new message in your account for the following application: Wxxxxxxxx”: an email with this subject line could be an Invitation to Apply, but not necessarily. It means that you received a new message in your account.

Log into your account every time you get an email from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada but don’t be surprised if you don’t see anything new.

To sign into your account, follow the link in the body of your email (“sign in”/”log into your account”) or click on this link. Then select “Continue to GCKey” and enter your login info.

If the interface looks like the screenshot below, it means that you did receive an Invitation to Apply:


You’ll notice that the Application number in the new table under “Continue my profile/application not yet submitted” is the same number as your profile number when you submitted your profile to an IEC pool. This is perfectly normal: you received an Invitation to Apply and you can start the application process for your work permit by clicking on “Start application.”

BEFORE starting the application process or declining the invitation, take a minute to read the NEW message Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has just sent you. It contains information you need to proceed with your application! Click “Check status and messages.” You’ll see a new message in the list with the subject line, “IEC Invitation to Apply Letter.”

Accepting the Invitation to Apply, declining it or postponing the decision

You have 10 days to accept or decline the Invitation to Apply. There are three options:

  • Accepting the invitation: the invitation is deemed accepted when you click “Start application.” From the day you click “Start application,” you have 20 days to complete the form, submit the documents and pay the fees. A few minutes after clicking this button, you will receive a new email stating you received a new message in your account.
  • Declining the invitation: if you decline the invitation, you’ll stay in the IEC pool of candidates (as long as you are still eligible) to be considered in future rounds of invitations. However, you will no longer be able to accept the invitation you’ve just declined. To decline the invitation, go to “Continue my profile/application not yet submitted” and click “Decline invitation.”
  • Not responding: if you don’t accept or decline the invitation 10 days after receiving it, it expires and you lose it. Your application will be withdrawn from the pool of candidates in the work permit category for which you received the invitation. If you want to resubmit your profile, you’ll have to submit a new one and be accepted into the pool again before you can be considered for future invitations (however, no need to create a new Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada account!).

Declining the Invitation to Apply

If you chose to decline the invitation, you’ll be prompted to confirm your decision and you’ll be informed that you’ll stay in the pool of candidates to be considered in future rounds of invitations.


Click “Continue” to confirm you’re declining the invitation.

Accepting the Invitation to Apply

After you click “Start application” you have 20 days to complete and submit your application along with all supporting documents.

You can accept the invitation right away or a few days later. However, remember that the 20-day countdown begins when you accept the invitation by clicking “Start application.” If you think you need more time to gather some documents, it’s best to wait to accept the invitation. That said, don’t wait until the very last minute before the deadline—imagine if the website was down that day…

Keep an eye on your deadline date! When the Government of Canada gives you a deadline to submit your application—or to pay the fees and submit your supporting documents—you must submit it BEFORE the deadline! For instance, if your deadline is June 17, you must submit your supporting documents and pay the fees by June 16, 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time. For more info, read “Make sure you know the date of your deadline.”

When you accept the Invitation to Apply, a new eService page opens. This is the same interface you used in the first step of the process, when you submitted your profile to the pool. However, this time, you’ll have to answer new questions in several of the sections.

Tutorial International Canada Experience - IEC - Working Holiday in Canada 3

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