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Reciprocal work permit agreements for Canadian and international youth travelers

the CanadaVisa Team - 30 June, 2008

Canada's International Youth Program encourages young Canadians to travel and work abroad; to acquire the skills, training, and cultural experiences that are so valuable in Canada and in the global marketplace. Canada has coordinated reciprocal work permit arrangements with close to 40 countries in which qualifying Canadians and international youth can visit each others' countries to experience a new culture and different work environment.

Just this month, Poland became the most recent country to sign a youth mobility agreement with Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). The agreement will allow young Canadians and Poles (between 18 and 35) to travel and work in each other's country for a one-year period.

"The Agreement will serve to actively engage our youth to learn about our respective countries, develop skills for global careers and build networks to ensure an even stronger relationship between Canada and Poland for the future," stated Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs David Emerson.

More than 22,000 young Canadians travel abroad every year through Canada's various youth mobility agreements, and about 36,000 international youth choose to travel and work in Canada. Beyond its reciprocal work permit arrangements, Canada has formal agreements for youths with close to 20 countries, through which four specialized programs are available for Canadians.

The first is the Working Holiday program, which is geared towards non-students visiting participating countries. The program allows them to work in order to finance their travel expenses. Then there is the Young Workers' Exchange program which allows Canadians to acquire professional work experience and training in a foreign culture. The SWAP Working Holiday program (short for Student Work Abroad Program) is geared toward students. Canadian youth traveling to participating countries can receive assistance with finding accommodation and work from SWAP's partner organizations abroad. Finally there is the Co-op Education program which aims to provide students with valuable foreign work experience related to their current academic field of study.

Participating countries may partake in all or some of these programs. The full breakdown is available here.

To apply for one of these programs, Canadian youth must have a valid Canadian passport, a reasonable amount of money, and a pre-purchased round-trip airline ticket.

By promoting world travel to young Canadians, the government is encouraging international network-building and cultural discovery. Those who participate can gain the skills and work experience to succeed in an increasingly globalized world.