6 Ways to Stay in Canada After Your IEC Working Holiday Expires

You've been living and working in Canada on your International Experience Canada (IEC) Working Holiday Visa, and, let's be honest, it's been amazing. So, staying in Canada for the foreseeable future is a great option.

Unfortunately, your Working Holiday visa will expire soon. This means you may have to leave the country you've grown to love so much. Fortunately, this doesn't have to be the case. Thanks to Canada's open-door policy regarding international immigration - there are many pathways to stay in Canada even after your IEC working holiday visa expires.

Suppose you want to continue working in Canada. You can start studying at one of Canada's world-class educational institutions or make Canada your permanent home. In that case, there are several significant pathways for you.

This article will break down each pathway, the criteria, and how to apply, ensuring your Canadian dream doesn't have to end.

Canadian Permanent Residence (Canada PR)

Canada PR

Gaining Canada PR allows you to stay in Canada permanently and have the opportunity to apply for full Canadian citizenship.

Express Entry

While there are dozens of programs through which foreign nationals can get Canada PR, the most popular Canada PR process is the Express Entry system. It's the most commonly preferred route since it's the fastest route to gaining permanent residency, as the Canada PR process under the Express Entry Program can take as little as six months.

The Canada PR process is draw-based. First, applicants create a profile on the Canadian government's Express Entry web portal. Then, they enter details like age, level of education, work experience, marital status, adaptability, job offers and language ability. These factors are evaluated and converted into a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score. Then, approximately every two weeks, an Express Entry draw takes place, and those with the highest CRS scores are issued an Invitation To Apply (ITA) for permanent residence.

Once an applicant's Express Entry profile is complete and their CRS score is effectively calculated, the application is placed into one of three application streams. They are as follows:

The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)

The Federal Skilled Worker Program is specifically designed for applicants with a valid degree in a professional occupation.

The Federal Skilled Trade Program (FSTP)

The Federal Skilled Trade Program is for skilled workers with a valid qualification in a specific trade, such as a diploma - it is for skilled workers with a valid job offer for at least one year in Canada.

Canada Experience Class (CEC)

Canada Experience Class is specifically for skilled workers who have lived and worked in Canada in the last 12 months.

If your IEC Working Holiday visa has allowed you to stay in Canada for over a year, you can apply for Canada PR through the Canada Experience Class.

Suppose you plan on gaining permanent residence via Express Entry; you must apply at least six months before your Working Holiday Visa expires, allowing the Canada PR process to be completed.

Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs)

Any discussion of permanent residency in Canada is incomplete without mentioning the PNPs. As Canada is a massive country with multiple provinces, each province has its economies, key industries and labour markets.

To facilitate this difference and ensure each province's needs are catered for, 11 out of the 13 provinces have PNPs which help workers with skills needed in specific provinces gain permanent residency quickly and easily.

Each province has multiple PNP streams to cover different industries, applicants and skill sets. The eligibility criteria for each PNP differ massively depending on your province and stream. Still, one of the major factors in qualifying for a PNP is having in-demand skills or getting a job offer in an in-demand occupation. Each province has different occupations that are currently in demand. With this map, you can see which occupations are in demand in each Canadian province.

There are two ways to apply for a Canadian PNP. The most popular way is to apply via your Express Entry profile. Those applying for Canada PR via the Express Entry System can maximize their odds of gaining an ITA by getting a Provincial Nomination. Suppose applicants submit a provincial nomination with their Express Entry application. In that case, they will gain an extra 600 points to their CRS score, effectively guaranteeing them an ITA at the next Express Entry draw.

Applicants can apply via the Express Entry system or on paper. To apply via the Express Entry system, you must choose to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) in a specific province when you create your Express Entry Profile. If you qualify for a PNP, you will receive a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR), which you will submit with your required documentation for Express Entry.

If you apply on paper, you can apply directly to the province and receive your permanent residence directly from your chosen province. While this means that you will not have to apply through the Express Entry system, this process can take considerably longer as it relies on postal services and can vary wildly depending on your location.

Learn more about the PNPs and their application processes here.

Family Sponsorship

If you have family or a partner who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, you may have a chance at getting Canadian permanent residency if they sponsor you.

This is also hugely popular as it does not require a Canadian job offer or tertiary education. To be sponsored, your sponsor must be:

  • Over age 18
  • A Canadian citizen or permanent resident
  • In possession of enough money to support you while you’re in Canada

There are multiple family sponsorship programs that you can apply for based on your relationship with your sponsor. Learn more about how your loved ones can extend their time in Canada with Canada's family sponsorship programs here. 

Find out more about which programs are best for you with the help of one of our certified experts.

How to Apply for Canada PR

Applying for Express Entry is a relatively simple process. However, you must understand the process to ensure you maximize your chances of getting your Canada PR as soon as possible. The process can be broken down into six steps:


Step 1: Ensure you Meet the Requirements.

Each of the Express Entry streams has its specific requirements. You can find a full breakdown of these streams in this article.

Step 2: Create an Express Entry Profile

You create an Express Entry profile and enter all the information above. At this point, you would submit your EOI for your chosen province.

Step 3: Receive a CRS Score

Once your details are entered, your score is calculated and represented out of 1200. If your EOI is successful, you will gain up to 600 points to improve your score.

Step 4: Get an Invitation to Apply

Keep up to date with Express Entry draws via your online profile to see if you've received your ITA.

Step 5: Collect Supporting Documents

Once you receive your ITA, you have 60 days to submit all necessary documents. These documents include:

  • Passport
  • National Occupation Classification (NOC)
  • Education credential assessment report
  • Recent language tests
  • Provide Proof of Funds to show you can support your family
  • Provide Police Certificates
  • Prepare for a medical exam from certified health professionals
  • Letters from previous employers validating your work experience
  • Canadian job offer (If you have one)
  • Provincial Nomination (If you have one)

Step 6: Pay Your Fees and Submit Application for PR

You must pay the necessary permanent residence fees to receive your permanent residence. Below is a full breakdown of the required fees:

Fees $CAN

Your application

Processing fee ($850) and right of permanent residence fee ($515)

Your application (without the right of permanent residence fee) 850

Include your spouse or partner

Processing fee ($850) and right of permanent residence fee ($515)

Include your spouse or partner (without the right of permanent residence fee) 850
Include a dependent child 230(per child)

Suppose this is your option, and you want to ensure you have everything you need to qualify for permanent residence as soon as possible. In that case, we recommend you speak to a certified immigration expert like a Registered Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC). An RCIC can set up your Express Entry profile, help you put together your EOI, fill out your application forms, help you acquire and verify your documents, curate your CV to Canadian standards, represent you with certain immigration authorities, keep track of your application once you've submitted it and support you with every step of your Canada PR process.

Study in Canada

If you don't want to stay in Canada permanently or don't qualify for Canada PR before your Working Holiday Visa expires, you may want to look at additional temporary options. If you want to study in Canada after your working holiday, a fantastic way to extend your time in Canada is by gaining a Canada study permit.

Canada has some of the highest quality education in the world and numerous fantastic programs and schools for international students. Here's a better idea of what to expect from Canada's education system.

The process of gaining a study permit is relatively simple but requires several steps. They are as follows:

Step 1: Get Accepted to a Canadian University

Before applying for a study permit, you must be accepted by a Canadian Designated Learning Institution (DLI). A DLI is an educational institution designated by the Canadian government to admit international students. The best way to do this is by contacting the university or college of your choice directly and applying based on their criteria. If you're accepted, you may start your process. Here's a list of Canada's top universities to get you started. 

Step 2: Apply for a Canada Study Permit

You can apply for your study permit online via the Canadian government website or paper. Applying online, however, is far quicker and easier. The documents you will need to enclose with your application are as follows:

Depending on which country you're from and which university you're applying to, you may also need to include:

  • A letter of explanation
  • A certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ)
  • A custodian declaration

It's vital to ensure that you include everything you need, as any missing documentation can cause significant delays in processing your application.

Step 3: Pay Processing and Biometric Fees

As with any visa or permit, there are several fees you must pay for your application to be accepted. They are as follows:

Fees $CAN
Study permit (including extensions) – per person 150

Restore your status as a student

Restore your status ($200) and get a new study permit ($150)


On top of this, depending on which country you're applying from, you may also have to submit your biometrics (fingerprints and photograph) to get your Canada study permit. The fees for these are as follows:

Fees $CAN
Biometrics – per person 85

Biometrics – per family (2 or more people)

Maximum fee for a family of 2 or more people applying at the same time and place


Biometrics – per group (3 or more performing artists)

Maximum fee for a group of 3 or more performing artists applying at the same time and place


Step 4: Do your Medical Exams & Police Clearance

A panel-certified physician will need a complete medical exam to prove you're in physically good health to continue your stay in Canada. You will also need a police background check to ensure you haven't been involved in significant criminal activity.

Step 5: Wait for Your Application Results

Once your application is submitted, the only thing to do is wait. The general waiting time for a Canada Study permit is around 16 weeks.

Learn more about Canada's study visa and how to ensure eligibility here.

Work in Canada

If you don't want to study but still want to continue to live and work in Canada, a Canada work permit may be the way for you. While applying is a relatively simple process, it does have particular requirements that you must fulfill. The process can be broken down into three primary steps:

Step 1: Choose Your Canada Work Permit

There are two types of work permits. They are as follows:

Open Work Permit

You can work for any employer in Canada. You will not have to prove that your employer had to pick you over local applicants via a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

Closed or Employer-specific Work Permit

You are allowed to work as a foreign national. Still, you must work for a specific employer, under specific conditions and for a specified time. These are far easier to get but require a job offer from a Canadian employer.

Only certain applicants will be allowed to work with an open work permit, whereas most people with a Canadian job offer will likely gain a closed work permit. To ensure you can get a work permit, you must do the following, which leads us to step two.

Step 2: Check Your Eligibility

To be eligible for a Canada work permit, you must do the following:

  1. Prove you’ll leave Canada once your work permit expires;
  2. Show you can financially support both yourself and any family members while in Canada and return home;
  3. Obey the law and have no criminal record (as shown via a police clearance certificate);
  4. Not be a danger to Canada's security;
  5. Be in good health (as shown via a medical exam)
  6. Not plan to work for an employer on the list of employers who failed to comply with the conditions;
  7. Never plan to work for a company that regularly offers striptease, erotic dance, escort services, or erotic massages.

Step 3: Submit the Application

If you fulfill the above criteria, your work permit application can be submitted on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website.

Depending on your country, you may have to submit additional documents that the IRCC will specify. Learn more about how to ensure you get your Canadian work permit here.

Travel in Canada

Travel in Canada

If you’re not quite ready to let Canada go just yet, but don’t want to start or build a new career there, you can get a Canadian tourist visa. With a tourist visa, you can remain in Canada for six months with a tourist visa after your working holiday visa expires. However, you will not be allowed to work on a tourist visa.

This visa allows you to travel throughout Canada and enjoy everything Canada has to offer foreign guests. After working many jobs on your Working Holiday, you may want to relax in Canada’s tranquil wilderness or enjoy the sightseeing you may have missed due to work.

This is very easy to get as the eligibility requirements are lower than a Working Holiday visa. What you need is to:

  • Be in good health
  • Have a valid travel document like a passport
  • Have no criminal record
  • Have clear ties to your home country, like family or a job
  • Prove you will leave Canada at the end of your visit.
  • Have enough funds to cover your expenses while you stay in Canada.

Depending on your country, you can apply online or via a visa office like a consulate. Learn more about what you need to continue your Canadian adventure with a tourist visa here.


Can you Get Another Working Holiday Visa After it Expires?

Depending on your country of citizenship, yes. However, you may have to wait a year after your Working Holiday Visa expires to apply again.

How Long do Work/Study Permits Last For?

A study permit generally lasts the course length you've applied to. Upon completing your course, you may apply for a Postgraduate work permit (PGWP) which will allow you to stay in Canada long enough to get another job.

A work permit generally lasts 1-2 years but does allow you to gain permanent residence via the CEC Express Entry program after a year.

How Long Before my Visa Expires Must I Apply for These Programs?

Each program has a different processing time, meaning you need to know which program is right for you. To help you determine which is the best step forward, here's a breakdown of the Canadian government processing times.

Keep Your Canadian Dream Alive

Keep the Canadian dream alive

There are many ways to ensure that you don't have to say goodbye to the great white north just yet. If you still need to decide which pathway is best for you, talk to an RCIC to ensure your Canadian dream continues.