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Canada and Italy Sign New Youth Mobility Agreement

Canada and Italy have strengthened and solidified their already existing youth mobility agreement, which will allow more young people to embark on longer working holidays between the two countries.

Canada’s immigration minister, Marco Mendicino, and the Italian minister for international affairs, Luigi Di Maio, signed the new bilateral agreement on Dec. 11.

Canadians and Italians between ages eighteen (18) and thirty-five (35) will now be able to work and travel in each other’s countries for up to twelve (12) months. They can also apply to extend their work permits for another year, and be able to live in each other’s country for a total of up to twenty-four (24) months.

Young people may also be able to get professional work experience through the Young Professionals programs, and International Co-op.

The International Experience Canada (IEC) Program allows young people to acquire international work experience.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in travel restrictions around the world, this special agreement with Italy will open up new opportunities for future work and travel once restrictions are removed. For now, only people with valid job offers can enter Canada under the IEC Program.

Canada and Italy have sustained this partnership and relationship since 2006. This new agreement will be implemented following ratification by both state governments.

“I’m so happy that we were able to reach this agreement with Italy, which will provide both Italian and Canadian youth with even more opportunities to travel, live and work abroad once it is safe to do so,” Marco Mendicino said in a media briefing.

“We live in an increasingly interconnected world where innovation often comes from those who have travelled widely, who have an appreciation for other cultures, and whose eyes have been opened to new ideas and ways of doing things.”

More than 1.5 million Canadians are of Italian descent, one of the biggest Italian communities in the world outside of Italy.

Since 2008, more than 200,000 Canadians have participated in the International Experience Canada (IEC) program.

International Experience Canada

Canada has youth mobility agreement with thirty-six (36) other countries. Through reciprocal, bilateral agreements, young people can travel and work in these countries. Canadians can travel and work in these countries, and vice versa for nationals of other participating countries.

There are three categories under the IEC:

  • Working Holiday visas, where young adults obtain open work permits that allow them to work for any employer in the host country;
  • International Co-op participants, who get employer-specific work permits that allow students to acquire work experience in their field of study; and
  • Young Professionals, who also obtain an employer-specific work permit to acquire targeted, professional work experience that is within their career path.