COVID-19 Work Abroad Update - Canada

COVID-19 Work Abroad Update - Canada (updated 20/04/2020)

As countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, travel and border restrictions are constantly changing. Please see below the latest government restrictions:

During this COVID-19 pandemic we are facing unimaginable uncertainty and speculation. We are helping thousands of work abroad participants navigate this confusing time and we believe the best course of action is for us to discover and communicate only the facts.

We remain wholeheartedly committed to life-changing work and travel experiences, the global connections they help build provide and the positive impact they create in the world.

Traveling to Canada

  • Whilst people with Work Permits are exempt from the travel restrictions to Canada,  **they must have a current and active job offer prior to their arrival at a Canadian port of entry. You may be challenged by immigration and denied entry to Canada if you are not entering with a valid job offer. **
  • If you have activated your Port of Entry (POE) letter and are re-entering Canada, you are not required to have proof of a job offer upon re-entry to Canada
  • If Work Permit holders are travelling to Canada, they will need to have an isolation plan to comply with the mandatory 14-day isolation. Our in-country partner, SWAP, will not be able to assist with your self-isolation plan.
  • Work Permit holders will need to present valid health insurance which includes coverage for COVID-19, and is valid for the entire length of intended stay. It is important to check if your insurance policy will be valid if you choose to travel against FCO Travel advice.
  • While there is an online process being set up to allow those arriving in Canada to apply for a SIN (social Insurance Number) it is likely to take some time before any SIN cards are issued. You would require a SIN card before starting any work.
  • Employment in Canada is currently very challenging. Most non-essential business are closed or operating with limited staff so job-hunting on arrival will be difficult. Social Insurance Numbers (legal requirement to work) offices are closed and numbers are only being issued for urgent applications.
  • We strongly recommend you postpone travel to Canada until the COVID19 situation is more under control.

Port of Entry Letter of Introduction

  • If you are yet to travel to Canada, and you have received your Port of Entry Letter of Introduction this is valid for 12 months from the date of issue
  • If you are nearing the expiration date, given the current COVID-19 situation you can extend this for an additional 90 days. If you have already been granted an extension of your POE expiration date, you are able to apply for a second extension of dates. If you are on a BUNAC program please contact BUNAC for the best way to do this
  • Please note once a letter is issued under the program, it is considered a participation and an issued letter cannot be cancelled.

I haven't yet received my Port of Entry Letter yet

  • Processing of existing applications and invitation rounds on the IEC website are currently on hold due to COVID-19.
  • You are still able to enter the pool for application.
  • We will provide an update on social media and via email as soon as processing and invitation rounds are resumed.

RO (Recognized Organization) letters

  • BUNAC are partnered with SWAP Working Holidays in Canada and for 2020 can offer a limited number of RO (Recognized Organization) Letters to UK passport holders. The Work Canada IEC Pool Nomination program means those who want to work in Canada, and are eligible for an IEC visa, can receive an expedited IEC visa invite from the pool. The IEC Pool Nomination program is now available to UK passport holders aged 18-35.
  • The RO program is not currently open as the IEC are not currently processing any applications due to COVID-19, however BUNAC plans to open this program later in the year when the IEC has started processing applications again.

Young Professionals program

  • This program is now closed for 2020 for UK citizens. Please contact if you would like to be added to the Work Canada mailing list for updates on future availability of this program.

Currently in Canada

You are not able to extend your IEC work permit. Those who need to extend their stay must apply for a visitor visa. This visa will not allow you to work. If you are on the BUNAC Work Canada program please email for further information on how to do this.