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Travel And Work Abroad For Canadian Youth Easier With Bilateral Agreements And Gap Year Popularity

A look through a history book reveals Canada's extensive history of immigration, and as of October, the country will be even more attractive to a particular nationality: The Irish. Thanks to a recent agreement between Canada and Ireland, the number of potential skilled Irish workers entering Canada, along with the maximum length of their stay, has doubled.

International Experience Canada (IEC) visas, or working holiday visas (as they're often known), will increase from 5,350 this year to 6,350 and is expected to hit 10,700 in 2014, reports The Independent. Also increasing is the length of the vacation visa, up from one to two years, a window of travel that fits with the trend of young people taking a "gap year."

Once perceived as an excuse for a break from "real life," gap years have grown in popularity in North America thanks to the rising costs of university and college and dreary job prospects for students and post graduates. And as one psychological study suggests, there are some intellectual benefits to travelling as well, like an increased determination to complete school, as well as stronger planning and task management skills, according to Education Week.

Given this shift, it's no surprise that Canada's IEC visas are limited to those between the ages of 18 to 35. While neither the duration nor the number of working holiday visas issued have increased for Canadians looking to work in Ireland, Canucks have a couple other options when looking to gain work experience while travelling, such as the "young professional" experience, as well international co-op opportunities.

Like the program title suggests, the "young professional" experience gears itself for Canadians with specialized skills in fields like science, communication, health or education, with the goal of gaining extra work experience in another country to keep them competitive. The international co-op opportunity, on the other hand, lends itself more to students looking to complete a credit outside of Canada.

While the programs offers an easier time getting a work permit due to two-way agreements that allow for a straightforward exchange of working youths between Canada and several other countries, there are still a few things Canadians need to arrange on their end — namely travel accommodations, finances and a job opportunity that matches with the program.

Canadians looking to travel and work to certain countries with a bilateral agreement already in place should also note that there may be additional fees based on the destinations. They range from no fees, like in South Korea, to $258 Canadian to travel and work in Denmark.

For a list of the countries Canada has a bilateral agreement with, check out the gallery below.

IEC Travel and Work Abroad Destinations
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