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Canada and Italy seek to boost youth mobility

Canada and Italy have signed an agreement to improve labour market access through a new work and travel youth mobility initiative for citizens aged between 18 and 35.

Minister Mendicino signs the agreement at a virtual ceremony. Photo: IRCC

"We live in an increasingly interconnected world where innovation often comes from those who have travelled widely"

Under the bilateral youth mobility agreement, Canadian and Italian youth will be permitted join a 12 month work and travel program, for which candidates can participate twice, for a total of 24 months.

They will also be able to gain professional work experience via two new streams – International Co-op and Young Professionals.

“This agreement [is aimed at] creating new opportunities for vocational training”

The agreement will “provide both Canadian and Italian youth with even more opportunities to live, travel and work abroad once it is safe to do so”, Marco E. L. Mendicino, minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, said.

Participants will have new opportunities for future work and travel “once conditions permit”, the countries agreed.

Currently only youth with current and valid job offers can travel to Canada under the International Experience Canada Program.

The IEC manages bilateral youth mobility arrangements that allow Canadians to travel and work in partner countries and territories, and it also allows international youth to do the same in Canada.

Since 2008, more than 200,000 Canadians have participated in the initiative.

“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, insights and ways of doing things,” Mendicino added.

“This contributes to strengthening ties between Canada and Italy, and the diversity and economic strength of our two countries.”

The Italian minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Luigi Di Maio added that the agreement would strengthen “the exchange of experience and knowledge between Italian and Canadian citizens”.

“This agreement [is aimed at] creating new opportunities for vocational training responds to a deeply felt need by today’s youth,” he said.

“I am certain that it will help further strengthen the already excellent bilateral relations between Italy and Canada.”

The two countries first signed a youth mobility arrangement in 2006.

Canada has formal youth mobility arrangements with 36 countries and foreign territories, including many European countries, in addition to others such as Australia, Chile, Mexico, Taiwan and Ukraine.

The three categories of the IEC program include Working Holiday where participants receive open work permits that allow them to work anywhere in the host country, in addition to the two new streams International Co-op and Young Professionals.

International Co-op participants receive employer-specific work permits that allow students to gain targeted experience in their field of study, while Young Professionals have an employer-specific work permit to gain targeted, professional work experience.

“The International Experience Canada Youth Mobility Agreement will allow the next generation of Canadians and Italians alike to gain a better understanding of our cultures, languages and history,” Canadian minister of Foreign Affairs François-Philippe Champagne added.

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