Although one of the newest permanent residence programs implemented by the Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) is Canada’s fastest growing immigration program. CEC provides a straightforward path to permanent residency for foreign workers and international graduates of Canadian institutions by essentially rewarding them for the work and educational experience acquired in the country. One the most important changes to the program eligibility was introduced in January 2013. Canadian work experience requirement was lowered from 24 to 12 months, providing additional incentive to the prospective applicants. This reduction is a signal that the Government of Canada places high premium on the experience obtained in the Canadian social, educational and employment content. This reduction, therefore, benefits foreign graduates in Canada on a post-graduate work permit. Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney explained the changes with the following commentary: “The Canadian Experience Class makes Canada more competitive in attracting and retaining the best and brightest individuals with the skills we need,. “These are people who have already demonstrated their ability to integrate into the Canadian labour market and society. The CEC allows these skilled and educated individuals to bring their skills and talents, contribute to our economy and help renew our workforce so that Canada remains competitive on the world stage.” The following is a brief overview of CIC’s explanation of eligibility for CEC:
To apply for permanent resident status through the CEC, you need at least one year of full-time experience (or the equivalent in part-time work) as a skilled worker in Canada. Full-time work means at least 30 hours per week. The one-year work experience must have been obtained within the three years preceding the date your CEC application is received.
To work in Canada after graduating, your best option is to apply for a post-graduation work permit. Information on obtaining a work permit is available on CIC’s website at cic.gc.ca/study. These permits may be valid for up to three years. There are no restrictions on the type of work you can do or where you do it, but to qualify for the CEC, remember that at least one year of your work experience must be in a skilled occupation (see “skilled work experience”).
It is also important to note that work experience you may have acquired as part of your academic program, such as an internship or a co-op placement, does not qualify under the CEC. Part-time work you may have performed during your studies does not qualify either.
If your existing work permit is about to expire you may be eligible for a bridging open work permit. Bridging open work permits allow qualified applicants to keep working while they await a final decision on their permanent residence application. For more information about bridging open work permits including eligibility, visit cic.gc.ca/bridging.
Skilled work experience
Your work experience in Canada must be in a job or an occupation that requires a specific level of skill, education or training. To qualify, your experience must be in one of the following categories of Canada’s National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Skill Type 0
This includes senior management occupations, middle and other management positions.
Skill Level A
Occupations at this level usually require university education at the bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate level.
Skill Level B
Occupations at this level usually require education obtained at a college or vocational institute, apprenticeship training or three to four years of secondary school followed by more than two years of on-the-job training, specialized training courses or specific work experience.
To find out if your work experience qualifies, check the NOC website at hrsdc.gc.ca/noc.
To qualify for the CEC you must prove your proficiency in English or French. This includes speaking, reading, listening and writing in one or both official languages.
The expected level of ability in English or French will vary according to your occupation. For example, the language requirements for managerial and professional positions are higher than the requirements for applicants who have been working in a technical occupation or in a skilled trade.
To prove your language skills, you will need to take a language test given by an agency that is approved by CIC and include the results with your application.
You will find more information about specific language requirements on CIC’s website at cic.gc.ca/english/immigrate/cec/language.asp. These language requirements are subject to change.”
This legal information brought to you by Ivan J. Steele, M.A., J.D., Barrister and Solicitor