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Canadian Experience Class

On October 31, Citizenship and Immigration Canada tabled the department’s 2012 Annual Report to Parliament on Immigration. The department plans to admit a total of 240,000 to 265,000 new permanent residents in 2013. The actual numbers continue to be high but the composition is changing with the government’s move to increase skilled immigration, especially numbers under the Canadian Experience Class (CEC).

“Our government’s number one priority remains economic and job growth,” said Minister Kenny. “Newcomers bring their skills and talents, contribute to our economy and help renew our workforce so that Canada remains competitive on the world stage.” The CEC, which first appeared in 2008, is intended for applicants with high-skilled work experience in Canada, including international students and temporary foreign workers. In 2013, federal immigration intends to accept 10,000 permanent residents through the program.

The CEC is not something that many people are aware of. Many community members are fixated on the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program. MPNP is a great program but it is not the only way to obtain permanent residence in Canada. It is time for readers to find out more about the Canadian Experience Class. If you or someone you know is a temporary foreign worker or a foreign student who graduated in Canada, you may possess many of the qualities needed to make a successful transition from temporary to permanent status. You are already familiar with Canadian society and have already demonstrated that you can contribute to the Canadian economy. You have knowledge of French or English and the necessary work experience. If these qualifiers describe you or someone you know, then this may be the time to apply for permanent residence through the Canadian Experience Class.

In terms of eligibility, the Canadian Experience Class sets forth minimum requirements for potential applicants with at least two years (one year commencing 2013) of full-time or equivalent skilled work experience in Canada; or should be a foreign graduate from a Canadian post-secondary educational institution with a least one year of full-time work experience in Canada. Applicants must show that their experience was obtained under approved work or study permits and apply while working in Canada or within one year of leaving their jobs in Canada. In addition, applicants must provide results of a language examination in English or French. The language requirements for your occupation would be either Canadian Language Benchmarks 7 or Canadian Language Benchmarks 5. Immigration officials are very strict on language requirements and minimum standards must be met at the time of application submission.

In terms of eligible occupations, applicants must have work experience in Skill Type O, or Skill Level A or B of the National Occupation Classification (NOC) standards for jobs inside Canada. You can find out more about the job you may be applying under by searching the NOC and identifying the job description and list of main duties. It is important to note that the eligible jobs are only those classified in NOC under O, A or B. Secondly, applicants must have the requisite years of work experience inside Canada, now two years but one year in 2013.

Another way of accessing the Canadian Experience Class is to start as a graduate of an approved Canadian post-secondary educational institution. Potential applicants must first complete a full time two-year program of studies and earn a diploma, degree, trade or apprenticeship credential from the Canadian school. Following graduation, potential applicants can obtain a post-graduate work permit and complete a minimum of one year of full time work experience in Canada before submitting a CEC application. Full time is normally defined in Canada as a minimum of 37.5 paid hours per week. Work experience that was gained as part of your studies does not count. The work experience must also be classified under O, A or B in the NOC.

The actual numbers for the Canadian Experience Class in the 2013 immigration estimates may not appear too large but it appear to be the way of future for the Harper government.

“Immigration plays a vital role in our country’s long-term prosperity,” concludes Minister Kenny in his October 31 news release. “Our 2013 Immigration Plan will build on our economic success by bringing in more of the world’s top talent who already have a successful track record in Canada.”

The Canadian Experience Class is only one part of the overall immigration plan envisioned by the current federal government. The actual blue print for the change is found in the “expression of interest” immigration model but this is something I shall examine in greater detail in another article.

Michael Scott BA (Hon), MA, is a 30-year veteran of Canada Immigration and the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program who works as an immigration associate with R.B. Global Immigration Consultants Ltd. He can be reached at 838 Ellice Avenue in Winnipeg, (204) 783-7326 or (204) 227-0292. E-mail: mscott.ici@gmail.com

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