The Canadian Experience Class (“CEC”) allows individuals with one-year skilled work experience in Canada to acquire permanent residency. In November 2013, the Government of Canada through Ministerial Instructions introduced significant limitations to the program. We sent a newsletter to our subscribers outlining the changes to the CEC, and I have reproduced on my blog a copy of that newsletter article. As well, in December 2013 The Canadian Immigrant Magazine published an article of mine in which I outlined alternate programs for people who became ineligible to apply to the CEC.
In a previous blog post, I also reproduced an Access to Information Act result in which Citizenship and Immigration Canada confirmed to an immigration representative that work experience for a foreign employer counts towards the CEC’s work experience requirement.
In today’s post I will be reproducing a similar Q&A between an immigration representative and Citizenship and Immigration Canada regarding whether work experience obtained during full-time studies counts towards the CEC’s work experience requirement. I will also be reproducing part of Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s Overseas Processing Manual 25A – Canadian Experience Class (“OP25A”), which discusses the issue.
Full-Time Study, Summer Breaks, and the Canadian Experience Class
Section 87.1(3)(a) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations provides that:
any period of employment during which the foreign national was engaged in full-time study shall not be included in calculating a period of work experience [for the CEC]
It is clear that work experience obtained during full-time study will not count towards the CEC work experience requirement. It is therefore apparent that work obtained on an off-campus work permit or a co-op work permit would not count towards the CEC. However, what about work experience gained when a person holds both a Post-Graduate Work Permit and a Study Permit? Or what about work experience obtained during summer break? Do either of those count towards the CEC requirement?
(Please note that what I have reproduced below should not be viewed as legal advice. The reproduction of question and answer has not occurred with the affiliation of the Government of Canada, nor with the endorsement of the Government of Canada.)
Question – May 14, 2013
I have had several inquiries from students who have worked full-time on post-grad work permits (obtained after they obtained their Bachelor degrees) and have at the same time gone back to school to complete their Masters. Can the experience they’ve gained under their post-grad work permits be used for their CEC application if they were completing a full-time Masters program at the same time when they gained the work experience? Please note that the experience was not gained based on an off-campus work permit.
Thank you for your time and assistance in this matter. !look forward to hearing from you soon.
Answer – May 16, 2013
Pursuant to paragraph 87.1(3)(a) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, any period of employment during which the foreign national was engaged in full-time study shall not be included in calculating a period of work experience.
As such, work experience obtained on a post-graduate work permit while the individual is engaged in full-time study will not count as a period of qualifying work experience under the Canadian Experience Class
Follow Up Question- May 21, 2013
Thank you very much for your reply. During the summer period when she was on holidays, the individual was not engaged in full-time study. Would we be able to count this as work experience under the post-graduate work permit?
Follow Up Answer – May 22, 2013
When assessing whether an applicant under the CEC has met the work experience requirement, officers will generally assume that applicants have two weeks of leave within a given 52-week period in which they were engaged in qualifying full-time (or the equivalent in part-time) work. Work experience obtained during a summer holiday break while engaged in full-time study during the normal academic year would not be counted as a period of qualifying work experience under the CEC.
January 30 Changes to CEC Manual
On January 30, 2014, Citizenship and Immigration Canada attempted to publicly clarify the issue by updating OP25A. Section 10.11 of the OP25A now states:
Applicants must have 12 months of full-time, Canadian skilled work experience (or the equivalent in part-time experience) in one or more NOC 0, A, or B occupations within the 36 months preceding the date on which their application is received [R 87.1(2)(a)]. Work experience need not be continuous under the CEC.
In addition, during that period of employment, the applicant must have:
- performed the actions as set out in the lead statement for the occupation(s), as set out in the occupational description of the NOC [R 87.1(2)(b)]; and
- performed a substantial number of the main duties, including all of the essential duties, of the occupation(s) as set out in the occupational description of the NOC [R 87.1(2)(c)]
Note: The “Employment Requirements” listed in the NOC occupational description are not applicable.
Any period of employment during which the applicant was engaged in full-time study will not be included in calculating the period of qualifying work experience (e.g. work experience gained through co-op work permits, off-campus work permits while a full-time student, and on-campus work permits). [R87.1(3)(a) Officers should verify the work permit information in GCMS.
Any period of self-employment or unauthorized work experience will not be included in calculating the period of work experience [R87.1(3)(b) ] A person who has worked in Canada without authorization has failed to comply with A30(1), and on that basis may be found to be inadmissible under A41.
Note: Work experience acquired while under implied status will be considered as eligible work experience under the CEC, provided that the applicant continued to work in Canada under the same conditions as their original work permit until a decision was made on their application for a work permit extension.
An allowance for a reasonable period of vacation time will generally be made in calculating the period of qualifying work experience (e.g., a two-week period of paid vacation leave within a 52-week period in which the applicant was engaged in qualifying work experience). An allowance for normal vacation time cannot be used as a substitute or proxy for meeting the in-Canada element of the work experience requirement (i.e., work experience obtained outside Canada will not be considered as though an applicant had been on a period of vacation in order to count as part of the period of in-Canada work experience). While officers will account for a reasonable period of vacation time in calculating the period of qualifying work experience in Canada, each application is considered on its own merits with a final decision based on a review of all the information available to the officer at the time of the decision.
The applicant does not have to be employed at the time of the application, but they must have held temporary resident status during the period of qualifying work experience acquired in Canada [R87.1(3)(c)]
Note: An applicant under the CEC does not need to hold a work permit. Applicants who are authorized to work in Canada under R186 are eligible to apply under the CEC, but must provide documentation with their application establishing that they had legal temporary resident status in Canada (e.g., a visitor record).
Although it is beyond the topic of today’s post, it should be noted that in a new section 10.12 of OP25A Citizenship and Immigration Canada has finally clarified what self-employment means for the purpose of s. 87.1(e)(b) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations.
Post June 1, 2014
As recently noted on this blog, Citizenship and Immigration Canada is overhauling the study permit regime. The Department will be doing away with off-campus, co-op, and integral work permits. Instead, study permits will automatically authorize the holder to work off-campus for up to 20 hours per week during the academic session and full-time during scheduled breaks without the need to apply for a separate work permit. As well, international graduates will be authorized to work full-time after their studies are completed until a decision is made on their application for a Post-Graduation Work Permit.
As the above Q&A and reproduction from OP25A should explain, notwithstanding the change in work permit documentation, it is only after international students graduate that their work experience can count towards the CEC.