Express Entry

Express Entry

26th Oct 2014 Comments Off on Express Entry

On January 1 2015, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC“) is expected to overhaul its economic immigration programs with the launch of Express Entry.  On December 1, 2014, the Government of Canada released detailed Ministerial Instructions regarding Express Entry.  In this post I hope to provide an easy to read overview of the new program.

Express Entry will significantly alter every economic immigration program, including the Federal Skilled Worker Program (“FSWP“), the Canadian Experience Class (“CEC“), the Federal Skilled Trades Program (“FSTP“), and the Provincial Nominee Program (“PNP“).

Rather than first in, first processed for permanent residence applications Express Entry will feature a “selection” of candidates who the Government of Canada believes is most likely to succeed in Canada.

Express Entry will consist of two steps for potential applicants:

  1. Completing an Online Express Entry Profile
  2. Receiving a Letter of Invitation

CIC is touting that Express Entry is not a new immigration per se, but rather a way for CIC to manage economic immigration applications online.  However, a quick review of Express Entry suggests that who will be eligible to immigrate to Canada under Express Entry will fundamentally change.

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The National Occupational Classification System

The National Occupational Classification System

14th Oct 2014 Comments Off on The National Occupational Classification System

Last updated on April 2nd, 2019

Much of Canada’s immigration system is based on Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (“Service Canada’s“) National Occupational Classification (“NOC“) system.  Economic class applicants generally need to understand the NOC system because the success of their applications will depend on them demonstrating that they have qualifying experience or pre-arranged employment in certain NOCs.  Employers submitting Labour Market Impact Assessment applications to the Ministry of Economic and Social Development Canada (“ESDC“) need to know which NOCs their vacant positions fall under because this will determine the respective prevailing wage and recruitment requirements.  Indeed, it is arguable that international graduates should pay attention to the NOC of their first jobs out of post-secondary school because only experience in certain NOCs will count towards immigration.

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Language Requirements for Immigration (IR-11)

Language Requirements for Immigration (IR-11)

17th Apr 2014 Comments Off on Language Requirements for Immigration (IR-11)

During the time that I have been writing this blog the most frequently asked question that readers have asked me is whether their IELTS band scores are sufficient for certain immigration programs.  Some people have even offered to book initial consultations with me just so that I would review their IELTS scores.  This has always been somewhat surprising to me given that the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC”) website publishes each of its program’s respective language requirements in a clear and concise manner.

Indeed, it is not just members of the general public that seem to be confused.  As shown in the exchange below, which I obtained through an Access to Information Act request, some immigration lawyers are unclear of the requirements.  (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 21, 2013

Dear Sir/ Madam,

I have been referred to your office, by Karen Flynn, of NHQ-Immigration in Ottawa, her phone number is _______.

I practice immigration law in Toronto, and I have the following question, regarding the Federal Skilled Worker Class, in light of the recent changes, in effect, as of May 4, 2013:

  • the IETLS benchmark is CLB 7, i.e. 6 points, for each ability. If the results of a foreign national are, for example, in 1, or 2, or 3 abilities in the CLB 8 or higher, but 1 ability, or 2, or 3, are at CLB 7level, can I give 5 or more points per ability, for the CLB 8, or higher, and 4 points,

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The CEC Has Changed, What to do Now

18th Dec 2013 Comments Off on The CEC Has Changed, What to do Now

[Editor’s note: The following appeared in the December edition of The Canadian Immigrant Magazine]

On Nov. 8, 2013, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) introduced significant changes to the Canadian experience class (CEC), which limited eligibility to the popular program. The changes took effect the next day. Hundreds (if not thousands) of foreign workers in Canada who were gaining work experience that previously qualified for the CEC suddenly learned that it did not.

For some of these individuals, many of whom are post-graduate work permit holders, career changes will be necessary if they wish to immigrate to Canada.

However, in the month following CIC’s announcement, many people researched their options and discovered to their surprise that they qualified for other Canadian immigration programs. Indeed, some even learned that they could have submitted permanent residence applications many months prior to Nov. 8.

The CEC changes

The changes that CIC introduced to the CEC are significant. First, the program now features annual application caps. From Nov. 9, 2013, to Oct. 31, 2014, CIC will accept 12,000 completed applications to the program. Within the overall 12,000 application cap, CIC will process a maximum of 200 new CEC applications each year per each National Occupational Classification (NOC) Skill Level B occupation. While NOC Skill Type 0 and NOC Skill Level A occupations are not individually sub-capped, applicants with such work experience are subject to the overall 12,000 application cap.

The second change — and for many people the much more devastating one — was CIC’s decision that work experience gained in six proscribed NOC Skill Level B occupations would no longer count toward the CEC work experience requirement. The six occupations are administrative officers, administrative assistants, accounting technicians and bookkeepers,

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CIC Caps CEC, Eliminates Eligible Occupations

28th Nov 2013 Comments Off on CIC Caps CEC, Eliminates Eligible Occupations

On November 8, 2013, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC”) announced significant changes to the Canadian Experience Class (“CEC”).

The CEC is a very popular program for immigrating to Canada.  Subject to narrow exceptions, individuals qualify for the CEC if:

  1. they plan to live outside of Quebec;
  2. they have at least 12 months of full-time skilled work experience in Canada during the three-year period before they apply;
  3. they gained their skilled work experience in Canada with the proper authorization;
  4. they were not self employed when they gained their skilled work experience; and
  5. they meet required language levels (which vary according to occupation).

Qualifying skilled work experience is work experience in one or more National Occupational Classification (“NOC”) Skill Type 0, or Skill Level A or B, occupations.  The NOC is a Ministry of Economic and Social Development initiative which categorizes all occupations in Canada.  It can be found here.

The November 8 changes introduce an annual cap on the number of CEC applications that CIC will accept each year, introduce a further sub-cap for NOC Skill Level B occupations, and eliminate certain NOC Skill Level B occupations from being eligible for the CEC.

The above changes took affect on November 9, 2013.  They only apply to applications which CIC receives after that date.

Caps

CIC will consider a maximum of 12,000 completed CEC applications each year. Within the overall 12,000 application cap, CIC will process a maximum of 200 new CEC applications per NOC Skill Level B occupation each year.

While there is no sub-cap on CEC applications in NOC Skill Type 0 or NOC Skill Level A occupations, these occupations are subject to the overall cap of 12,000 new applications.

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Low Salaries and the Canadian Experience Class

25th Feb 2013 Comments Off on Low Salaries and the Canadian Experience Class

Last updated on April 27th, 2020

Many applicants often ask whether low salaries can result in Canadian Experience Class refusals.

Qin v. Canada

The leading case on the issue of whether low salaries can result in Canadian Experience Class (“CEC“) refusals is Qin v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration Canada), 2013 FCA 263.  There, the Federal Court certified a question regarding whether immigration officers can consider a position’s prevailing wage rate when determining whether an applicant meets the requirements of the CEC.

Neither the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (the “Regulations“) nor the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada Processing Manuals state that officers should consider salary when assessing whether an applicant has the requisite experience in a skilled position for the CEC.  Section 87.1 of the Regulations simply require an officer to evaluate whether a candidate has experience in an eligible occupation.  On this point, Madam Justice Gleason wrote that:

In evaluating whether or not an applicant’s experience falls within a permissible [occupation], an officer is required to understand the nature of the work performed and the degree of complexity of the tasks undertaken, to determine whether or not they fall within the duties listed in the relevant [occupation]. The requisite analysis necessitates much more than a rote comparison of the duties listed in the [occupation] with those described in a letter of reference or job description. Rather, what is required is a qualitative assessment of the nature of the work done and comparison of it with the [National Occupational Classification Code  (“NOC“)] descriptor. Indeed, there is a line of authority which indicates that, in the context of Federal Skilled Workers (where an officer is similarly required to assess duties performed against the NOC Code descriptors),

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Should I Do BC PNP or CEC?

6th Feb 2013 Comments Off on Should I Do BC PNP or CEC?

After the work experience requirement for the Canadian Experience Class went from two-years to one, many people have been asking whether they should apply for the BC PNP – Strategic Occupations – Skilled Workers program or the Canadian Experience Class.

The following table shows some of the issues that applicants should be aware with each application.  It was part of a larger table comparing the BC PNP to many federal economic immigration programs which I wrote in a paper for the 2013 Canadian Bar Association – British Columbia Branch Annual Immigration Conference.

Issue

BC PNP – Skilled Workers

CEC

Is a job offer required as part of the application?
Yes, and the employer must have at least 3-5 employees depending on its location.
No. In fact, there is no requirement that the applicant be employed during the processing of the application.

If a job offer is required, can the applicant change employers?
Not until after nomination, and the BC PNP may withdraw nomination if the new position does not meet program requirements.
N/A

If a job offer is required, does the employer have to do recruitment?
Yes, although if the employee is a TFW the original recruitment is sufficient.
N/A

How much work experience is required?
Several years of directly related work experience.

 
1 year of work experience in a NOC 0/A/B occupation in Canada in the 3 years preceding the application. 

Does self-employment count to experience?
Yes.
No.

Can currently self-employed people apply?
No, an applicant cannot own more than 10% of the employer.
Yes.  However, they must have one year experience as an employee.

Processing times
8-12 weeks at BC PNP, and then varies at CIC
11 months

Is language testing required?
No.

 
Yes.

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Bridging Open Work Permits

Bridging Open Work Permits

17th Dec 2012 Comments Off on Bridging Open Work Permits

Last updated on October 26th, 2019

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (“IRCC”) International Mobility Program has a bridging open work permit program for temporary foreign workers currently working in Canada who have submitted permanent residence applications under the Federal Skilled Worker Program (“FSWP“), the Canadian Experience Class (“CEC“), the Provincial Nominee Program (“PNP“), or the Federal Skilled Trades Program (“FSTP“).

Bridging open work permits are a huge and positive development for Canadian employers with employees who have filed permanent residence applications under one of Canada’s economic programs.  CIC’s introduction of bridging work permits removes a significant issue which many temporary foreign workers previously encountered, namely that they were unable to extend their work permits during CIC’s processing of their permanent resident applications without their employers first having to obtain positive Labour Market Impact Assessments, an uncertain process which often takes months.

Eligibility

Temporary foreign workers currently working in Canada are eligible to apply for a bridging work permit if they:

  • are a foreign national in Canada;
  • have valid status on a work permit that is due to expire within 4 months;
  • be the principal applicant on an appliation for permanent residence under the FSWP, CEC, PNP or FSTC;
  • received a positive eligibility decision on their permanent residence application under either the FSWP, the CEC, the PNP, or the FSTP; and
  • they have applied for an open work permit.

The following individuals are not eligible for open bridging work permits:

  • foreign nationals in Canada working in Canada who are work permit exempt;
  • foreign nationals who have let their status expire and must apply for restoration in order to return to temporary resident status;

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