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:
- they plan to live outside of Quebec;
- they have at least 12 months of full-time skilled work experience in Canada during the three-year period before they apply;
- they gained their skilled work experience in Canada with the proper authorization;
- they were not self employed when they gained their skilled work experience; and
- 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.
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.Read more ›
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC“) has released Operational Bulletin 503 – Clarification of Volunteering in Relation to Farm Work (“OB-503“). The Temporary Foreign Worker Manual provides that if a tourist wishes to stay on a family farm and work part time just for room and board for a short period then this is not considered work, and a work permit is not required. Work on a farm that is expected to last beyond four weeks, however, requires a work permit.
OB-503 elaborates on this. It specifies that the volunteering on the farm must be incidental to the reason the individual seeks to enter Canada. Farm work cannot be the main reason for entering Canada. An individual must have other plans for the majority of their time in Canada (such as tourism, visiting family, visiting friends, etc.)
It also specifies that if the foreign national seeks to volunteer at a commercial farm, than a work permit is required. A commercial farm is a commercial venture undertaken with the expectation of profit. A non-commercial farm generally means a farm where the farm family provides much of the capital and labour for the farm, and where the production of agricultural products is to provide for the basic needs of the family, with little extra to sell for the profit of the family. It is commonly known as “subsistence” or “family” farming.
OB-503 then lists the following factors which are relevant to determining whether a work permit supported by a Labour Market Opinion is required.
- Is the destination a farm (produces an agricultural product – plant or animal) or is it another form of business such as an ecotourism centre, bed and breakfast (B & B), etc. The latter are considered ‘commercial enterprises,’ and volunteering at them will require a work permit supported by a Labour Market Opinion.