Canada Express Entry Returns: Lowdown On The Canadian Experience Class

Canada Express Entry Returns: Lowdown On The Canadian Experience Class
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Canada immigration news: Canada is set to conduct its first Express Entry draw for almost nine months including Canadian Experience Class (CEC) candidates this week. 

“We will … begin to invite new candidates to apply for permanent residence under our Express Entry system beginning in July,” tweeted Immigration Minister Sean Fraser in late April. “This includes skilled newcomers already in Canada on temporary status.”

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That Express Entry program is an important pathway for aspiring immigrants. Last year, 36,475 new permanent residents to Canada settled into the country through the CEC, the latest Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada figures reveal. 

Canada On Track To Welcome 61,710 New Permanent Residents Through CEC In 2022

In the first four months of this year alone, 20,570 new permanent residents to Canada came under the program. At that rate, Canada could welcome 61,710 new permanent residents under the CEC this year. 

The immigration program, one of three under the Express Entry system, is for foreign nationals who have at least one year of Canadian skilled work experience, or the equivalent in part-time work, and who also meet the language requirements for their jobs and intend on living outside of Quebec. 

That francophone province has its own immigration department and does not participate in the CEC.

The other two immigration programs that draw on the profiles in the Express Entry pool are the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSW) and Federal Skilled Trades Program (FST).

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Under the National Occupational Classification (NOC) system used in Canada, skilled work is defined as meaning:

  • managerial jobs, which are skill level 0;
  • professional jobs, considered skill type A, or;
  • technical jobs and skilled trades which are considered skill type B.

This is the kind of work experience that counts toward eligibility in the CEC program. 

Full Or Part-Time Canadian Work Experience Counts Towards CEC Eligibility

Applicants to the CEC must have at least one year of skilled work experience in Canada in the last three years but that work can have been either:

  • a full-time job for up to 30 hours per week for 12 months for a minimum of 1,560 hours, or;
  • the equal amount of experience through any combination of part-time jobs provided it added up to at least 1,560 hours within that period.

That also includes any work experience a foreign national may have gained by working in Canada while under a temporary resident visa with authorization to work. But it has to be paid work. 

“Your skilled work experience must be paid work including paid wages or earned commission,” notes the IRCC. “We don’t count volunteer work or unpaid internships.

“For part-time work, you can work more or less than 15 hours per week as long as it adds up to 1,560 hours. You can work more than one part-time job to get the hours you need to apply.”

Under this program, though, any hours in excess of 30 in any given job do not count towards the eligibility requirements. 

And applicants to the CEC also need to clearly show they performed the duties outlined in the occupational description for the job as it is described in the NOC system.

A good way to find those occupational descriptions is on the federal government’s Jobbank website. 

Applicants under the CEC must meet the minimum language proficiency level for their jobs. That means hitting the Canadian Language Benchmark 7 for NOC 0 or A jobs or Canadian Language Benchmark 5 for NOC B jobs.

Those language test results are valid for two years and must, of course, be valid on the day the foreign national applies for permanent residence.

Refugee Claimants And Those In Canada Illegally Are Ineligible For CEC

There are people who cannot apply under the CEC, including refugee claimants in Canada, those working in the country without authorization, or without a temporary resident status. Self-employment and any work experience a foreign national gets while a full-time student is also not counted towards the minimum requirements for the program. 

There are no specific educational requirements for the CEC.

Still, there are things foreign nationals can do to boost their rankings in the Express Entry pool for immigration purposes and improve their odds of getting an Invitation to Apply (ITA) under a coming Express Entry draw.

Those foreign nationals who went to school in Canada can get points under the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) for a certificate, diploma or degree from a Canadian secondary institution, college or university. 

Those with foreign education can get points under the CRS for completed foreign credentials and for an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report from a designated organization showing their education is equal to a completed certificate, diploma or degree from a Canadian secondary school, college or university.

When applying, foreign nationals should pay close attention to the province or territory in which they indicate they want to reside because IRCC officials will hold them to it – but only if those applicants are provincial nominees.

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