The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) will play a prominent role in shaping immigration for 2013. The program, which was created to streamline Permanent Residency applications for workers and students already in Canada, is expected to issue 10,000 visas next year. This is an increase of 3,000-4,000 from last year’s immigration targets.
International students who have completed studies in Canada are well-placed to make an easy transition into the Canadian workforce. They have already assimilated into Canadian culture, speak French and/or English, and will possess educational credentials that will be recognized by Canadian employers. Because of these and other reasons, the CEC was created to help these valuable students remain in Canada, if they wish, after graduation.
Before the creation of the CEC, international students who wished to remain in Canada permanently would have to undergo a lengthy application process. With an aging Canadian population and a labour market in dire need of talented, educated workers, it was of the essence that a way was found to retain graduates with the skills the country needs. The CEC has helped provide a way.
Since its inception, the CEC has issued over 20,000 visas to foreign students and workers in Canada. Admission has risen from about 2,500 in 2009 to more than 6,000 new Permanent Residents in 2011.
“We are working hard to attract and retain the best and brightest students from around the world,” said Immigration Minister Jason Kenney at a ceremony marking CEC’s 20,000th visa issuance. The recipient of that visa, a student named Guarav Gore, appeared to agree.
“As a student, I saw the wealth of opportunities that are available in Canada,” he said. “I felt welcome. I wanted to stay, pursue a career here, and contribute to the economy as well as the country. I was happy to discover that it was possible through the CEC and that I could use my skills immediately upon graduating.”
Applications to the Canadian Experience Class are relatively straightforward. Students who wish to apply must satisfy the following requirements, in addition to Federal health and security screenings:
- They must successfully complete a program of study of at least two academic years at a Canadian post-secondary institution;
- They must have obtained at least one year of skilled, professional, or technical work experience in Canada within 24 months of the application date (effective January 2nd 2013); and
- They must meet or surpass Canadian Level Benchmark 5 (“initial intermediate”) or 7 (“adequate intermediate proficiency”) depending on the level of their job in Canada
Students who are living in Quebec may be eligible for the Quebec Experience Class, a similar but separate program. These students must fulfill slightly different requirements:
- They must have obtained a degree or diploma from an educational institution recognized by the Quebec Ministry of Education;
- They must have studied in Quebec for at least 1,800 hours (two years); and
- They must show that they have successfully completed an intermediate level French course at a Quebec educational institution, if their studies were not completed in French.
To find out if you are eligible for the Canadian Experience Class, or one of over 60 Canadian immigration programs, please fill out a free online assessment.