The Canadian Experience Class is a popular route toward Canadian permanent resident status for a large number of individuals who have work experience in Canada on a temporary work permit. Recognising the deep pool of skilled talent already in Canada, the government of Canada assigns a certain allocation of places under its annual immigration plan to skilled workers with Canadian work experience — hence, the Canadian Experience Class.
The basic requirements are as follows. Applicants must have:
- Obtained at least one year of skilled, professional or technical work experience in Canada within 36 months of the application date; and
- Met or surpassed a Canadian Language Benchmark threshold of 5 (“initial intermediate”) or 7 (“adequate intermediate proficiency”) depending on the level of the job; and
- Plan to live and work outside of the Province of Quebec (individuals who plan to reside in Quebec may apply to the Quebec Experience Class).
Candidates who are eligible under the Canadian Experience Class typically worked in Canada in one of the following capacities:
- having received a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA); or
- in an LMIA-exempt category; or
- on an open work permit as the spouse of a partner who was working in Canada; or
- on an open work permit under an international exchange program; or
- on a post-graduate work permit, having completed full-time studies in Canada at a designated institution.
On first glance, the process for a candidate wishing to convert from temporary to permanent resident status appears simple. Skilled workers with good English or French ability intending to reside outside Quebec might think that their positive eligibility for the program makes attaining permanent residence a certainty. The reality, however, is that there have been a growing number of refusals handed out to individuals due to minor discrepancies in their applications. Unfortunately, these people do not become permanent residents of Canada.
Reason For Refusal: Documents Don’t Match Precisely
In order to complete an application under the Canadian Experience Class, a candidate must submit a number of supporting documents. These include documents relating to his or her work experience, such as a resume (CV), work reference letters from previous and current employers, taxation documents, and a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (if applicable).
What some candidates have experienced, regrettably, is that their applications have been refused as a result of these documents not matching thoroughly and precisely. In recent times, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has been increasingly willing to reject an application in which the candidate’s work-related documents do not match up with each other. For example, his or her work reference letters might not give a description of duties that correlates with the job description set by CIC on the given National Occupational Classification (NOC) code and/or the LMIA that was issued for the candidate to work in Canada in the first place. Whereas some leeway may have been given in the past, recent months and years have seen a far more thorough assessment of whether the candidate can prove that his or her work experience in Canada is exactly the same as which duties he or she was supposed to be performing in his or her role.
Reason For Refusal: NOC code discrepancies
When a candidate makes an application under the Canadian Experience Class, he or she is required to present CIC with a NOC code for each skilled occupation that he or she has held in his or her career. The NOC code gives a list of duties that are deemed typical for somebody working in the given position.
What sometimes happens, however, is that a candidate who originally moved to Canada having been issued with a positive LMIA with a particular NOC code (for example, NOC 2173 — Software engineer and designer) ended up working in a role more in line with similar set of duties, but which more accurately reflects the list of duties of another NOC code (for example NOC 2174 — Computer programmer and interactive media developer). This discrepancy can result in refusal.
How Can Candidates Prepare And Present A Better Application?
“For better or for worse, the government has been going over each application under the Canadian Experience Class with a fine-toothed comb, thoroughly scrutinising each and every detail,” says Attorney David Cohen.
“It goes without saying that nobody wants to have an application refused, especially candidates who have lived and worked in Canada, set down roots, and made plans for the future here. It is regrettable to see so many skilled candidates have their applications refused, but it reinforces the point that candidates should take note of the stringent criteria that CIC operates within. Having an attorney review all documents prior to submission may give a candidate a better shot of having an application accepted, allowing him or her a clear path to continuing the Canadian Dream.”
To find out if you are eligible for the Canadian Experience Class or any of over 60 Canadian immigration programs that lead to permanent residence in Canada, please fill out a free online assessment today.
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