Immigration Canada will be introducing a new Permanent Resident category to assist and presumably expedite applications for permanent resident status for foreign workers who have already been working in Canada for some time. The target date for introduction of the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) is the summer of 2008. Selection will be different than the current points system under the Skilled Worker category. Selection under the CEC will be based on a pass/fail system. The final selection criteria have not been announced, but will include language proficiency.

It appears that the CEC will only be available for those holding occupations under NOC levels 0, A, or B. Therefore, temporary workers in Canada under Service Canada's Low Skilled Workers Program would not qualify.

There will be a stream for recent graduates of Canadian post-secondary institutions, and a stream for temporary foreign workers. It is expected that foreign graduates will need at least 12 months' full-time employment in Canada, and temporary foreign workers will need at least 24 months' full-time experience in Canada, to qualify under the CEC.

Employers wishing to support the permanent resident applications of their foreign workers will want to review the status and criteria of this new category as it should provide a quicker route to permanent resident status as compared to the regular federal Skilled Worker category. We will provide further updates when the program is introduced.

CIC Media Release Re CEC