You may have temporary foreign workers in Canada whom you wish to employ on a permanent basis. In most circumstances, an employer can retain a foreign national in Canada on a longer-term basis if the employee first applies for and obtains permanent residence. In a previous article, we highlighted the two main categories for applying for permanent residence.5 In this article, we discuss a new category for permanent residence called the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), which was recently introduced by Canada Immigration.

New Changes

The CEC category for permanent residence is designed to assist both temporary foreign workers and foreign students with applying for permanent residence while in Canada on temporary status. In addition, those workers or students who have left Canada, but otherwise meet the requirements as workers or graduates, will be eligible to apply provided they do so within one year of leaving their jobs in Canada. This new category reflects a broader approach by the Canadian government ? one that will allow more talented foreign nationals with Canadian experience to transition over to permanent residence.

Criteria

Students

For a student to qualify for permanent residence under the CEC, he or she must:

  1. possess language abilities in either English or French appropriate to occupational skill level;
  2. have graduated from a Canadian postsecondary educational institution with a program of study of at least two academic years — acceptable Canadian public postsecondary educational institutions include accredited colleges or universities or a private institution authorized by provincial law to grant degrees; and
  3. have completed one year of skilled, professional or technical work experience in Canada — this one year of work experience must have been obtained in the two years leading up to the date of the application for permanent residence. As well, the work experience must fall within the Canadian National Occupational Classification of:

a) Skill Type 0 (managerial occupations);

b) Skill Level A (professional occupations); or

c) Skill Level B (technical occupations and skilled trades).

The one exception to the need for graduation from a program of study of at least two academic years is in the case of a one-year master’s program. However, there is still a requirement for an overall total of two years of Canadian post-secondary education. Therefore, the applicant must have completed at least one academic year in Canada immediately prior to commencing the one- year master’s program.

Workers

For a temporary foreign worker to qualify for the CEC, he or she must:

  1. possess language abilities in either English or French appropriate to occupational skill level; and
  2. have completed two years of skilled, professional or technical work experience in Canada — this work experience must have been completed in the three-year period leading up to the date of the application for permanent residence. Also, as in the case of foreign students, the work experience must fall within the Canadian National Occupational Classification of:

a) Skill Type 0 (managerial occupations);

b) Skill Level A (professional occupations); or

c) Skill Level B (technical occupations and skilled trades).

Advantages of the CEC Category

One possible advantage of applying through the CEC category, as opposed to the Skilled Worker category, is avoiding the cumbersome points system used in the Skilled Worker category. Another is the potential for fast-tracking permanent residence applications through the CEC stream. Time will tell how effective this new category will be for achieving the goal of permanent retention of those with Canadian work experience.