The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) program, a relatively recent development in Canadian immigration law, is designed to help qualified foreign students and skilled workers obtain permanent resident status. The program was initially created in 2008, and has helped over 25,000 people obtain Canadian permanent residence status since its inception. In order to be eligible for permanent residency under CEC, a person must meet certain eligibility requirements, which are as follows:
- Live or plan to live outside of Quebec
- Have at least 12 months of full-time skilled Canadian work experience over the past 3 years, in a skilled occupation
- Obtained the required work experience legally
- Meet certain language proficiency standards
The manner in which this Canadian immigration program is structured makes it particularly attractive to foreign students who have graduated from Canadian universities, as well as to temporary foreign workers. While the program is relatively streamlined and easy to navigate, there are several potential pitfalls that may delay or even derail a candidate’s application. Those who wish to learn more about the CEC program should consult with a Canada immigration attorney.
Last month Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander announced changes to the program, in order to better attract the most desirable applicants. The changes include a cap on the number of annual CEC applications, in an effort to “maintain reasonable processing times and prevent a backlog” from occurring. In addition, recent data has suggested that certain categories of workers are overrepresented in the Canadian Experience Class program. As a result, 6 occupations will no longer be eligible to participate in CEC. These occupations include:
- Food service supervisors
- Administrative officers
- Administrative assistants
- Accounting technicians and bookkeepers
- Retail sales supervisors
Under the new caps, CIC will only be accepting 12,000 CEC applications during the period running from November 9, 2013 to October 31, 2014. Additionally, CIC will establish sub-caps of 200 applications for certain occupations in specific areas. The modifications to the Canadian Experience Class program also include a procedural change under which an applicant’s language proficiency will be determined upon receipt of their application. This means that applicants who do not meet minimum language standards will be screened out earlier, and their applications will be returned to them with a refund of their processing fees. This change will allow Canadian immigration officials to focus their resources on processing applications from those who are most likely to qualify for the program.
There are certain issues that could render an applicant inadmissible to Canada. These include:
- A risk to security
- The commission of human or international rights violations
- Criminal misconduct
- Ties to organized crime
- A serious health problem
- A serious financial problem (e.g. bankruptcy)
- Dishonesty in the application or interview process
- Not meeting the conditions set forth in Canadian immigration law
- Family members who are inadmissible
Those who think they might be inadmissible to Canada should contact a Canadian immigration lawyer for a comprehensive analysis of their situation. To schedule a free consultation with a Canadian immigration lawyer, contact First Immigration Law Firm at 1 (855) 360-4333 (toll-free in North America) or 1 (514) 360-4333 internationally.