Citizen and Immigration Canada (CIC) is offering temporary foreign workers and international students the opportunity to become permanent residents sooner with new changes to the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) program.
Under the old CEC, skilled workers needed two years of experience in Canada, but are now only required to complete one. Graduated students now have 36 months to finish one year of work experience instead of 24 months.
These changes allow Canada’s most skilled immigrants an accelerated path to permanent residency. Up to 10,000 applications for the CEC will be accepted in 2013, a sharp increase from the program’s 2009 debut year that processed 2,545 requests.
Who are eligible Canadians?
Skilled workers and students need to have worked a minimum of twelve months full-time, or equivalent part time, within three years before applying. That experience must be a designated managerial, professional, technical, or skills trade job.
Those interested must also be able to prove English or French language proficiency in speaking, reading, listening, and writing. The level of ability necessary will depend on the occupation of interest.
Language tests must be conducted by an approved agency, and applicants are required to provide results at the time of CEC request. Only one test result may be submitted.
Eligible Canadians are encouraged to apply to the CEC as soon as they meet program requirements as processing times can take up to 13 months.
Investing in Canada’s international students
The CEC program is just one aspect of Canada’s effort in attracting more international students. Each year nearly 100,000 study permits are granted to allow foreign nationals into Canadian post-secondary classrooms.
Through the Off-Campus Work Permit Program students can financially support themselves during their studies in Canada. They are open permits, meaning students can approach any employer. Students may work up to 20 hours per week while classes are in session and full-time during breaks.
Increased options upon graduation
Now more than ever international students in Canada have the opportunity to remain in the country upon graduation.
The Post-Graduation Work Permit Program allows foreign nationals to work up to three years in Canada after completing their studies, a necessary permit in order to qualify for the CEC.
Related, the Provincial Nominee Program authorizes provinces and territories to recommend graduated students for permanent residency who are believed to benefit local communities.
Meanwhile, Canadian employers are provided information via the Foreign Credentials Referral Office (FCRO) on how they can hire international students in a variety of situations. Canadian business owners can view the FCRO’s Employer’s Roadmap for more information.
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Canada Citizenship Lawyer is website of Ravneet S. Ahuja, Barrister and Solicitor with the Law Society of British Columbia, BC, an immigration law firm based out of Nanaimo, BC, Canada.