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Understanding Eligible Work Experience for Express Entry Immigration Programs in Canada

Understanding the requirements for immigration through Express Entry in Canada can be complex, especially when it comes to determining eligible work experience. There are three main programs within Express Entry: the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), and the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP). The definition of eligible work experience varies depending on the program an immigration candidate is applying for. Here, we’ll discuss what qualifies as skilled work experience for each program.

  1. Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)

To qualify under FSWP, candidates must have worked in a job in Canada or abroad that falls under one of the National Occupation Classification (NOC) TEER – Training, Education, Experience and Responsibilities – categories:

Eligible work experience must meet the following criteria:

  • Fits the same NOC as the desired Express Entry immigration job
  • Is paid work (wages or earned commission)
  • Accumulated as At least one year of continuous work (1,560 hours total, equaling 30 hours per week) within 10 years*
  • Not volunteering or an unpaid internship

There are three methods to achieve this condition:

  1. Full-time at one job: 30 hours/week for 12 months = 1,560 total hours
  2. Equal amount at multiple part-time jobs: For example, working 15 hours/week at two jobs for one year (1,560 hours) or one part-time job for 24 months
  3. Full-time at multiple jobs

Note that special provisions apply to students who meet specific conditions.

  1. Canadian Experience Class (CEC)

CEC candidates must have at least one year of skilled work experience in an occupation fitting one of the four NOC TEER categories, similar to FSWP. Both part-time and full-time work experience is considered, following the same criteria mentioned above for the FSWP.

For immigration through Express Entry under the CEC, eligible work experience must meet the following conditions:

  1. Completed within three years prior to submitting the candidate’s application.
  2. Gained by working in Canada with temporary resident status and authorized to work.
  3. Performed duties in accordance with the National Occupational Classification (NOC) lead statement, including all essential and most main duties.
  4. Paid employment in exchange for wages or commission (volunteer work and unpaid internships do not count towards CEC eligibility).

Ineligible work experience for CEC includes self-employment and work obtained while a full-time student.

Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)

Under the FSTP, eligible work experience must meet these requirements:

  1. At least two years of full-time (or equivalent part-time) work experience within five years prior to submitting an application.
  2. Clearly demonstrates that the candidate performed all NOC lead statement duties, including all essential and most main responsibilities.
  3. Paid employment in exchange for wages or commission (volunteer work and unpaid internships do not count towards FSTP eligibility).

Additionally, FSTP eligible work experience must fall into one of these eight NOC groups:

  • Major Group 72: Commercial and Transportation Workers and Managers (except group 726)
  • Group 73: Business – Major Group 82: Agriculture, Farming and Agricultural Managers
  • Group 83: Natural Resources and Manufacturing Activities
  • Major Group 92: Processing, manufacturing, and utilities supervisors, and utilities operators and controllers
  • Major Group 93: Central control and process operators and aircraft assembly assemblers/inspectors (excluding Sub-Major Group 932)
  • Minor Group 6320: Cooks, butchers, and bakers
  • Unit Group 62200: Chefs

Understanding what counts as eligible work experience is crucial for your Express Entry application. Make sure to evaluate your work history against the criteria outlined above to determine if you qualify for the Canadian Experience Class or the Federal Skilled Trades Program.

FAQs on Eligible Work Experience for Immigration through Express Entry

  1. What is considered eligible work experience for the Canadian Experience Class (CEC)?

Eligible work experience for CEC must be:

  • Completed within the three years prior to the submission of the candidate’s application
  • Income from working in Canada while temporary residence permit is issued
  • Performed as per the lead statement of the occupational description in the NOC, including all essential duties and most main duties
  • Paid work, including wages or earned commission (volunteer work and unpaid internships do not count)
  1. Are self-employment and student employment considered eligible work experience for CEC?

No, self-employed work experience and experience gained while a candidate was a full-time student do not count towards eligibility requirements for CEC.

  1. Are there any special provisions for self-employed physicians regarding work experience in CEC?

Yes, temporarily, self-employed foreign national physicians who have been providing publicly funded medical services in Canada are exempt from typical CEC self-employment conditions if their Express Entry application is submitted on or after April 25, 2023.

  1. What are the eligibility criteria for Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) work experience?

To qualify for FSTP, candidates must have:

  • 2 years of full-time (or equivalent part-time) skilled trade* work within the five years prior to submitting an application
  • Clearly shown that they performed all duties set out in the lead statement of the occupational description in the NOC
  • Paid work, including wages or earned commission (volunteer work and unpaid internships do not count)
  1. Which NOC groups are considered eligible for FSTP work experience?

Eligible NOC groups include Major Groups 72, 73, 82, 83, 92; Minor Group 6320; and Unit Group 62200. Note that some sub-major groups and occupations are excluded, as mentioned in the original text above.

Conclusion

In conclusion, understanding the requirements for eligible work experience in Canada’s Express Entry immigration programs is crucial for aspiring immigrants. The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), and the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) each have their own criteria for skilled work experience. For FSWP, it is essential to have at least one year of continuous work in the same NOC category within 10 years, while CEC requires one year of skilled work experience in an occupation fitting one of the four NOC TEER categories. FSTP requires at least two years of full-time or equivalent part-time work experience in the five years prior to the application. It is important to meet these requirements and follow the specified criteria to increase the chances of successfully immigrating through Express Entry.

If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch with us using our contact form or via email, we will try our best to reply to you promptly with an answer to your query.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only, exclusively written and published by IntraSource. The information sourced from various trusted platforms, mainly Government of Canada and “Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)” websites, and should not be considered as legal or professional advice. IRCC’s requirements may change, so consult lawyer/s and receive a professional advice before making decisions or applications.

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