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Canadian Experience Class Immigration Program

Immigrant workerTemporary Residents who have collected useful work experience while living in Canada have the opportunity to become Permanent Residents of Canada under the Canadian Experience Class Immigration Program.

Permanent Residency is an immigration status in Canada that allows an immigrant to live and work within the country for as long as they wish, provided they continue to meet certain eligibility requirements.

Becoming eligible for Permanent Residency can prove to be awfully tricky for some people, but the Canadian Experience Class Program makes it much easier to become a full resident.

Generally, two types of people can apply for this program: students who graduated from a Canadian university or temporary workers who have held a position for a required amount of time within Canada.

In either case, the applicant must be proficient in either of the official languages of Canada, English or French.


Eligibility for Canadian Experience Class includes not only the language requirement, but also three other requirements:

  • Applicants cannot plan to live in Quebec (Quebec has different immigration policies than the rest of Canada)
  • One full year of full time skilled work experience is required and this experience must have been received within the three years before the Canadian Experience Class application is submitted
  • It is absolutely necessary that a proper work permit be granted to the applicant for the entire time of work experience. Applicants who were out of status at any time will have their application rejected

Skilled Work Experience Definition

Skilled workers accrue experience through professions of the following types:

  • Management jobs
  • Professional jobs
  • Skilled Trades
  • Technical Jobs

More detailed lists of jobs that fall under these categories can be found on the National Occupation Classification (NOC).

The NOC itself is a list of jobs and positions that have been extensively detailed and described to better match peoples’ skills with the profession that is best for them.

The NOC codes for the above job types are Skill Types 0, A and B.

Applying for CEC

Applying for the Canadian Experience Class follows the same format as many other immigration applications in Canada.

The application must be filled out, supporting documentation included, fees paid and the entire package mailed to the appropriate Citizenship and Immigration center for the application to be accepted.

Incomplete applications will be returned to the applicant so that they can try again.

Processing Times

Citizenship and Immigration Canada provides applicants with estimates of the amount of time it may take to approve and issue immigration visas. These estimates are commonly called processing times.

Processing times are estimates and whatever their value, a person’s application may be accepted or rejected before or after the official processing time.

The processing time for Canadian Experience Class is 12 months.

Arranged Employment Selection Factor FSWP

Skilled WorkerImmigrants who already have a job offer in Canada become much more favorable to Citizenship and Immigration Canada in many immigration programs.

This is particularly true in the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP). Applicants can get ten points contributed to their total 67 required points for suitability in the FSWP.

The Federal Skilled Worker Program grants qualified immigrants Permanent Resident Cards in Canada enabling them to live and work within Canada for as long as they want.

The reason why the CIC gives points to immigrants who already have arranged employment is because without the additional stress of job searching immigrants are able to adjust to life in Canada much easier.

There are a few different ways to score those ten points for arranged employment in the FSWP.

Temporarily Working in Canada

Immigrants currently working in Canada on a temporary work visa are eligible for points under the arranged employment factor, but they must meet certain requirements.

One’s work permit must be valid for the entire application process.

A work permit is required for all foreign nationals to work in Canada and it must be granted based on a positive labour market opinion. That is, the Human Resources and Skills Development Canada organization has granted one’s employer the right to hire an immigrant for a Canadian position.

After one receives Permanent Residency through the FSWP they no longer have to have a work permit as Permanent Residents are always allowed to work.

The employer written on the work permit has given the immigrant a permanent job offer.

Exemption from Labour Market Opinion

Immigrants can gain exemption from a labour market opinion of their potential job and get the ten points for arranged employment if they meet these requirements:

  • Current employment in a job that doesn’t require a labour market opinion
  • A valid work permit throughout the application process for FSWP
  • Current employer has offered a permanent position in Canada

A Third Possibility

If an employer has already offered an applicant a permanent job offer and they have already obtained a positive labour market opinion for this position the applicant does not necessarily have to have current work in Canada.

In this pathway the applicant can get their Permanent Resident Card assured for them before they enter Canada and start their job after they land.

Applicants who are already working in Canada, but are switching employers to participate in the FSWP can also use this pathway.


The National Occupation Classification (NOC) is a list of job descriptions maintained by the Human Resources and Skills Development Canada and is used for the FSWP.

This list includes information about various positions available throughout Canada and helps determine whether or not a particular position will get a positive labour market opinion.

The NOC list (the most recent online edition is from 2011) should be consulted by FSWP applicants before they begin their process of full immigration.

Federal Skilled Worker Eligibility

Federal Skilled WorkerWhat is the Federal Skilled Worker Program?

The Federal Skilled Worker Program is an immigration classification designed to bring professionals in high demand fields into Canada. With this program, foreign nationals can become Permanent Residents in Canada through their work.

Permanent Residency is an immigrant status in Canada which allows immigrants to live and work within the country. Permanent Residents may also study and travel freely throughout Canada.

In order to apply for immigration to Canada, one has to first determine one’s eligibility for the program.

Work Experience

Immigrants looking to join the Federal Skilled Worker program must, of course, have sufficient work experience.

  • Immigrants must have one year of continuous experience in an occupation that is accepted by the National Occupational Classification.
  • FSW applicants must also have a job offer already established in Canada. A letter of acceptance will need to be shown during the application process.
  • The work experience has to be in the appropriate occupation, a paid position and it has to have occurred in the past 10 years.
  • The profession must also be classified under skill type 0, skill level A or skill level B as defined in the National Occupation Classification.

Education Requirements

Immigrants coming to Canada under the Federal Skilled Worker immigration visa will also need to show that they have the educational background to succeed in Canada.

This is a basic tenet of Canadian immigration. Immigrants are only accepted if it can be determined that the applicant can and will support themselves when they land.

Immigrants on the Federal Skilled Worker program must have a degree in the appropriate field either at a Canadian educational institution or at a foreign institution that is able to pass a Canadian Educational Credential Assessment.

There are a number of organizations who can conduct such an assessment, but it must be included in the application package if the applicant is using a foreign educational credential.

Immigrants also must be sufficiently adept at either English or French, depending on which province they will immigrate to.


There are some situations in which an application can be outright rejected. Typically, this only occurs in extreme situations. Applicants can be rejected for any of the following reasons:

  • Violators of human rights abroad or criminals in general will be outright rejected
  • Potential security threats such as terrorists will be denied visas
  • People of poor health or insufficient financial means will be denied visas to avoid their becoming wards of the state.

The Selection Criteria

To summarize, Citizenship and Immigration Canada look at the below qualifications to determine an immigrant’s suitability for the Federal Skilled Worker program:

  • Ability in national language of Canada
  • Education
  • Experience
  • Age (younger applicants are more likely to be accepted)
  • A job offer letter
  • And a more subjective measure that determines the adaptability of an immigrant and how well they will adjust to Canada

Waste no time and sign up today if you qualify for the Federal Skilled Worker Program!

NOC: What Are NOC Jobs?

The NOC is a list of job descriptions compiled by a national Canadian Human Resources organization.

The purpose of the list is to better define what certain jobs entail and what a person must be able to do to do the job correctly.

It is often used by the Citizenship and Immigration Canada office for the purpose of granting work permits.

It is useful in Canadian businesses for employing workers and also useful for the workers themselves.NOC

If a potential employee first examines the NOC classification for the job they want to get, they can better prepare their resume and application for that job.

But how does the NOC describe these jobs?

The official list of descriptions takes jobs and places them in categories where they are further described in sections. We will discuss the outline of the descriptions below.

Unit Group/General Description

All descriptions include a number which indicates which category, group and job position a particular job can be found in.

This section also briefly describes the duties and where the job will be conducted.

Example Titles

The duties of the job may be modified minutely to match the requirements of a particular position. Each of these positions may come with a different title.

Example titles can also be seen as a grouping of similar job titles.

Main Duties

Every job has a certain set of things required of the employee and these are the main duties.

This section is often bulleted to provide easy reading and understanding of what is required in the daily completion of this job.

Employment Requirements

The qualifications necessary for an applicant even to be considered for a particular position are listed in this section and may include work experience, certification and education.

Where’s My Job?

It is important to note that this classification list is not entirely complete and may not list a very valid job that you may be qualified for. The NOC regularly updates its list to reflect new professions.

How to Get Foreign Credentials Recognized

Jobs are often rather similar around the world, but the difficult part in immigration can sometimes be showing the Canadian government that you are indeed qualified to do that job.

When immigrating to Canada, one is often asked to provide credentials to show that you can do the job you are immigrating to work on, but they aren’t always straight-forward or easily transferrable.

What’s Different about My Credentials? Work Immigration

Though your job may be effectively the same no matter where you live in the world there are a number of factors that the Canadian government wants to examine to make sure that you truly are qualified.

  • Education. Is the education you received at the same or at least at an acceptable standard in comparison to Canadian educational institutions?
  • Work Experience and Job Description. Does your job have the same salient features as a comparable job in Canada? (This also has to do with the National Occupation Classification which we will address later in this article.)
  • Certifications. Are the certifications you received, though similar in name or appearance, granted for the same reason as a comparable Canadian certificate?

You can confirm all of this information by simply applying for an Educational Credential Assessment with the Foreign Credentials Referral Office, a part of Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

Educational Credential Assessment

In order to apply for an Educational Credential Assessment you will have to contact one of the following organizations and follow their instructions. They will then give you a report which you will include in your application for immigration to Canada. Here are some of the organizations that you may have to contact:

  • Comparative Education Service – University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies. Use this organization to assess your academic credentials. This includes grade school, high school, university or post-graduate studies. Can be applied for inside as well as outside of Canada.
  • International Credential Assessment Service of Canada. Use this organization if you are applying for the Federal Skilled Worker Program from within Canada.
  • World Education Services. This service will be able to return your credential report in seven business days and can be used for the Federal Skilled Workers Program.
  • Medical Council of Canada. To be used for medical personnel looking to immigrate to Canada to work and they must confirm their credentials. All medical personnel must confirm their credentials here.

National Occupation Classification (NOC)

The National Occupation Classification is a program of organized job descriptions put together by the Canadian government. Although it is not exclusively used in immigration, it does give immigrants a great advantage.

By standardizing job descriptions, immigrants are able to, at a glance, assess whether or not they are qualified for a certain position or not. If not, they can then work on achieving those qualifications for immigration.

These job descriptions include alternate names for the jobs, duties and responsibility necessary and the education or experience required to perform the job to the satisfaction of government regulators.

Federal Skilled Trades Program Follow Up

The Federal Skilled Trades Program allows people to immigrate to the United States on the strength of their skill in a particular trade-program. This is one of the most popular immigration programs in Canada and is well-regarded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).

After you apply for the Federal Skilled Trades Program in Canada there are some things that you may want to follow up with the CIC about. There are also some responsibilities that you should undertake.

The CIC, in an effort to make the transition from your home country to Canada, has outlined some useful information for you to consider as you await approval on your application. Available to Canadian Citizens

First of all, if you should decide that you need to ask the CIC a question you should send it to the following address through the post:

Centralized Intake Office
PO Box 8600
Sydney, NS B1P 0G1

The CIC asks you to keep your questions focused on your application and to please wait at least six weeks after submitting your application before sending your question. It may take the office a little bit of time to respond, so please do not send duplicate questions.

After you send your application, the CIC will first examine your application to make sure that it has all of the necessary parts, if it is missing something it will be immediately returned. You can then re-send the application after you fill in the missing information.

Processing Times

Processing Times, or the time that it will take for the CIC to either approve or deny your application, is a popular question for incoming immigrants to ask. In reality it can be somewhat difficult to give a precise amount of time that an application may take.

The best practice to ensuring that your application is processed as quickly as possible is to ensure that it is complete and that you inform the CIC of any changes in the information on your application, such as a change in address.

If there are no complications with your application, there should be no further delays to your application.

Medical Exams

Because Permanent Residents are entitled to Canada’s healthcare, the CIC has an interest in ensuring that you will not cause an undue burden on Canada’s health system. For this reason you and your family members must all have medical examinations.

Approval of Your Application

After a period of review, Citizenship and Immigration Canada will make a decision on your application. The CIC may decide that they need additional information or an interview before making a decision and this is why it is important to keep them updated with your contact information.

Upon approval of your application, you will be notified and you will then send your passport to the CIC so that they can give you your immigration visa. Do not send your passport until an immigration officer from the CIC tells you to.

NOC — Machine Operators 946

There are a number of job descriptions listed in the National Occupation Classification in the Machine operators and Related Workers in Food, Beverage and Tobacco Processing field. This group is called 946.

These job descriptions help employers find employees who are sufficiently qualified and prepared to do the job that they want done.

Employers may find themselves looking outside of Canada for immigrants to fill these positions if they can’t find anyone closer. By comparing one’s skills, knowledge and ability to the job description in the NOC you may be able to make a more compelling argument for immigration through employment.

Process Control and Machine Operators, Food and Beverage Processing, 9461

Processed and prepackaged food can be found everywhere, from grocery stores to restaurants. Many of these food and beverage products are produced on assembly lines handled by people in this category group.

People who work in this profession may do a variety of things or they may specialize. Below are some of the positions that process controllers or machine operators may hold:

  • Brewing
  • Bottling
  • Canning
  • Control room operations (This is where multiple processes are controlled during production of foodstuffs)
  • Fermenting
  • Frying
  • Freezing
  • Pasteurization
  • Et cetera

A minimum of education is required for a job in this field.

Industrial butchers and Meat Cutters, Poultry Preparers and Related Workers, 9462

This job description is largely self-descriptive. These workers cut meat for packaging. There are a few different titles used in this industry:

  • Beef boners
  • Ham cutters
  • Industrial butchers
  • Slaughterers

People who work in this profession see through the butchering process from stunning, to cleaning and all the way through to cutting the meat in a way appealing for culinary purposes.

Fish Plant Workers, 9463

Fish plants are factories which raise schools of fish to be processed into food. These places are sometimes called fish farms or fisheries. Many people consider these facilities, when properly managed, to be much more environmentally stable than other fishing methods.

On the job training is usually satisfactory to learn how to process fish or shellfish for packaging and shipping.

Tobacco Processing Machine Operators, 9464

Tobacco processing is involved with the curing and production of such things as raw tobacco materials, cigarettes and cigars, among other products.

People working in this occupation typically need to have high school degrees and experience in the Tobacco industry.

Testers and Graders, Food and Beverage Processing, 9465

The quality of the products produced at the above facilities must, at some point be assessed. That is why there are testers and graders. This does not mean that they are actually sampling the products (although that occurs as well) but they are analyzing the objective quality of the product.

NOC: Machining Professions

The National Occupation Classification (NOC) is a list of professional job descriptions designed to connect professionals with suitable employers in an efficient manner. Today we will discuss the 951 group, called Machining, Metalworking, Woodworking and Related Machine Operators.

9511 — Machining Tool Operators woodworker

Machinists are people who use machines to cut and shape metal pieces repetitively. They can also work with etching of metals. They can make parts for aircrafts or other industrial purposes.

Machining Tool Operators are expected to be able to read blueprints and come up with the operation needed to make the piece requested in the job order. They will also have to carry out their duties to their completion.

Qualifications to obtain this position normally include training and experience in the field, but not necessarily much formal education.

9512 — Forging Machine Operators

Forging mills shape and mold metals with desired characteristics for industrial or even commercial uses. Forge Operators may be required to use the following machines:

  • Bending machine
  • Cold presses
  • Forging presses
  • Hot presses
  • Trip hammers

Forge operators are expected to be able to operate the forge and the machines to which they are assigned. Qualifications are typically limited to completion of high school and workers are typically trained on-site, on the job.

9513 — Woodworking Machine Operators

Woodworkers, rather obviously, work with wood. Their role is to create furniture or fixtures or other products out of wood. They are typically expected to be able to operate:

  • Band saws
  • Boring machines
  • Drills
  • Sanders of multiple varieties
  • Glue machines
  • Lathes
  • Planers
  • Shapers

Woodworkers typically learn their trade from working as laborers at their company and do not necessarily need to have graduated from high school. One advantage to this occupation (like the rest on this list) is that there is a great deal of mobility from to experience in this field.

9514 — Metalworking Machine Operators

Light metalworkers use machines to form sheet metal into various objects for industrial or commercial use. They may also operate a variety of other machines. Metalworkers will be expected to follow instructions and create specified parts with modest supervision. Metalworkers are typically trained on the job and achieve their position by working in a labor position before hand and working up to operating machines.

9516 — Other Metal Products Machine Operators

If your profession isn’t otherwise listed above you may be classified in this category.  These workers operate:

  • Bolt machines
  • Bullet makers
  • Can machines
  • Chain machines
  • Metal cable makers
  • Nail makers
  • Spring makers
  • Or wire weavers.

The qualifications to operate the above machines are very similar to the other professions in this group.

Physicians, Dentists and Veterinarians—NOC

Medical professionals, especially of such extensive education as doctors, are consistently in demand all over the world and you may be able to apply for immigration as a medical professional.

The National Occupation Classification provides standardized job descriptions to help people better understand whether or not they qualify for a job. This is particularly important when applying for immigration based on employment.

 Specialist Physicians—3111

Specialist physicians are medical doctors or professionals who do research, surgery or clinical medicine and diagnose and treat very specific conditions in a variety of fields. Below are some of the fields covered by specialist physicians:

  • Pathologists,
  • Anesthetists,
  • Cardiologists,
  • Immunologists,
  • Allergists,
  • Dermatologists,
  • Radiologists,
  • Emergency Physicians,
  • Gastroenterologists,
  • Surgeons,
  • Geriaticians,
  • Hematologists,
  • Hematopathologist,
  • Microbiologist,
  • Nephrologist,
  • Neurologist,
  • Neuropathologist,
  • Neurosurgeon…et cetera

There are many different fields in which physicians may work aside from the above mentioned.

All physicians must complete the following educational requirements:

  • A bachelor’s degree in a science.
  • Graduation from medical school and training in one’s specialty.
  • A certification from the Royal College of Physicians.
  • A certification from Surgeons of Canada.
  • A license from the province or territory in which you intend to immigrate.

Clinicians, laboratory specialists and surgeons all have additional requirements that must be met to be eligible for these positions.

General Practitioners and Family Physicians—3112

General Practitioners, often referred to as GPs, manage the continuous health of their patients and give referrals to specialists. Residents in training are also included in this job description.

GPs examine patients and diagnose many different illnesses (both physical and mental) and prescribe medicines and treatments. They also perform routine surgeries, give emergency medical care, vaccinations, deliveries, and report various events to local and governmental authorities. GPs also have a responsibility to advise and inform patients about diseases, illnesses and accident prevention.

Educational requirements include:

  • Graduation from a university bachelor’s program.
  • Graduation from medical school
  • Two or three years of residency.
  • Medical Council of Canada certification.
  • Provincial or territorial licensing.


This category is not only for dentists strictly, but medical professionals in the dentistry field, such as oral radiologists, orthodontists, periodontists, prosthodontists and endodontists.

Often these professionals are employed by hospitals, clinics or have their own private practices.

Educational requirements:

  • Graduation from a university level dentistry program.
  • Provincial or territorial licensing.
  • If you are a specialist you will have to be licensed in that field as well.


Veterinarians are responsible for the care and treatment of animals. Their responsibilities also include prescribing drugs and performing surgery on zoo animals, farm animals and even  pets.

Educational requirements:

  • Graduation from a university veterinarian medicine program (typically four or five years).
  • National certification in veterinary medicine.
  • Provincial or territorial licensing.

NOC — Therapy and Assessment Professions

The National Occupation Classification (NOC) can be quite useful for immigrants applying for the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP). By identifying your skills in the NOC you will be more prepared to make an argument for your immigration through the FSWP.

Unfortunately, the FSWP is only accepting a certain set of skilled workers classified by the National Occupation Classification. Below we will discuss three of these professions.

This is not to say that more professions won’t be available later on or in other years, but currently, Citizenship and Immigration Canada is only considering applicants in one of the 24 accepted professions.

Applying for the Federal Skilled Worker Program can be partially done online after applications are to be accepted on May 4, 2013.

3141 – Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists Health Worker

Audiologists belong to the larger health professions grouping the NOC and they are responsible for the diagnosis, evaluation and treatment of disorders that involve voice, speech, hearing and other auditory related disorders.

Audiologists work in a variety of environments from hospitals to rehabilitation centers or even in private practices.

Audiologists or speech-language pathologists have a few different educational and background requirements to work in this field in Canada:

  • They must have master’s degrees in their fields of study.
  • They must be registered in their profession in Canada.
  • Audiologists may need to have a license to sell hearing aids.

3142 – Physiotherapists

Physiotherapists are hired by hospitals or individuals to recover from injuries or illnesses that limit their abilities. The goal is to restore a person’s physical functionality or to prevent physical functionality from deteriorating. Physical therapy (as physiotherapy is also called) can also be used to treat chronic pain. Sports teams often have staff physiotherapists to care for their athletes.

Physiotherapists are expected to evaluate patients, plan and execute treatments and re-evaluate afterward to ensure that the physical goals set before treatment have been met.

Physical therapists must meet certain educational requirements such as:

  • A university level degree in physical therapy,
  • Certain amounts of supervised training,
  • A license to practice physiotherapy according to the region in which you will be immigrating to,
  • Physical therapists might be mandated to pass the Physiotherapy National Exam.

3143 – Occupational Therapists

Occupational therapists help people who have disabilities to care for themselves or to work or go to school. Some people have a difficult time engaging in these activities due to illnesses or injuries. They may also have psychological issues that make these daily activities difficult. It is important to note that these people are not necessarily disabled, rather they are impeded by one of these disorders and they can, with the assistance of an occupational therapist to be just as able as anyone else.

Most occupational therapists should have university degrees, but there are some instances where they only need a certification from the World Federation of Occupational Therapists. Regardless of province or education, occupational therapists must be licensed in the province in which they intend to immigrate as well as be a member of the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists, the governing body for this profession in Canada.

More Information

Immigrants looking for more information on what professions will be accepted in the Federal Skilled Worker Program can find more information with Citizenship and Immigration Canada. They can find more detailed information about the job descriptions of the National Occupation Classification at the NOC Website.