Skilled Worker Immigration to Canada: Opening the Door (A little)

By Author: Admin | January 18, 2010

The modern (post modern?) world of work is characterized by uncertainty arising from fickle or stingy employers.  This is not an era where a person stays at the same employer for 30 years, and benefits from a generous pension thereafter.

Perhaps because of the world economy, characterized by the overabundance of qualified people seeking fewer employment opportunities, the Minister of Immigration to Canada now acknowledges that persons who are seeking skilled immigration to Canada may have gaps in their employment, and need not remain with the same employer for more than a year.  In addition, the reality of workers who often freelance on a contractual basis for a few months is also acknowledged.

The occupation list for skilled immigration to Canada is generally preoccupied with the following sectors: the health needs of Canada’s population, the renovation needs of Canada’s homes, the satiating of Canadians who like to dine out, and the extraction of Canada’s natural resources.   The presence of a few of the occupations on the demand list appears to be a mystery, such as university and college professors.

On January 8, 2010 the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration issued a Clarification on the issue of continuous full-time experience and a break in the continuity of employment.  Persons who are applying as Federal Skilled Workers who require at least one year of “continuous” full-time (or equivalent part-time) paid work experience in the last ten years in one or more of the 38 occupations listed in the current occupation list.  The Minister also clarified the issue of breaks in continuity of employment for other skilled worker applicants.

The Ministerial Instructions require one-year of “continuous” full-time or equivalent paid work experience within the last 10 years of the application being filed.

As a result of the January 8 2010 change, immigration to Canada under the Federal skilled worker category can be supported by any combination of full-time or part-time work experience in one of the 38 occupations as long as the aggregate work experience totals at least one year.

The relevant quote from the Minister is below:

Effective immediately, the requirement of having at least one year of continuous full-time or equivalent paid work experience in the last ten years in “one or more” NOC code in the MI means that an SW1 applicant may use any combination of full-time or part-time work experience in more than one eligible NOC category in the last 10 years in calculating their one year of continuous work experience, as long as their experience adds up to at least one year. [Emphasis in Original]

For example, an SW1 applicant would be eligible under the MI if they had 7 months of full-time (or equivalent) work experience in NOC 6242 immediately followed by 10 months full-time (or equivalent) work experience in NOC 6241 in the last 10 years. Experience accumulated in each NOC counts towards calculating one year of continuous experience. It is not necessary for the NOCs to be in related occupations, as long as all NOCs are listed in the Ministerial Instructions.

Previous instructions that an applicant cannot make up the one year of continuous full-time employment experience in a series of continuous periods of employment in different occupations that total one year are revoked.

The Minister also confirmed that anticipated short breaks between jobs are acceptable:

For example, if an applicant is employed in one occupation for a 4 month contract and before the end of that contract, has secured other employment that will begin shortly after the end of the first contract, this break in continuity would be acceptable. For SW1 applicants the occupations must be one that is listed in the MI.

The Minister also promised instructions on how to proceed with applications that were previously found ineligible for processing due to the old interpretation of “continuous full-time or equivalent paid work experience” in a future bulletin..

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