Canada News Article – August 2005

When applying for permanent residence to Canada as a skilled worker, one of the principal objectives is to determine will be able to become economically established in Canada. In other words, will be you be able to find a job and pay taxes!

When your work experience is examined, you must remember that your educational background does not need to be directly related to your skilled work experience. In other words, you may have a University degree in Geography, but are now working as a Management Consultant.

You are required to have a minimum of one year’s full time, paid work experience in the ten (10) years preceding the submission of your application. Full time is classified as 37.5 hours per week. This work experience must be of a certain skill level to be admissible for consideration, hence the category, skilled worker. The determination of whether your work experience is skilled or not is defined by Canada’s National Occupation Classification (NOC). This is a dictionary of the all of the occupations in Canada and their definitions. You can view this at: http://www23.hrdc-drhc.gc.ca/2001/e/generic/welcome.shtml

I encourage you to refer to the NOC as your interpretation of work experience may differ from the NOC. For example, many trades people in the UK refer to themselves as an “Engineer” In Canada, you are only considered an Engineer if you have completed a University Degree in Engineering. The NOC definitions will give you greater clarity as to the duties you would perform in your occupation. If the NOC definition accurately reflects your day to day duties and responsibilities, then this will be the NOC code to submit under. You must have performed all of the essential duties, a substantial number of the main duties as well as the duties in the lead statement.

It is your responsibility, as the applicant, to list your four (4) digit NOC code(s) on the application. This must corresponds to each of the occupations under which you have worked. An Immigration officer is not required to consider occupations that have not been specified in the application.

You can also claim work experience in more than one admissible occupation. You will be assessed on your work experience during the ten (10) years preceding your application.

Admissible work experience must be either Skill Type 0 (Management / Supervisory occupations); Skill Type A (professional occupations, such as teachers) or Skill Type B (Trades professionals, such as mechanics and electricians).

Canada does have a restricted occupation list. This means that if you work experience is in a restricted occupation, you will not receive points for this work experience. There are currently no occupations on this list, so this does not apply. This based on labour market activity in Canada and can change.

If your work experience has been part-time, you must demonstrate the equivalent in continuous part-time employment in one or more admissible occupations.

You can refer to the selection grid to determine how many points to claim, up to a maximum of 21 points for four (4) or more years of admissible work experience.

How do you document your work experience?

You must provide original or certified copies of up-to- date letters of reference from your past and present employers. These letters must be:

  • written on company letterhead
  • show the company’s full address, telephone and fax numbers
  • stamped with the company’s official seal (if available)

The letters must also include all of the following information:

  • Your specific period of employment with the company
  • The positions you have held during the period of employment and the time spent in each position
  • Your main duties and responsibilities in each position
  • Your total annual salary, plus benefits
  • The signature of your immediate supervisor or the personnel officer of the company
  • A business card of the person signing

If you cannot obtain a letter of reference, I suggest that you prepare a statutory declaration detailing your work experience and duties as well as an application as to why you cannot get a reference. Any other official supporting documentation, such as employment contracts, P45’s and P60’s can also help.

Dennis Brazolot is a Member in Good Standing with the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants (CSIC) #M041225 and the Canadian Association of Professional Immigration Consultants (CAPIC). He can be contacted on +1 450 458 2186 or dennis@brazolotimmigration.com He travels regularly to the UK for consultations. www.BrazolotImmigration.com