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Common mistakes to avoid when calculating work experience for the Canadian Experience Class (CEC)

Mistakes made in calculating work experience for the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) can lead to long delays or even rejection. Avoid these 12 most common mistakes:

Mistake # 1: overtime hours

Do not use overtime hours in calculating your work experience. For example, if you worked 45 hours per week for 35 weeks (which is more than 1,560 hours required under the program), you will be found ineligible. Besides the hours, you must still prove experience for 12 months or 52 weeks. Immigration Canada will not count any hours worked above 30 hours per week.

Mistake # 2: part-time jobs

You are allowed to include experience from as many part-time jobs as you need as long as the experience was gained in Skill Level B or higher and under the appropriate authorization to work.

Mistake # 3: time limit

You cannot go beyond the last 3 years before the time of application. Remember the minimum requirement: 12 months x 30 hours per week (minimum) = 1,560 hours per year.

Mistake # 4: self-employment experience

Do not include experience obtained on a contract work. You must be an employee on payroll. Self-employment experience is excluded from this immigration program.

Mistake # 5: working during studies

Do not count experience obtained during the time of studies. Even though some students are authorized to work off campus or under a co-op work permit, work experience acquired while you were a student will not count.

Mistake # 6: continuous work

Continuous experience is required by other immigration programs (e.g. the Federal Skilled Worker Class). Under the CEC, however, your work experience does not have to be continuous. Furthermore, the CEC allows you to have work experience in more than one occupation.

Mistake # 7: periods of unemployment

Do not delay your application if you are currently unemployed. It is not required to be employed at the time of application.

Mistake # 8: implied status

You are allowed to count experience obtained in between work permits. Experience acquired while under implied status, i.e. when your work permit expired and you applied for its extension, will be considered eligible for CEC purposes.

Mistake # 9: vacation time

A reasonable period of vacation time will generally be allowed in calculating qualifying work experience. Under normal circumstances, a 2-week period of paid vacation per year would be acceptable.

Mistake #: 10 reference letters

When requesting a reference letter from your employer, make sure that the letter includes a detailed description of your job duties. To qualify under a specific NOC (National Occupational Classification), you must prove that you performed the actions described in the lead statement for your occupation as described in the occupational description of the NOC and performed a substantial number of the main duties, including all the essential duties, of the occupation.

Mistake # 11: temporary resident status

All applicants are required to have had temporary resident status during the period of work claimed under the CEC. Therefore, since open work permits issued to refugee claimants do not confer temporary resident status, refugee claimants are not eligible for the CEC. Whereas, applicants who worked in Canada on a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) are eligible to apply under this immigration program as long as they are not inadmissible.

Mistake # 12: work without a work permit

The CEC does not require an applicant to have a work permit. Applicants who are authorized to work in Canada without a work permit pursuant to section R186 are eligible to apply under the CEC, but they must submit proof of legal temporary status in Canada (e.g. a visitor record).

It is the responsibility of the applicant to establish that they meet the CEC requirements at the time of application. You must provide acceptable evidence of qualifying work experience in Canada, including the fact that you were not self-employed.

For further information or questions regarding CEC requirements, please feel free to contact our office. If you would like to know whether you could be eligible to immigrate to Canada in other categories, we invite you to complete our online assessment questionnaire: On-line Assessment Questionnaire.