Dear Miss Powell,
For the past 12 years, I have worked in Canada as a seasonal worker. Someone told me that I can apply for permanent residency, but I'm not sure if I qualify or how to go about it. I want to do things the right way, so I'm writing to you to help me.
You can apply to become a permanent resident under the Canadian Experience Class (CEC). This category is open to temporary foreign workers and foreign students. To be eligible, you must have acquired a minimum of 12 months of legitimate full-time or equal amount of part-time work experience within the last 36 months; plan to live outside of the province of Quebec; and meet the language requirements.
I am not sure what type of work you were doing, but there are a few major changes of which you should be aware.
Since April 2012, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) reduced the work-experience requirement for eligible temporary foreign workers applying to stay permanently. The main benefit is that it is now easier for skilled trade persons to transition to permanent residence. The new rules were implemented out of an awareness that skilled trade persons' work is often project-based and can be seasonal.
On November 8, 2013, CIC announced a cap or limit on the number of applications that it will accept on an annual basis. This means that between November 9, 2013, to October 31, 2014, CIC will accept a maximum of 12,000 new applications under the CEC immigration category. There are further limits on the number of persons who may apply in each category.
They have also introduced subcaps of 200 applications each for National Occupational Classification (NOC) B occupations. CIC announced that the occupations that are affected are mostly technical and administrative jobs or those in the skilled trades. There is no subcap for managerial and professional occupations; however, these occupations will still be subject to the overall cap of 12,000 applications.
The list of eligible occupations is currently being updated by CIC. However, if you visit the blog section of my website, www.deidrepowell.com ,you will see a list of Federal Skilled Trade Occupations that were eligible in the past. I will update the website when the new list is available.
The following six occupations are no longer eligible as at November 9, 2013:
Cooks (NOC code 6322);
Food service supervisors (NOC 6311);
Administrative officers (NOC 1221);
Administrative assistants (NOC 1241);
Accounting technicians and bookkeepers (NOC 1311);
Retail sales supervisors (NOC 6211).
CIC announced that it has enough applications under the above categories and is working to arrive at a final decision on those applications.
There is also the Provincial Nominee Programme (PNP), which allows a province to nominate prospective immigrants on the basis of specific economic and labour needs rather than using the federal government's point system or CEC for determining whether candidates are qualified to become permanent residents. As mentioned before, the PNP is open to persons who have successfully completed or will complete a minimum of one year's study in the master's programme at an eligible Canadian university.
Finally, all applicants will be required to pass medical and security checks as part of the application process.
The application process is outlined on the CIC website. The key is accuracy in the completion of the forms and submitting the required documents in a timely manner. If you are unsure about your eligibility or need help with preparation of your application, consult with an immigration lawyer privately.
Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator, and notary public who is a member of the Jamaican and Ontario, Canada bars, with offices located in Ottawa, Ontario. Her areas of practice are in immigration, real estate, personal injury, family, commercial, and administration of estates. Submit your questions and comments to email email@example.com. Subject line: Immigration. Tel: 613-695-8777, Twitter: deidrespowell Facebook: jamaicanlawyer.