Canadian immigration says Canadian Experience Class visas growing fast

9,353 people gained Canadian permanent resident status under the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) visa in 2012, according to recently released figures. This, according to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) the official Canadian immigration Government Department that deals with immigration and citizenship issues, is about 34% above the planned level for 2012 of 7,000.

CEC visas allow skilled workers from overseas who have been working in Canada in a skilled occupation to apply for permanent resident status. In order to qualify, applicants must have at least 12 months' experience of working full time in a skilled role in Canada in the last three years and you must also be able to prove your proficiency in English or French. The language requirements vary depending on the nature of your skilled work experience. You must take a language test when you make your application showing that your English or French language ability meets either Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level 5 for technical jobs or skilled trades, or CLB 7 for management or professional level jobs.

CEC target to be increased

The Canadian immigration minister Jason Kenney, altered these requirements in 2012 to make it easier to qualify. Previously, applicants needed to complete eighteen months skilled work in only two years. Mr Kenney said in November last year that he intended to increase the target for the number of CEC visas to be issued in 2013 from 7,000 to 10,000. The rise in the number of CEC visas will be offset by a reduction in the number of Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) visas that will be granted.

The FSWP is Canada's main skilled immigration visa. About 55,000 people gain Canadian permanent resident status each year under the FSWP. Skilled workers are assessed against CIC's points grid to assess their ability to adapt to the Canadian job market.

Canada accepted over 250,000 new permanent residents in 2012 and has said that it intends to continue to do so every year for the next few years at least.

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