November 8, 2013 — CIC announces drastic changes to the Canadian Experience Class: general and special caps, list of excluded occupations.

November 8, 2013 — CIC announces drastic changes to the Canadian Experience Class: general and special caps, list of excluded occupations.

Invoking the need for a better management of the intake in order to shorten the processing times, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has introduced an annual cap on the number of new CEC applications. CIC will only accept a maximum of 12,000 CEC applications from November 9, 2013, to October 31, 2014.

CIC also stated that certain occupations in the program are overrepresented. Consequently, the following six occupations will no longer be eligible for the CEC program starting 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); and
  • retail sales supervisors (NOC 6211).

In addition, CIC will establish sub-caps of 200 applications each for National Occupational Classification (NOC) B occupations. These are mostly technical and administrative jobs or those in the skilled trades (the latter forming actually the vast majority of foreign workers with propensity to apply under CEC). On the other hand, NOC 0 and A (managerial and professional) occupations will not be sub-capped, but they will be subject to the overall cap of 12,000 applications.

Finally, CIC will maintain the same language criteria for applicants but will verify them upfront as of November 9, 2013. The current language requirements are Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 for NOC 0 and A occupations, and CLB 5 for NOC B occupations.

The immigration professional community has reacted with consternation to this announcement, knowing that the current inventory increase has a temporary character, being actually a bubble generated by the CICs own decision to reduce the minimum period of employment for qualifying foreign workers from two years to only one.  It is our educated guess that the number of CEC applications may well have dropped on its own next year as FSW (Federal Skilled Workers) and FST (Federal Skilled Trades) programs are open and the EOI (Expression of Interest) selection system gets started.   In any case, the alleged beneficial reduction of current inventory does not justify the terrible consequences of this rash surprise decision.  CIC have given no consideration at all to individuals who are in the now ineligible NOC occupations, who have started the process, paid their fees to lawyers and consultants, and who now see their dreams crushed.   In addition, the new restrictions will badly hurt the people who have embarked over the last few years on a journey that includes education and work in Canada so they could eventually qualify for permanent residence.   Now, they are seeing their plans ripped apart with a disturbing lack of consideration.

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