Work experience trips skilled worker

Defining 'continuous employment'

Work experience trips skilled worker

By Guidy Mamann: A young professional was convinced that he had at least 67 points under our Federal Skilled Workers Class and that he would therefore qualify for permanent residence in Canada.

Accordingly, he was shocked when the Canadian consulate in Detroit refused his application.

Like so many others, he focused on his score and ignored the other lesser-known criteria in this category.

He furnished proof that he had worked full-time on four separate occasions for a total of 16 months and thereby exceeded, he believed, the one-year work experience requirement. The consulate accepted his evidence but nonetheless refused his application.

The reviewing officer explained “You have not satisfied me that you have at least one year of continuous full time employment experience or the equivalent in continuous part-time experience”.

Although the applicant had one year of full-time work experience it was not continuous nor was it the equivalent in “continuous part-time experience”. Had he worked, say, half days (i.e. at least 18.75 hours per week) for 24 straight months that would have been both equivalent and continuous.
He requested “substituted evaluation” to overcome this difficulty. However, this plea was also rejected since this remedy can only be used to overcome a deficiency in points and not a deficiency in the work experience criteria. IRPA states that if the applicant fails to meet this criterion, the “visa shall be refused and no further assessment is required”.

The main page dealing with work experience in CIC’s online “Self Assessment Test” makes no mention of the fact that the experience must be continuous. It reads, “You must have at least one year of full-time paid work experience, or the equivalent in part-time work…” Although the omission on this page is a glaring one, it does point the reader to another page which clearly states this requirement.

Those in similar situations cannot correct the problem while their application is pending since the regulations require compliance at the time that an application is filed. Such applicants should consider re-filing after they meet this minimum requirement. Provided that the one-year of minimum experience is gained before the application is filed, additional experience gained during the application process will be credited with the appropriate points.

On a side note, when this requirement was introduced in 2002, the government did not explain in its Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement why a break in employment should be fatal to such an application. However, it seems that whatever benefit this requirement might offer is outweighed by the disproportionate impact it might have on women who may be more inclined to break the continuity of their employment in order to have children.

Guidy Mamann practices law in Toronto at Mamann & Associates and is certified by the Law Society of Upper Canada as an immigration specialist. Reach him confidentially at 416-862-0000 or at .

Further reading

Does this article help?

Do you have any comments, updates or questions on this topic? Ask them here: